Finding a work culture that suits your needs and personality is very important.
The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life at work, so choosing a place that you will enjoy going to every day is key. It can be tough to figure out a company’s culture until you’re actually in it, but there are some things that you can do to help you gain a better perspective before you accept a job offer.
Know what you’re looking for
It takes time to learn what you like and dislike about a workplace, but as a student or recent grad, there are still many ways to figure this out before you’ve gained a lot of work experience. For example, start by taking stock of your personality and the types of personalities that complement your own.
Think about your previous school group projects or your last job – which types of people did you clash with, and which ones did you enjoy? Do you prefer working alone or in a team setting? In short, think about the type of environment you need to be your best (and most productive) self.
Does the company have a hiring or careers section on their website? This is where many companies often put information about their workplace culture so spend some time here to see what you can find.
Another option is to look up past or current employees on LinkedIn and take a look at their background and work history. What sort of workplaces did they come from, and how long did they work at the organization you are applying to? For example, If many of the employees you find only stayed at the organization for a short period of time, this could be a red flag, potentially indicating that the organization has a high employee turnover rate.
Lastly, follow the company on their social media channels and look for posts where they describe the work environment or upcoming office events. Do they have a fun tone of voice or do they seem more corporate? Not all places are very active on social media, but if they are, it can be a great place to gather some insight into the company culture.
Most interviews happen in the workplace so this is the perfect opportunity to observe the culture in action. When you arrive for your interview, take a second to ‘read the room.’ For example, look around at the other employees: do they seem stressed, busy, and rushed, or fun, friendly and laidback?
Your interviewer can also be an indicator of the workplace culture. Ask yourself: do they come off as casual and conversational, or are they more intimidating and uptight? During the interview, make sure to ask about the work culture. Asking why they chose to work there is also a great question to get a feel for the culture. Afterwards, request a tour of the office or to be introduced to some of the other employees. Not only will this show your interviewer that you’re invested in getting to know the company, it’ll also give you a chance to evaluate the organization a bit before jumping in headfirst.
At the end of the day, you’ll learn the most about a company’s culture once you’re working there and completely immersed in it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a feel for the work environment beforehand. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions!