When you’re job hunting, finding the right position is only half the battle. To win the war you need to find the right company, too. That means one that has a culture that aligns with your personality, values and work style.

How can you learn more about company culture so you can make the best decision about your future career path? Some companies are very open about sharing cultural insights. For others you might have to be a bit of a sleuth. Look for clues using these five tried-and-true methods:

1. Search the company’s website
The very first step is to look at the careers page on the company’s website. Dig around and at the very least you should find some information about benefits that include cultural indicators, such as flextime, dress codes and other perks. Great HR departments will use this space to add photos, videos and other information that really provides clues into what the company is all about. These are all pieces of the puzzle, Sherlock!

2. Explore social
While online, take a peek at the company’s social pages. Not only will you be able to learn about the latest company news, you may uncover some cultural gems. Hiring managers know that talent monitors social, so they often post photos of employee news, company events and holiday parties to show potential hires that the company cares.

3. Reach out to your network
Yet another reason why networking is so important! Who in your professional network is a current or former employee of the company? Do you know anyone that has a spouse or good friend who works for the organizatioln? These people will have keen insight into the culture, and are often open to sharing the good and not-so-good with you, as long as you ask graciously and explain your motives.

4. Ask probing questions
Asking about company culture is an interview must. Not only do you want a good fit, the company does, too. Don’t be shy about bringing it up. A few examples:

  • What makes you proud to work at this company?
  • Please describe the company culture in three words.
  • What’s the best part about working here that I won’t find on the website?
  • How do people within teams and in different departments interact?
  • How does the company support employee professional development?

5. Take a tour
There’s no better way to understand a company’s culture than to see it in action. Taking a tour gives you this valuable insight. During your interview, ask if they’d be willing to give you a tour afterward. Take note of the work environment, chatter, amenities and general atmosphere. Is it positive and uplifting? Do employees look happy and comfortable? Is it a place that feels right to you? What your gut tells you can mean a lot.

Bonus tip: Look at anonymous company reviews from employees through websites like Indeed and Glassdoor. You’ll read the good, the bad and the ugly, so you can get a deeper understanding of the culture.






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