Figuring Out Company Culture


Company culture is the shared values, practices, beliefs, and expectations of employees at any given workplace. The company culture often directly influences mission statements, initiatives, community partnerships, and office politics. Feeling like you fit in with the company culture is important—it impacts your productivity, overall attitude, and ability to connect with coworkers. You’ll most likely enjoy being in the workplace environment more if you feel your and the company’s needs are on the same page. Whether you work part-time or full-time, your time is valuable, and you want to be in a work environment where you can flourish.

There are plenty of strategies to investigate and ensure a company’s culture is the best match for you.

Online Research

Part of preparing for an interview includes extensively reading the company’s own website, but when you’re looking to gather more information on the company’s culture, it’s good to expand your search. Websites like Glassdoor can be helpful in this pursuit. Current and former employees leave anonymous reviews on Glassdoor about their time at a company. Reading these reviews can offer unique insights, but remember to take them with a grain of salt (like when you’re reading restaurant reviews on Yelp) since you don’t know the motivation behind someone’s post. Think of it as additional information for your research efforts, but it’s not the final word.

Another area of online research is a company’s social media profiles. Check to see if they have a Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Instagram account. Looking at the content they post is a good indication of company culture. What are they sharing and promoting? Reviewing these profiles will give you a better sense of how they present themselves to the public and how that’s reflected in the overall company culture.

Job Description

You’ve carefully read the job description looking for clues to the questions you might be asked in an interview, but you can also review the job description for clues to the company culture. What sort of language are they using to promote soft skills? Do they want someone who can collaborate, think creatively, or lead a team? Those desired skills all point to the type of company culture you can anticipate.

Interview Questions

The type of questions you ask in the interview can help you piece together the company culture. Be sure to ask questions that not only show your understanding of the job, but also ones that allow you to get a better understanding of what the company values. If the job description called for someone with leadership skills, you can ask for more specifics, like how the company hopes to see that enacted in its employees.

You can also be more direct and ask them to describe the company culture. Reference some of the things you’ve found in your research and ask them to expand upon it.

Office Decorations
When you go to an office for an interview take note of the environment. Focus less on whether you like the paint colors or furniture and more so on other indicators of company culture, like photos on the wall. Do they display awards for being a great company to work at? Do they hang up posters about the company mission or photos of employees? Small gestures like these are generally indicative of the greater company culture.

Do you need help researching company cultures? You can visit a no-cost Goodwill Career Center and ask a career advisor for assistance. Call 602-535-4444 to find a center near you or visit our locations page. Good luck with your job search!

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