How and Why to Research Company Culture and Values Before Applying

Apr 4, 2024

Finding the right fit in the job market goes beyond qualifications and responsibilities. Cultural alignment and shared values are extremely important! Your environment will determine your job satisfaction, engagement, and success at a company. As a job seeker, conducting thorough research into a company’s culture and values is paramount. Here you’ll find actionable strategies to uncover these essential aspects of prospective employers.

Why Company Culture and Values Matter

Company culture encompasses the shared beliefs, norms, and behaviors that shape the work environment and employee experience. It influences how people collaborate, communicate, and contribute to organizational goals. A company’s values are the principles and ethical standards that guide decisions and define its identity. Understanding a company’s culture and values is critical for four specific reasons:

  1. Cultural Fit. Aligning with the company’s culture ensures that you’ll thrive in your role and feel comfortable in your work environment. A strong cultural fit fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie among employees. This means you’ll have greater job satisfaction and likely will stay longer.
  2. Engagement and Productivity. Employees who resonate with a company’s values are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive in their roles. When you believe in the organization’s mission and purpose, you are inspired to go above and beyond to contribute to its success. Leaders take notice of engaged employees!
  3. Career Growth and Development. It’s important to look for companies that prioritize employee well-being and professional development. These organizations create opportunities for growth and advancement on your career path. A company that invests in continuous learning will help you achieve your long-term goals.
  4. Work-Life Balance. Company culture also influences work-life balance and employee wellness initiatives. Understanding the organization’s approach to flexiblility can help you make career decisions that support your ideal lifestyle.

How to Research Company Culture and Values

Start your research by exploring the company’s website to gain insights into its mission, vision, and core values. Pay attention to the “About Us” or “Leadership” section to understand its history, goals, and culture. For up-to-date insights, follow the company’s social media accounts and read their blog posts. You can learn a lot about its latest initiatives, events, and culture-related content.

You can then look for employee reviews—but take them with a grain of salt. Websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn can provide insights into employee experiences and company culture. But as you read comments from current and former employees, remember that every situation is different. You may be able to gain perspectives on the work environment, leadership, and company values, but don’t put too much stock into any one review.

If possible, attend a networking event with company representatives. Whether it’s a career fair, information session, or other event, you’ll be able to interact with current employees. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions about the employee experience from those who know best. If an event isn’t possible, you can also reach out to current or former employees on LinkedIn for informational interviews. Ask about their experiences, challenges, and what they appreciate most about working for the organization.

Another clue into the company culture lies in its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Review published diversity initiatives, find employee resource groups, and—if you can—read its inclusion policies. A diverse and inclusive workplace fosters innovation, collaboration, and mutual respect among employees.

 

Trust Your Instincts

Researching company culture and values before applying for a job is a proactive approach. Hopefully, you will feel empowered to make informed decisions about your career path. In the end, it’s important to trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right during the research process or you find that the company doesn’t align with your values, trust your intuition. Explore other opportunities that resonate with you more deeply—the right fit is out there!

 

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