Discover the Company Culture Before You Take the Job

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If you’re looking for a job and you want to “fit in,” you should learn as much as you can about the company culture before you sign on the dotted line. After all, you’re going to be spending the better part of your life at work, surrounded by co-workers and attending company events and functions (or non-events as the case may be).


Some employers are pretty much 9 to 5 when it comes to company culture. You show up, do the work and go home. A few offer some really nice perks like free snacks, subsidized housing, use of ski condos, beach parties, etc. Other firms go bananas with everything from on-site rah-rah get-togethers where you’ll spout silly jingles to off-site retreats where you’ll fall backwards into co-workers’ arms or walk barefoot on smoldering coals. The list is endless. If you end up working for the latter, you’ll be expected to take off your shoes and scald your footsies for the team. Not feeling the love? Then look before you leap.  Some suggestions from LifeHacker:


Check out the company's website. If they’re big on company culture, they’ll feature it on their website with lots of photos of past events and what newbies can expect in terms of “initiation” to the team. Look for this stuff in the About Us or their Jobs/Career pages.

Check out the company. Read the reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Read all the reviews to form an overall opinion. A guaranteed decent salary and pleasant working conditions will trump perks no matter how generous.

Check out LinkedIn, Facebook and Tweets. The photos of events and people on Facebook will give you a clue as to what’s going in in the company. LinkedIn will give you an idea of the key players, what they’re into and where they’ve worked in the past. Tweets will clue you into what they’re up to on a daily basis. There’s a wealth of information here. You just have to dig a bit. Check out the company's "Insights" page to see who's been promoted, and maybe even find a former employee you know. If you can contact them before you send in your application, you can learn an awful lot about what to expect as an employee.


Kathleen Winsor-Games is principal of The Winsor Group, offering executive search and executive coaching services. In Culture Finder, Finding the Corporate Culture Where You Can Thrive, she dissects corporate culture using the following four dimensions:


  1. Strategy: How companies differentiate themselves in the market.
  2. Structure: How companies handle reporting and decision-making.
  3. Style: How companies communicate with customers, prospects, and employees.
  4. System: How companies create and implement the culture (consciously or unconsciously).

She suggests applying these four dimensions to a company to reveal key insights into the motivation, culture, strategy and likelihood of corporate success. It also shows areas where one’s personal goals are aligned or misaligned with the company.


Don’t relish the idea of walking on hot coals at a company retreat? Make sure the company culture fits your job and career goals.


Image courtesy of artur84/


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