How to Begin Understanding a Company’s Culture

Apr 7, 2022

Company culture may be one of the most common buzzwords you encounter during your job search. The popular term shouldn’t go unnoticed, as company culture can determine whether you enjoy where you work. After all, the average American spends a third of their life at work. While an organization’s true culture can’t be unveiled until you are fully immersed in the workplace, there are a few ways to get a glimpse of it.

What is company culture?

Also known as organizational culture, company culture is a shared set of values, goals, and practices that characterize an organization. Every company’s culture is different and often evolves over time. Culture can be led by several factors, like a company’s core visions, operations, and communications. Almost half of job seekers believe that company culture is an important factor in finding their next opportunity.

How do I learn about a company’s culture before an interview?

One of the best ways to find hints about company culture is by asking someone who currently works or previously worked at the organization. This could be a friend, family member, or even a mutual connection. LinkedIn is a great platform to find people who are willing to answer your questions about company culture.

If you’re unable to find someone to talk to, company culture hints are a Google search away! Company websites and social media pages can indicate how the organization runs and what is important to them. For more candid opinions on a company, check their reviews on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed to understand employee experience.

How do I learn about a company’s culture during an interview?

Coming prepared with questions for an interview is a great practice when learning more about company culture. Your questions are beneficial to both parties because you will get more information about an organization, and your interviewer will recognize your preparedness for the interview. Questions about culture can be framed in many ways depending on what you’re looking for. Here are a few examples:

  • How would you describe the workplace environment?
  • What does work-life balance look like at your company?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • What are the traits of someone who would succeed at this company?
  • What is your favorite part about working at this company?

Am I a good culture fit?

After learning more about company culture, it’s time to decide if you would enjoy and grow in that type of workplace environment. Explore how the company values align with your personal beliefs. Will you enjoy how you collaborate with others? Will you have flexibility that adapts to your lifestyle? Will you look forward to going to work? While company culture isn’t the only factor when choosing where to work, it’s a crucial element to your happiness inside and outside of the office.

Written by: Sadie Aram

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