Posted on 13 Apr 20by

​Accepting a company’s job offer when you know very little about the company is like saying ‘yes’ to a marriage proposal from someone you just met. Knowledge of your partner is crucial for a successful relationship—personal and professional.

Company culture is one of the primary contributing factors to job satisfaction. If you love your work and your pay, it may not be enough if your work environment is unpleasant. Knowing

as much as you can about the company will help you twofold; not only will you find out if the culture is a good fit, you will also be more prepared for an interview.

What does the company say about itself?

The next step is to see what others have to say about your potential employer. Search their name to see what you get. Look to see if they are mentioned in any magazines, newspapers, or journals. You can also network to find out if any of your friends, family or acquaintances know of an employee at the company. This is a great way to get the inside scoop - and potentially a referral, if all works out!

Glassdoor is another resource. It was created for potential employees to acquire inside information before deciding to work at a company. The site has thousands of reviews by employees who can rate the salary, benefits, work environment, and more. Keep in mind that people are a lot more likely to put energy into this when they are unhappy, not happy. Also, if there are only a couple of reviews, not all employees’ voices will be represented.

Notice the verbal and non-verbal cues during your interview

During the interview, it’s important to pay attention to the questions that the interviewer(s) ask. When it’s your turn to ask questions, it’s an opportune moment for you to probe into the culture of the company. You can base your questions on the position for which you’re interviewing, as well as ask general questions relevant for all employees.

If you are seeking a management type role, you can ask:

  • How are decisions made?

  • How much will I be involved in the process?

  • Will I help with interviews for my direct reports?

  • Can I meet other colleagues with whom I’ll be working closely?

If you are applying for an entry level position, ask:

  • What type of training do you provide?

  • Do you offer any mentorship programs or supplemental educational opportunities

  • (e.g. seminars, classes, books)?

  • What have people done in this role after they left (i.e. were they internally promoted, or did they go work for a different company)?

More general questions to determine company culture include:

  • What are your expectations of new employees?

  • What does a typical day/week look like?

  • How will my performance be evaluated? How often?

  • What are the key traits everyone needs to excel in this company?

  • What are the company values?

  • Do promotions occur internally? How often?

  • What do you most and least like about working for this company?

  • Are employees recognized for excellent results and accomplishments? If so, how?

Evaluate your first impressions:

After the interview, evaluate the overall first impression you have of the company.

  • How was the office decorated?

  • Was the receptionist friendly?

  • Was everyone appropriately dressed?

  • How did coworkers interact?

  • Was the interviewer prepared?

  • Did you feel at ease or under fire during the interview?

Other signs to heed are the time it takes to schedule interviews and how long the decision process takes. If it took an unreasonable number of interviews and length of time for a decision to be made about hiring you, this could be an indicator of the speed with which other actions take place.

Experience in the trenches

For some, the ideal situation is to take the company for a test drive by doing temporary work or volunteering. In temp-to-hire positions, you and the company have the opportunity to make sure it’s a good match before any commitments are made.

You can also consider job shadowing with an employee in the company you’re interested in. Ask the employer if they are willing to let you shadow the person in the role you’re interested in, or a similar one, to really get an inside view.

Are you a match?

If you've done your detective work, you'll know well before the job offer if you'll jive well with the company culture. If there are major differences, you'll want to seriously consider how important those differences are to you before entering into a professional relationship with a company.

Not sure what type of company you'd like to work for? Consider some temp roles to explore a variety of options commitment-free! Learn more about the jobs Nelson has available.


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