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How to Find Out If A Company Culture Fits You

Every company has its own culture. Sometimes each team has a specific culture, and it can be tricky to figure out for a new employee. It is likely that it will be different than your previous company, and it will be hard to get the whole picture from just a few interviews. This, however, doesn’t mean you can’t get to know something about it. Here are some tips on how to get an initial idea of the corporate culture at the company you are applying for.

team drinks company culture
Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

What Is Corporate Culture?

You’ve probably already heard about corporate culture, but here is the definition we will use throughout this article: “Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. Corporate culture is rooted in an organization’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to labor, customers, investors, and the greater community.

It is the social and psychological environment of an organization, and it guides employees in terms of the company’s goal, actions, and beliefs. It is important for employees to know the essence of the organization so that they can know what is expected of them in terms of performance, which will eventually lead to greater involvement at work. Can you describe what is important around here? What kind of behavior gets a reward? How do you get promoted? Who fits into the environment and who doesn’t?

The clearer they are the better. Why? Because you know what to expect to achieve these goals, and it will enable you to become more productive. In a healthy corporate culture, employees view themselves as a part of the team and therefore put a lot of effort into their work to guarantee company success. In an unhealthy culture, on the other hand, they distance themselves from the company.

Company culture headphone
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

What Kinds of Company Culture Exist?

Here are some examples of well-known corporate cultures from around the world.

Google has become an icon for corporate culture thanks to its perks and benefits. Free meals, employee trips and parties, bonuses, gyms, a dog-friendly environment, open presentations by high-level executives, and so on.

gathering after work meeting drinks
Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Netflix grew from a start-up to one of the biggest leading technology companies, and now it has one of the highest work standards in place for its employees. It allows employees to have freedom and responsibility in their work, meaning it does not care too much about the hours worked by employees but about how they perform during the working hours.

Zappos is also well known for its corporate culture. The company uses cultural fit interviews to look for applicants because it believes that building teamwork and promoting culture are essential to its performance. Zappos even offers 2,000 dollars to any employee who doesn’t think the job is right for them after they complete the first week of training. It also has a clear standard in place for giving raises. Employees need to pass skills tests and demonstrate increased capability at work.

women listening
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

How to Find Out if It Fits You?

When you are applying to an organization that does not openly advertise a clear corporate culture, it might feel harder to determine whether the company and job is right for you. But don’t worry, there are some tips you can keep in mind during interviews. Here is a short list:

  • Become an observer during the interview.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Pay attention to the questions asked.
  • See how others rate the corporate culture online.

As an observer, pay attention to what kind of clothes and language the people at work are using. The way they interact with each other tells you a lot about the organization’s corporate culture. Is it more casual or formal? In which manner the employees dress? How do managers treat other employees? Asking yourself these questions will allow you to evaluate the hierarchies within the company.

You always get the opportunity to ask questions. You can ask about the personality of the company, for example: “How well do employees know the work of other employees in different teams and departments?” or “What do you like about your job?”. It will show that you are highly interested in the company, and you can benefit from getting to know the company’s spirit.

Interviews are a two-way street. You can observe and ask questions. Don’t forget that the questions they ask you also indicate what kind of corporate culture exists.

Remember, the most important thing is to know what kind of work environment you would like to have. A great environment that fits your lifestyle can lead to increased work performance and less stress.

By Eunkyung Cha

About the author

Belgian polyglot. Interested in working cultures around the world. I have been working at JobLeads since January 2019.