Company culture is a large part of your professional experience and a mutually beneficial organizational fit can make you more productive. You are likely to develop stronger relationships with your coworkers while enjoying the work you are committing to every day when your values align with the company. Before COVID, it was easier to discover a company’s culture based on observing in-person interactions with employees, office spaces, and nonverbal communication. Now that a majority of workplaces are remote and many will be adapting a hybrid environment, it is more difficult to actively determine if the workplace is a best fit. We do not want the remote environment to prevent you from making the best decision for your personal and career goals. Read for tips on how to determine a company’s culture despite interviewing or conducting informational interviews virtually.
Re-read the job description
Pay close attention to the words, phrases, and items not said within the job description. The way job postings are written can reveal company values and beliefs that aren’t necessarily overtly stated. Some keywords may seem positive but can reveal deeper layers behind the work environment. Job descriptions help candidates tailor their resume but also provide insight information on whether the company aligns with who we are.
Check out the company’s Glassdoor page and other job review boards
Reading anonymous reviews from current and former employees can provide insight into the company’s environment. Remember not every uploaded review may be completely accurate. The key is to look for phrases or words that point to unhealthy work environments or companies that don’t promote good values.
Review their social media accounts
Look into company’s LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media pages they are active on. Also, look at the language they use when postings on specific holidays, around social movements, instances of racism, and current events. Company responses, or lack of responses, are great indicators of their core values and beliefs.
Be intentional with your interview questions
Prepare for both in-person and virtual interviews with questions to ask at the end of your interview. There is evidence that asking more specific situational questions rather than general questions can help you determine a company’s culture. People can default to common descriptions when asked general questions such as “Describe your company culture.” Consider questions below which can help you judge culture more closely:
- When someone misses a huge deadline for a project, how does your team handle it?
- How is your team and company creating an inclusive environment for minorities and underrepresented employees?
- How does your company ensure a sense of community with remote work?
Conduct informational interviews
Take advantage of LinkedIn and find former and current employees at the company you are interested in joining. Be intentional with getting to know them, their role, and how they found the company. The worst outcome is not getting a response from a message but people are willing to speak about their work!