The Break Room

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Finding a Cultural Fit

Mar 9, 2016, 14:14 PM by Kathleen Kontos

Culture is the vision, values, systems, behaviors and assumptions that exists within a company. The culture of a company may seem a small concern if you are a job seeker who cannot afford to be nitpicky about jobs. However, after hire, your satisfaction with your employer can determine whether you decide to stay for the next month or a few years down the road. Before you take that job offer stop yourself from needlessly suffering through countless long work hours just to realize that, despite the advantages, you do not want to be there.

Online Research

Start by browsing the web. Look at the job description of the position you are contemplating. Pay attention to word choice and expectations. Learn the values and mission of a company from their respective website and their About Us page. If they utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, check to see if they post material about corporate events and activities that can help you learn more about the culture. While the reviews on external sites may not be reliable, find common threads that will be of use to you. Learn more about the benefits of job research here.

Insider Information

Talk to an employee of the company for more casual, direct information that you cannot gather in an interview. Learn about the perks and benefits of the company and weigh your preferences. You may find out that you prioritize your weeknights without the mandatory overtime above unlimited free snacks and beverages. Ask about the management style of the company and consider the issues. How open to communication are the team members? How often do managers interact with employees? The personality of your contact can also give you contextual clues about their answers.

At the Interview

Make observations during your interview. You can gather a lot from the setting and your interviewer’s behavior and responses. Notice the way you are treated and whether your interviewers are on time and prepared. If you are interviewed by a team, observe the way they work together. Finally, ask questions that will help you learn more about the culture. How are employee achievements recognized? How does the company or the team you may join handle conflict or differing opinions? What are their attitude towards professional and education advancement? Ask your hiring manager as much questions as you need.

Job satisfaction has become a high priority in the workforce. Employees spend an average of forty to fifty hours at work each week and essentially the work environment is a factor that can influence your happiness at a company. While you may not learn everything you need to know about the culture, a little knowledge can take you long way.

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