How To Find Out If A Company’s Corporate Culture Fits You

You’ve applied for a job and gotten accepted, and you’re thrilled to start your first day at the office. You show up and see the workplace for the first time, and while you are still excited, a nagging sense of disappointment has already begun to haunt you. You try to get to know your co-workers, but you quickly discover that despite having the job skills, you are never going to fit in at the office. You are really quiet, but your co-workers are anything but. Or perhaps it is the other way around: you are lively and want to organize fun events with your co-workers, but they consider you unfocused and out of line.

Has something like that ever happened to you? If it hasn’t yet, it probably will eventually. It’s what happens when you don’t fit into the corporate culture of a workplace. It may seem like the least significant thing, until it actually happens. Then it can make you and your new co-workers miserable. Here’s how to prevent a corporate culture mismatch from happening to you:

1. Do your research before you apply anywhere.

Don’t leave this aspect of your job search up to chance. Learn what you can about the internal life at a company before you even apply for a job. There’s no reason to apply for jobs you don’t want. Check out the website and look for pages on “Our Team,” or “Our Values.” Look on job listing pages to see if life at the company is described. Also check the “About Us” section. Look up the company at websites like Glassdoor.com. Also visit social networking pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites. You can check out the company’s official pages, and the individual pages of various employees.

2. Ask useful questions at the interview.

If you get as far as an interview, take advantage of it. You are interviewing your potential employer, not just vice versa. When asked if you have any questions, inquire about the corporate culture and what it’s like to work for the company. Other good questions which can shed some light include what it means to the company to be a “team player,” and what leads to promotions within the organization. You may want to ask about benefits or perks, but preferably after being offered a job and not before.

3. Request a tour or accept one.

Sometimes if an interview is going particularly well, an interviewer will offer to show you around the workplace. Other times, you may feel comfortable enough to ask for this yourself (say for example if the employer mentions you are the most likely candidate at this point). Seeing the workplace firsthand can answer a ton of questions.

Finding a corporate culture that fits you can be one of the most challenging aspects of a job search, but taking the effort to see that it happens can be very rewarding. All the pay in the world won’t make up for a workplace where you are miserable and don’t fit in. But when you find a workplace where you feel comfortable and appreciated, you will find more opportunities for advancement, and you will have a lot less stress and unhappiness in your life.

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