When it comes to finding a new job with a prospective employer, you have lots of questions specific to the job itself. What are the responsibilities of the position, what’s the day-to-day workload, what are the skills needed for the job, etc. But, there’s always a bigger looming question that demands answering: what is it really LIKE to work there?

The term "company culture" grew in popularity over the last several decades as the workplace became a second home to many working Americans. What was once an indefinable quality with less importance to a job seeker now bears weight for a potential hire. Are you completely qualified but not a “culture fit”? Does the company offer a work-life balance that works for you? Now more than ever, companies are making efforts to establish what makes them, them. Picturing yourself working somewhere should be easier than ever, but company culture is often the mystery puzzle piece at the end of an application process. How exactly can you determine what the company culture is like?

Understanding what "company culture" really comprises is essential to create a framework for evaluating if it is a good fit. The main components of company culture:

  • Values and mission - what really matters to the company? 
  • Communication / Leadership Style / Team Dynamics - how do employees work together, how does the company communicate with their employees?
  • Work environment - what is the physical workspace like and what workplace actions does it promote?
  • Diversity and Inclusion - is there adequate representation at all levels of the company?
  • Employee Engagement / Development - are employees engaged with their work and encouraged to grow professionally?

For many of you, the typical ways of learning about a company will be perfectly sufficient: look at their website to peek at their workspace, browse their mission and values, and see if their employee page is as diverse as they claim. Check their social media accounts for any indication of employee championing, camaraderie, or recognition. But if you're looking to get even deeper than the words their marketing team has very intentionally prepared, we have a couple places that will suggest even more about what to expect if you joined the team.

Dive into job postings 

Job postings often require a company to sum itself up in a way that’s appealing to a prospective employee. Read about the company in one of their job listings to see what terms and phrases they've chosen to communicate as, potentially, a first impression to a prospective employee. What they decide to prioritize stating in a job posting could be considered at worst an unattainable intention, and at best a direct reflection of the essence of the company.

Much like real estate listings riddled with coded language like "charming" (old) or "cozy" (small), job postings can be excellent indicators of life at a company. Take a look, paying close attention to the words they use in a few different areas. First, what kind of benefits are offered? If they have a more lenient vacation or PTO policy than some, or flexible work hours, or even offer earned sabbaticals, they likely support a healthy work-life balance. Paid parental leave outside of the traditional maternity leave can indicate the same. Next, examine the required skills and qualifications listed. If there are several specific technical skills listed, they may place higher value on expertise and skills. On the contrary, emphasizing soft skills like collaboration, teamwork, or a positive attitude might suggest a supportive, people-oriented workplace. Also consider the tone of the writing - is it formal and traditional, or casual and conversational? In many cases, this is a direct reflection of the workplace. Last, review the level of detail provided about the role. A more elaborate and detailed description of the position may be an indicator that they value transparency and clarity. A much more condensed or succinct description may be your first clue that this is a fast-paced working environment.

Find their employees on LinkedIn

Look for employees on the team you're considering, as well as elsewhere in the company. Is there a diverse range represented? Are they active and engaged on LinkedIn? Do they belong to any professional groups or affinity groups? Do they share company news and events? Looks for signs of enthusiasm, passion, and dedication to both their fellow employees as well as the mission of the company. Sharing company news and projects with their network demonstrates pride and engagement with their work, and being supportive of others is a great quality to have in a work colleague. This is also indicated in the Recommendations section of a profile: have they written any thoughtful recommendations for others or received any from colleagues at their place of employment? A company is nothing if not a collection of individuals, so you might as well dig in and learn more about them. 

Explore the path some of these employees have taken within the company. Have they been promoted or moved around departments? This may indicate that success is tracked and rewarded. If several employees appear to be moving up the ladder, the company may be growing and prioritize promoting from within. Employees' loyalty to the company, rather than jumping ship and working elsewhere, suggests job satisfaction. Overall, joining a team of supportive, collaborative, and passionate people will yield successful results in your career, and looking through LinkedIn profiles can reveal a lot about potential workplaces.

There are many different ways to approach evaluating company culture, and getting an accurate reflection of it can be a real journey. We encourage you to invest time into determining company culture before starting a new position, and don't be afraid to think outside of the box. Investigating job listings and LinkedIn profiles with a mission to reveal the true ethos of a company can be an enjoyable and informative process!

Posted: 6/28/2023 2:53:50 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments