3 Ways to Figure out a Company’s Culture

November 13, 2020

When you accept a job offer, you’re effectively taking a leap of faith and stepping into the unknown.

After all, it’s everything but easy to gauge cultural fit during the recruitment process, especially today when a vast majority of job interviews are done via Zoom or other videoconferencing technology.

Luckily, there are three robust strategies for researching a company’s culture that will help you make a well-informed decision before you decide to join the ranks.

Let’s get started.

Poke around the Company’s Site

As a starting point, head over to the company’s site and look for dedicated sections that elaborate on what the company’s culture is like.

Keep your eyes peeled for pages like “About Us,” “What’s It’s Like to Work at XYZ,” “Our Values,” etc., to get a taste of the organization’s culture and their core values.

Although most such places tend to be packed with phrases along the lines of, “we deeply care about our employees’ growth” that can tell you a whole lot of nothing, there are still bits and pieces of information that can hint if the company’s culture will float your boat.

Need an example?

Let’s say you’ve received an offer from Accenture—a Fortune 500 powerhouse that renders professional services. All you have to do is go to the company’s site and click around in search of their core values.

Within a matter of minutes, you’ll likely discover that Accenture places a great emphasis on “Accountability,” “Collaboration,” and “Transparency.”

Does that float your boat? Are you the kind of person that enjoys taking responsibility for your deliverables while working in concert with others? Or do you prefer to work on your own, competing with your coworkers?

While neither is better or worse, one could be a much better fit for your workplace personality.

Deep-dive into Online Reviews

Just like when you check online reviews for consumer products before making a purchase, it’s good practice to check what current and, most importantly, former employees say about the company.

It’ll help you find evidence that either supports or refutes whatever the organization says about its culture and values and effectively lower the odds of you ending up in the workplace version of “The Odd Couple.”

So—head over to Glassdoor Reviews to see if the company walks the talk.

All you have to do is type the company’s name, your city, and click on the “Reviews” tab. Spend a good 10-15 minutes to read through employees’ thoughts on the company and whether they resonate with what you discovered earlier on the business’ site.

On top of that, take note of what people are saying about the compensation, work-life balance, benefits, etc., 

If everything checks out, you’re on the right track.

Tap into the Power of Cultural Questions

So far so good.

You’ve done your homework, and you feel confident to greenlight the job offer.

But—before you pen a job acceptance letter to the hiring manager, you may want to jump on a Zoom call and ask the employer a few last-minute, cultural questions (in case you didn’t do it earlier.)

The rationale being, strong cultural interview questions will help you probe for values and give you more data points to decide whether to take the job or take a pass.

And while the hiring manager will spend every ounce of their energy to portray the company in the most complimentary light, you should be determined to dig for the truth.

Below are four questions to ask the hiring manager to see if the company’s culture is a good fit for you:

  • Is there something that would only happen in this company but wouldn’t at other organizations?
  • How did the company leadership respond to the COVID-19 situation? Did you go through a series of layoffs?
  • What initiatives did the organization start to improve diversity and inclusion on a company-wide scale?
  • What would one-on-one meetings with my direct manager look like?

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Max Woolf is a writer at ResumeLab. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.


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