Whether you’re a seasoned jobseeker or new to the search, you probably know how important it is to do your due diligence before and applying to a job. You fervently research the history of the organization, founder(s), and any other relevant details you can get your hands on. Mission accomplished, right? Wrong!
When applying for a job—with any luck, the place where you’ll spend the majority of your waking hours for the foreseeable future—it’s just as important to understand the culture of the organization as it is to know who founded the organization and when.
Here are a few tips on how to get a sneak peek at an organization’s culture:
Are they posting about an amazing brown-bag lunch that happened earlier this week or an impressive professional panel?
Want to learn more about office dress-code, work environment, or out-of-office events? Do some stealthy recon on their social media. Lots of organizations are turning to social media to offer the public, as well as potential employees, a better sense of the “behind the scenes” goings on. Scanning through a social media feed can offer you useful clues into things like:
- Dress code: What are people wearing in the photos? Are the photos taken in the office, at conferences, or during office retreats?
- Work environment: Is there a common space for people to gather and eat lunch together? Are there quiet spaces as well as space for collaboration? Do they choose to highlight in-office fun like ping-pong, couches, costume contests? Is it a dog-friendly office?
- Opportunities for professional development: Are they posting about an amazing brown-bag lunch that happened earlier this week or an impressive professional panel? Is staff Tweeting and Instagramming from conferences and workshops?
Google can be a very helpful tool in your efforts to glean some information about an organization’s culture. Here are a few things that you can search:
Does a remote workplace offer the opportunities for collaboration and friendship that you’re looking for?
- Images: Lots of organizations offer an “inside look” at their offices. Is it bright? Airy? Dark? Scary? Can you see yourself working there? A space can tell you a lot about an organization and if it will be a good fit for you.
- Maps: Is there an office at all? When searching for more information on a specific office location, you may find that the organization doesn’t have an actual office and instead, the entire organization is remote. This isn’t a red flag so much as a real opportunity to do a pulse check with yourself. Would you be comfortable working remotely? Does a remote workplace offer the opportunities for collaboration and friendship that you’re looking for? All important questions to consider before applying.
Lucky for you, it’s 2017 and there’s a Yelp for everything. Glassdoor is a Yelp-like resource that offers former and current employees as well as folks who have interviewed with a particular company or organization an opportunity to anonymously review things like salary, benefits, and leadership.
Check out Glassdoor to see if the organization that you’re interested in working for is listed, and if so, see what people had to say. Do they feel inspired by the leadership? How do they run interviews? Do their benefits accurately reflect the value that they place on staff morale?
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that similar to Yelp, some people submit reviews because they have a bone to pick. Take these reviews with a grain of salt and if you see something concerning, do more digging!
How to Translate All of This Newly Discovered Info
Not everything listed above will be a deal breaker or maker for you, and that’s OK. The point is to do some light investigation in order to paint a fuller picture of the people and leadership with whom you may ultimately work for some day. Do they value the same things as you? Do they meet your top three must-haves for your next career move? Do you recognize opportunities to grow, network, and connect in the info you were able to unearth?
Have you tried any of these tips for investigating an organization’s culture? What did you find? If you have other stealthy ways to gather information on organizational culture before accepting an offer, share them here!