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What To Look For In Company Culture

December 5th, 2016 | No Comment Yet

When you are looking for a job, one important aspect to consider is the culture of the company. Company culture sets the tone for your workplace happiness.

Commitment to Community

A quick scan of the company blog or plugging its name into a search engine should reveal the company’s level of community involvement. More and more companies are taking the initiative to stock the shelves at local food pantries, volunteer for animal shelters, and clean up the streets downtown. For many employees, this is a benefit, but for some this may be a drawback. Whether you’re committed to making the community a better place or you want to work 8-5 and not be pressured into additional commitments, it’s important that the company’s values align well with yours.

Attention to Employee Experience

 Searching Glassdoor for employee reviews, can provide helpful insight in determining the company’s level of attention to its employees. While these reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, keep an eye open for trends, which are often more revealing. If three out of four reviews mention low employee morale or poor communication, you may be able to deduce that low morale and poor communication are the norm for this company. More positive trends may become apparent too, such as, monthly company lunches, generous salaries or opportunities for advancement.

Company Mission, Vision and Values

The company’s mission, vision, and values drive how it treats employees and clients every day. Companies that are genuinely committed to their core values typically share them openly on their blog or website, and reflect them in each status update, blog post, and email interaction.

How to Get Honest Information

In addition to knowing what to look for, it’s important to know how to find it. Here are several ways to gain insight into a company’s culture.

Through Interview

Prepare questions about company culture before your interview, such as these:

  • How would you describe the company culture here?
  • What kind of person fits well within your culture?
  • What are the core values?
  • What are some things the company has done in the last six months to keep employees engaged and happy?
  • Why do you work here?

Through Online Presence

Social media profiles, blog posts, websites, and Glassdoor reviews can all reveal much of what you need to know about company culture before accepting a new position. Is there a focus on employee satisfaction? Are kudos given publicly and regularly? Are there frequent pictures of company lunches and outings? Doing your research online is free and insightful.

Through Mutual Friends

If you know somebody who works or worked at the company you are in interested in, ask this person to share more about his or her experience there. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to gain insight into a new company. Those sharing information from this perspective typically have no ulterior motives and can be sincere and honest.

Making a career change can be life altering. Knowing as much as possible about your fit in the company culture, the perks and benefits, and what kind of experience you can expect on a daily basis will help you make the right choice.


Author bio: Amanda Lipson is Human Resources Generalist at ZeroCater in San Francisco. Lipson also is working toward her master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology at San Jose State University. 



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