3 Steps to Research A Firm’s “Company Culture”

Company culture is the personality of a firm. It’s an important factor is determining whether a new job is a good fit for you. So, I encourage you to take the time to do some digging inside the culture of a firm, to help make the decision on whether it’s the right environment for you and to see if it matches your career values.

Here’s what to consider when determining company culture:

1. Know What You Want
Before figuring out whether a certain company culture would be well suited to you, try to define what you ideally want out of your place of work. Are you someone who prefers a more rigid, closed-door, corporate atmosphere? Or, do you thrive in a hot-desking, open-door-policy kind of office? Do you want to work from home part-time, or do you love going out with colleagues for weekly drinks and lunches?

Ask yourself questions like what motivates you, what makes you happy, and what kind of lifestyle are you looking for? Think back to your likes and dislikes of your previous employments and try to pinpoint what aspects of the companies’ cultures enabled you to do your best work (or worst if you want to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself).

2. Do your research
This is your chance to do a little digging to see what you can find out about the company culture, and there are a number of areas you can check, namely:

  • Company Website – Scan the site and read the “About us” section for a good, natural start to get a feel for the company culture.
  • Social Media – Social media, these days, offers multiple angles from which you can view a company or their employees, as well as some activities they engage in. On sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram – make sure you browse not only the company pages, but also the people that work there as well as the company name or #.  By searching for posts that include the company name or #, relevant posts will pop up that will give you more of a feel for the company culture like team lunches, or get-togethers etc.
  • Glassdoor  – Here you can find some more inside information into a company, but be sure not to take the reviews too seriously as many of them are written by scorned employees. If you see common threads between reviews, you’ll get a sense of what to look out for.
  • Previous employees – Try get in touch with someone who has worked or still works at the potential company you are looking into. You can do this via LinkedIn or other contacts – this could be a great opportunity to ask about what life on the inside is really like.
  • Open your eyes and ears – When visiting a new firm during the interview stages; make sure to look for clues about the atmosphere in the office. If you are there over lunchtime – take notice if people are eating quietly at their desks, or going out to grab a bite. Listen if it’s a quiet environment, or if there is conversation and laughter around the studio – these clues can help you determine what kind of vibe to expect In the potential place of work.

3. Ask questions
Jump at the chance in your interview when the interviewer asks “do you have any questions for us?” Ask directly about the corporate culture and company norms. Just put it out there and ask them to describe it, and give insights into what working at the company is like.

This is your chance to also ask about their views on your career advancement and what the opportunities for growth down the line might include. Try to establish if the company culture is that of growth, encouragement and progress.

Finding the right cultural match for yourself in a place of work really can elevate you from liking your job to loving it.