Researching Company Culture: Where to Look
In our last “Corporate Culture” post, we explained what corporate culture is and why it is necessary to research a company’s culture, not only before an interview, but before you even apply. Now that we have told you what to look for to ensure you are a great fit, it’s time to discuss where to look. Here are 3 Places that can provide you with the inside scoop on your dream company’s culture:
- The Internet
Duh. We all know that. While I hope so, you would be surprised of the amount of people who have not adopted Google as a verb. The internet is the cheat code to life, so why would it not be the first place you go to research your prospective company. Although I didn’t do the best job of researching my present company, I was sure to google the company, and pay attention to any news articles, blog posts, and non-company issued content. Although the company’s website can provide you with great information about benefits and the culture they would like to have, you must go to those who have nothing to benefit when attempting to get the real deal on the company. Did lawsuits show up during your search? If so, pay attention. Are there a lot of former employees bashing them on Social Media? If so, pay attention. Do all of their higher-ups have a certain trait in common? Ex: all men, all of the same race, all of the same age, etc. If so, pay attention. These are all things to consider when determining your growth potential, possibility of happiness in the workplace, and job deal breakers. Two of my go-to websites to research company culture are LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Be sure to pay these sites a visit, but also remember to take all negative feedback from former employees with a grain of salt, as they could just be disgruntled. If you see the same complaint multiple times, I would strongly suggest you err on the side of caution.
If the company is service-based, and has a public location, then stop by and observe the culture. I’ll never forget a time right after college where I stopped by a local spa to get a massage courtesy of a gift card from my Mama on Christmas. The spa was new to the area, and I had been considering applying there for a Sales Associate role, in hopes of making a little extra money while searching for a job in my field. As I sat in the reception area completing my Massage paperwork, I heard someone whom I assumed was the manager, yelling at a crying Sales Associate. “This is not the first time we’ve discussed this, Amanda (not the correct name, I’m sure)! You need to fulfill a quota every week! You are not hitting your marks! This is unacceptable!” The manager screamed from the backroom. I was so uncomfortable that I wanted to leave, but it was a free massage so I didn’t. Don’t judge me. Nevertheless, I saw Amanda on my way out and her eyes were red from crying. The Associate who walked me into the massage room even asked me was my job hiring, and told me how much he hated it there. Needless to say, I never applied.
- Phone a Friend
Nope. Unfortunately, this is not “How to be a Millionaire,” and I am not the handsome older gentleman who reads the questions with a whole lot of swag, but like the show, phoning a friend can help you make money. Have you ever heard that saying “Your network determines your net-worth”? Well it is true. Often as first-generation college students and the first in our families to step into Corporate America or the professional world, we don’t have as great of a professional network as some of our peers, but that doesn’t mean we cannot grow one by appreciating and working the one that we have. Reach out to your friends and ask if they know of someone who works or has worked at your company of interest, and after being introduced, reach out to get the real deal on the company from a credible source. Also, utilize the connections of former co-workers who you developed a good working relationship with, and be sure to smile and make small talk with the people you meet in line at Wal-Mart or in the gym. You never know who can help catapult you into your destiny.
Stay encouraged in your research, and join us next week for Departmental VS. Organization Culture: There’s a Difference.