It’s never too early to uncover the culture at an organization. Doing so before accepting a job can be a wise move. You may find that either you’re not a good fit for that company, or that company is not a good fit for your values and work style.
It’s important to find out what you can about policies, the organization’s leaders and stakeholders, the work environment, and the numbers. How is its stock doing? How does it compare to competitors? Doing your due diligence will help fill in some of those crucial planks, and it can help you get a feel for the company before you walk in the door for your first interview.
Here are four ways you can get the real scoop on a company’s culture:
1. Look to social and traditional media
See what people are saying on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook about the company, it’s products, employees, and services. Check out sites like Glassdoor to see what former employees have to say. Investigate what business media are saying about this organization and its key stakeholders.
2. Use your networking skills
Touch base with current and former employees by working your networks and connections. Ask if you can chat with them about the organization. Ask what their likes and dislikes are about working there. This is how you can get more information about the actual day-to-day work environment.
3. Ask Key Questions in the interview
When interviewing with HR, use that opportunity to gain insight into team dynamics, company policies, and even the work habits of your potential colleagues. Listen to what they say and how they say it – and to what they don’t say or won’t comment on.
4. Look and learn
When you go in for the interview, arrive early and pay attention. Do some recon. Engage with the receptionist and ask questions about how long they have been with the company or what they like most about working there. Take notice of whether people are eating lunch at their desks, whether they have personal photos and items in their workspaces, and whether people are chatting and smiling and laughing. Notice what everyone is wearing. Taking mental notes of these details will give you a sense of what the office atmosphere is like.
Understanding corporate culture takes time and a little legwork. Numerous facets play a part in creating culture, so it’s important to do what you can as soon as you can in order to uncover corporate culture.