Company culture can make or break your job experience—but it’s pretty hard to get an accurate feel for a company’s values and vibe without, well, working there. Although most places have a section on their sites devoted to explaining culture, they tend to be filled with phrases like “dedicated to customer satisfaction” and “we encourage our employees to grow.” That tells us a whole lot of nothing.
To discover what a company is really like (and whether you’d be a good fit!) before you accept the job, check out these nine techniques for researching culture.
- During the interview, don’t ask, “What’s it like working here?” Ask, “What would a newspaper article about your company’s culture have to include?” (TheLadders)
- Go through the company’s tweets, videos, Facebook posts, and the like to get an idea of what’s important to the team. (Careerealism)
- Show up early to the interview and watch how employees interact with each other. (QuintCareers)
- When talking to employees about the culture, note their response time. Generally, the quicker the better! (Fortune)
- However, don’t just consult employees. You’ll also want to speak with customers, suppliers, partners, and so forth. (Harvard Business Review)
- Be on the look-out for the “warning signs” of a problematic culture—like making a huge deal out of the ping-pong table. (Forbes)
- Learn how to read between the lines. For example, promotions that rest on “something opening up” means you’ll probably have to wait for someone to move up or out. (Lifehacker)
- Take a look at a beta survey that uses “psychometric frameworks” to show you workplaces in which you’d thrive. (Co.Exis)
- Of course, don’t forget to browse company profiles on The Muse to get an inside peek into what it’s really like to work at some amazing companies! (The Muse)