Nobody wants to end up working in a company with a culture that sucks the life out of you. It doesn’t matter how much it pays – a bad job culture and misaligned values will take its toll on your physical and mental health.
And a bad company culture can look different each time. Maybe the company has a toxic competitive culture, and it feels like everyone is out for themselves. Or perhaps it’s the kind of place where bosses breathe down your neck. Whatever it is, you don’t want to work with a company whose values don’t align with your own.
So before signing that job offer, I recommend doing your homework by ensuring that the prospective company has values that align with your own. Here are three ways to ensure a good culture fit with a company you’re interviewing with before taking the job.
There’s always more to a company than its online presence, but you need to cover your bases first. Do a basic Google search and see what comes up. While you shouldn’t take it all at face value, company websites give you a glimpse of an organization’s values, mission, and overall image – at least the one that they’re trying to project.
However, if you want to get the real deal, you will want to go a little deeper. Reddit threads are a good place to check, especially if the company you’re interviewing for has been around for a while and/or is well-known. With that said, beyond basic moderation from volunteers, Reddit doesn’t verify the reviews, nor do they ensure that the posts were made by actual employees, so take them with a grain of salt.
In my opinion, Glassdoor is one of the best resources for researching companies. Its business model revolves around employees sharing inside details about their company, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Provided that the review complies with US free speech laws, Glassdoor promises to keep the reviewer’s identity anonymous.
The platform also allows the company to respond to reviews, giving you a more balanced perspective. Use both types of information to gauge if the company’s values align with your own.
One of the best places to learn about a company is during your job interview. After the recruiter or hiring manager has asked their questions, it’s customary for them to ask if you have any. Use this opportunity to ask about their company values and gauge whether they align with your own principles and professional goals.
For example, you could say, “Hey, I noticed that one of your company values is grit. Can you tell me about a time when an employee or team member displayed grit? What was the result?”
This allows you to determine whether their values are mere talking points that fill website space or are real aspirations that they strive to achieve in their work.
While you’re there, don’t forget to ask about the day-to-day work environment and opportunities for professional development and growth within the company. Asking these questions will not only give you a clearer picture of their company culture but also make you a more memorable candidate with great communication skills and a proactive attitude. Now that’s a win-win.
After you’ve done the research and asked good questions during the interview, the next best step is to reach out to past and current employees to get firsthand information. If you can reach them in person, then all the better. But you can also do this via LinkedIn, where you can search for the name of the company and browse the search results.
When reaching out, introduce yourself as someone applying for a role at the company and ask them about their experience. Clearly state your purpose and express genuine interest in learning more about the company from the perspective of someone who has been or is currently employed there. Your message might look something like this:
“Hey NAME! I am NAME, and I am currently in the process of exploring opportunities with COMPANY. Seeing that you’ve worked with them, I would love it if you could share your experience and thoughts about working there. It would be a big help before I make my decision. Thank you in advance!”
No workplace will ever be perfect but knowing that you share the company’s values can be a big step forward towards the right direction. It’s important that you feel confident about the new workplace you choose. While it’s true that today’s job market is highly competitive, no job is ever worth your physical and mental health. You should be selective to ensure that you’re spending time and effort for the right company. Rooting for you!
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