How to Assess a Company's Culture

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Looking for your next career move? Assess if a company's culture is the right fit for you.

There are many factors that go into shaping a company's culture. The mission, what the leadership looks like, company structure and how teams communicate overall. Now, you may be asking yourself why this is important during your career search, and the answer is, assessing a company’s culture helps you determine how YOU will fit into it. 

Making the decision of where you ultimately end up a crucial one. 

Believe it or not, company culture can have a huge impact on your overall job satisfaction. No one wants to be at a job where their culture does not fit your specific needs and values. So how do you find the perfect fit? 

The first step is figuring out what matters to you when it comes to culture. Because if you don’t know what you want, you won’t know what to look for. 

Let’s jump in.

What matters to you? 

It’s time to dig deep and figure out what your “must haves” are. Is it an environment where work-life integration is supported? A recent WerkLabs study found that for women, work and life integration is a high scoring factor in driving organizational attachment, rating more highly than benefits and salary.

Collaboration amongst teams? Diverse leadership? The same study also found that women are attracted to a work culture that values diversity, collaboration, accountability and empowerment. 

Whatever matters to you should matter to the company, too! 

Here are a few ways to figure out your “must haves”:

  • Write a list down of what your dream company would look like. Shoot for the stars and see what stands out from that list. Anything in particular you’d prioritize? Any deal breakers? Those factors should be something to look out for.
  • Talk to some of your friends and colleagues about the company culture at their workplaces. Are you noticing common trends? Write them down and see how their companies measure up to your list. 
  • Not sure where to start with your list or unsure about the information your friends gave you? A quick google search can do wonders. Search up different aspects of company culture and see what resonates with you from there. 

What To Look For

So you wrote your list, talked to a few people and even searched up some keywords on Google. Now, you are ready to assess the culture of a company you are interested in. 

Here are a few things to look for:

  • How happy are the current employees? A quick search on company review sites like Comparably or Glassdoor can give you a lot of insight. 
  • What perks and benefits do they offer? You might also be able to find this through company review sites, but you can look at the employee page on the company’s website as well. 
  • What do their social media accounts look like? If Diversity and Inclusion is important to you, taking a peek at their social media can help answer that question. What are they posting? What initiatives are they being vocal about? A company's social handles can really tell you a lot about their culture and values. 

What To Ask During The Interview Process

One very important way you can assess a company's culture is during the interview process. How are they interacting with you during the interview? Does it feel organized? Are things moving fast or slow? 

When you are interviewing, make sure you are prepared to ask a few questions around company culture like: 

  • If your company were a person, how would you describe them?
  • What is one of the company values that you feel is most significant? How does this value impact the culture here?
  • What made you want to work for the company? Can you tell me two reasons you stay with the company?
  • What is one thing you’d change about the company if you could?
  • How do you tangibly support working parents here?
  • How does the company encourage professional growth and development?

Remember, no two companies are alike 

As you go through the process of assessing the culture, it's important to remember that no two companies are alike. You might find a company that has everything you are looking for culture wise, but other aspects might not be up to par and vise versa.

The key is to remember what matters to you, what you can see from the company and the feedback you receive from the questions you ask during the interview. You’ll find the right fit, because it is out there. 

📖 Read more: Finding the Best Career Move for You

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