So, you’ve been offered the job after successfully completing grueling sets of interviews. The company seems like a great employer (so you think), the job is everything you have ever wanted and the recruiting manager has assured you that you are the best fit. The salary and other benefits are competitive and everything else seems to be perfect. But what about the company culture? Culture is defined in the way people relate with each other in a company, what they value and how they work. Every organisation has a company culture that is instrumental to its ongoing success. You spend most of your time at work so it’s very important to like working for your company. You want to work for a company where you will be a great fit.
So, before you commit to a job, find out about the culture because it is what will determine your happiness with your new job. Here are a few ways to find out about the culture of your new job before you get started.
There is lots of information that the interview panel will not volunteer but that you can get from employees. Ask both current and former employees about working for your new company. Would they recommend anyone to join? Why do employees leave? What does it take to succeed in the company (politics vs hard work)? How long has the position been open? Why is the position vacant? Does the company have open lines of communication or is gossip rife? Call up that friend of a friend who knows someone who works at that company and get to find out all that you can about your potential employer. Look out for red flags.
When you go to interview, look our for clues on the company’s culture. Some things will be clear like how people dress up. But do not ignore subtle clues like time keeping. An interview panel that keeps time might point to fact that the company takes time keeping seriously and deliverables are taken seriously.
Proactively use the interview to find out about culture. Some questions that you can ask an interview include:
- Why do you like working for this company? What’s the best part about working for this company?
- What would you change about this company and why?
- How is performance management done?
- What are the opportunities for growth in this role? (career development).
- What are the reporting lines?
Find out what is being said about the company in the press. Is there news of a pending restructure? How about the financials of the company? Are they doing well? Is there a lot of infighting and politics that is highlighted in the press? Note that some press can be misleading so it’s a matter of corroborating information and putting pieces together to come up with a conclusion about the quality of the company culture. Company culture is not about what the company says about itself in the news. It has nothing to do with the glossy adverts in the press.
Glassdoor a career site that aggregates feedback from employees on how they rate working for the company and it’s management. Use it to find out what former employers saying about the company. Glassdoor also allows job candidates to review a company’s interview process which speaks a lot into whether a company values its employees. There are other tools like social media (twitter, facebook, linkedin) that can give you insight into a company’s culture.
A company’s leadership builds it culture. It is not just about your boss but also his or her boss. The way that your boss’ boss manages him is going to have an impact on how he manages you. What’s your new management’s leadership style? Does management trust employees? Do they inspire ethical leadership? You can find out about a company’s leadership through all the above ways. During an interview, ask your potential manager to be about how she handles conflict or what her management style is.
You won’t be able to survive where you don’t fit. You wouldn’t want to leave your current position for a company that has a poor culture and where you are ultimately going to resign after a few days. So, take extra care when choosing your next job.