by John Kobrossy
In popular culture, the “typical” office environment is usually presented as a blandly decorated field of cubicles, including the common staples of bad coffee and a water cooler. These factors come to form everyone’s default standard perception of corporate culture. In reality, though, corporate culture is so much more than that.
The corporate culture of an organization is defined by the views of the founder or by upper management and top executives. It is the shared values and visions that drive a company and it can be a great indicator of whether or not a company could be a good fit for you.
In order to understand the corporate culture and determine whether it will be a good fit for you, you should do as much research as you can. The following list of tips will get you started.
Check out the company’s website, and pay special attention to the “about” page. It will likely tell you about their mission statements, their clients, how long they’ve been around, exactly what they do and how they do it. Be sure to read between the lines if you can.
There are factors about the corporate culture than you can only learn by getting inside the doors. If possible, try to organize an opportunity for a job shadow. You can get a real feel for working there that you just can’t get online. For example, their company websites won’t communicate that at GoodLife Fitness, a majority of employees don’t wear ties to the office or that UPS has a clean shaven policy implemented from the top down. At first glance these things might not seem important, but if you look closely this shows you that GoodLife values comfort and a stress free environment and that UPS wants its employees to know that no one employee gets treated any differently from another.
A lot of us have gotten to that point at the end of an interview where the interviewer asks “Any questions for me?” It has happened to all of us, sometimes we just can’t think of a question. Keep in mind that great question can be “What can you tell me about the culture inside your organization?” This shows you’re already trying to get a sense of whether or not you’ll fit in with them. It makes you seem engaged and confident. Even better, you will be getting valuable information about the corporate culture straight from the source.
Don’t ignore the significance of organizational culture in your job search. The right fit can make the difference between loving and hating your job. Get engaged and seek out the company that complements you, you’ll thank yourself for it and your employers will thank you for it as well.