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How to tell if a company's culture is right for you

You've done your research, you've send out your resume and decided to make a career move. When interviewing with a new employer, everyone knows to review the role, the benefits and the salary. Yet, we often forget about the importance of evaluating a company’s culture during the interview process. A job is more than just a place you go and a thing you do for 8+ hours a day however  - if you do not thrive in your new work environment, your ability to perform could be affected.

Company culture has today become one of the most important factors for professionals when choosing a new job. It is subsequently also one of the leading reasons pushing people to change jobs. It is therefore important for you to make sure you have taken the culture into account before accepting a job offer.

Follow these five key steps to see if a company’s internal culture is right for you:

1. What motivates you?

Having a general idea of the type of work environment you are looking for is the first step in deciding whether a new job is for you or not. Before considering a company’s culture, it is important to first understand the type of work environment you thrive in.

Try to pinpoint what helps you do your best work (and your worst). Think about a time when you were extremely productive. What was special about that situation? Were you working alone or with others?

2. Review the company’s website

Most companies have dedicated web pages that specifically showcase their people, their mission and their core values. This is a great way to get a basic understanding of what principles the company values most and what they look for in potential employees.

Additionally, some companies have a photo gallery on their website, this is a great resource to get a sneak-peak look inside the office.

3. Check out their social network profiles

Social media is quickly becoming a standard operating procedure for companies and has fundamentally changed how employers reach and interact with customers, offer products and services, communicate with employees, and - in a nutshell - do business.

Be sure to check out your potential employer’s social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Viewing their recent posts on their social sites can give you an understanding of the company’s activities, team outings, published content and latest news coverage.

To obtain a more in-depth look, review the company's ratings and comments on Glassdoor, where past and present employees share their experience in the workplace and with their management. Glassdoor will give you a direct glimpse into what current or past employees experience and the pros and cons of the company. Take the reviews you see there with a grain of salt, but if you see common threads between reviews, you'll know what to watch out for.

4. Be attentive

Perhaps one of the most valuable impressions of the workplace is during the initial onsite interview. This gives you a chance to observe the other employees and how they interact. Look beyond the people you interview with and take a look around the office. Could you picture yourself working with these people? Do they look motivated and engaged? Are people dressed formally?

Take a look at how the office is set up. Is it a collaborative space? Are people tied to their desk or are they moving around? Does the office look very corporate or is it setup in a more create way? These are all things to take under consideration. Visiting the office will give you the opportunity to have a “behind-the-scenes” look into the company and see if the people and the environment is a right fit for you.

5. Ask questions

The final step in understanding a potential employer’s company culture is to ask them about the work environment during the interview. Some great questions would include the following:

  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What would a typical day-to-day look like?
  • What's your favourite part about your job? What is the least?
  • Do people engage in team activities together?
  • Who would I be working the closest with and would it be possible to meet them?
  • What key traits are essential for filling this role?

These questions should help you figure out the company is the right fit for you and if you can see yourself there in the long-term.

Although exciting, starting a new job can also be a challenging moment

Read our tips on adjusting to a new job and ensure your new role starts off as smooth as possible. 

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