Sunday, October 13, 2013

How to Figure Out a Company's Culture

A company's culture is hard to define, even for employees who work there.  There are a lot of things that go into and make up the corporate culture.  And you will probably get a different answer from each employee that you ask because company culture means different things to different people.  But when you are looking for a new job, the most important thing to remember is that it should be a two-way interview.  You do not want to end up at a company you will inevitably want to leave again in 6 months.  So do your homework beforehand and find out what you can about your prospective employer.

Here are some tips and tricks I use to figure out a company's culture:

  1. Read the Glassdoor reviews.  Probably the easiest resource to use, Glassdoor lets current and former employees write reviews about the culture and values, work/life balance, senior management, comp and benefits, and career opportunities.  There are even sections that share candidates' interview experiences and where employees have shared their job title and salary.  This is always a good start.
  2. LinkedIn is my personal favorite to use to figure out an employee culture.  
    • Check out the backgrounds of the current players.  I usually leverage the advanced search first, and type in [HR OR "human resources" OR "human resource"] in the title area and then the company name and change the default to "current".  I do this because I am in HR, but you might want to do this too since I think the type of HR person a company has says a lot about how they value employees.  See how long they have been in their field.  For me personally, I ask myself if they are mentor material.  If you are in Marketing, use the title area to type in all the marketing job titles you can think of, and then ask yourself these 2 questions:  Would I want to work for this person?  Do I think I could learn from them? 
    • Check out tenure.  Does it appear that these current employees have been in their roles long?  Sometimes you can also tell from their profiles whether they have been promoted or given award recognition.  If everyone you look up has only been there 6 months to a year that might be a sign of high turnover and thus an undesirable work environment.
    • Research career path.  You can repeat the first LinkedIn exercise above, but this time after you type in the company name select "past".  I like to do this to see where people go after they leave this company.  If it appears that everyone who leaves gets a better job title at a greater company, then it probably means they had a worthwhile experience that prepared them for the next step in their career.  They left for bigger challenges and opportunities.  If however, it seems like most individuals just made lateral moves to other companies, then it could be a sign that they just wanted out of the company and did not move for an obvious better opportunity.  This could be an indication of a bad corporate culture.
  3. Indeed.  This is a great aggregator for job postings and also has a section for reviews.  Remember to always take them with a grain of salt, as former employees can often times be writing from a place of disgruntlement.  Regardless, these can still be a great resource and often times give you clues to what the company is really like.
Hopefully you will find these tips useful.  They will definitely give you more insight into the company than you would be able to read directly from their website.  Have anymore tips you like to use?  Please share.  I would love to hear them.

You Might Also Enjoy:

LinkedIn Job Search
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How to Write a Cover Letter

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  1. these are seriously some really well grounded, useful tips Raina! thanks!

  2. Nice read! I like the suggestions.

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