How to Get a Sense of a Potential Employer’s Company Culture

Technology has made researching a company’s culture easier than ever. So, when you’re trying to determine if the culture is right for you, the company’s website and social media accounts are good places to start.

Mike Simpson, co-founder of The Interview Guys, suggests following the company on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter before you interview, and checking out what he calls “one sleeper gold mine” — YouTube.

“Many companies now post videos regarding their corporate culture, often even interviewing the employees themselves,” Simpson says.

A company’s page at Glassdoor, a reputable site that often includes employees’ thoughts on the company’s culture, is another option — albeit one to consult with caution.

“Like anything you read online, you always need to be aware that fake and/or retaliatory or vengeful comments can exist, often not painting the most accurate picture of reality,” Simpson says.

Katie Kocmond, campus recruitment manager for the staffing and search firm Addison Group, echoes that warning.

“When looking at an organization’s online reviews, keep in mind that employees may be speaking about a particular instance specific to them that isn’t necessarily reflective of the organization as a whole,” Kocmond says. “One way a candidate can work through any doubts that result from research is to address them head-on and bring them up during the interview process.”

“If the company has multiple locations,” Kocmond adds, “try to research as much information about that specific role and location, rather than just conducting a basic overview of the role and company as a whole.”

Spending time on-site is perhaps the best way to determine if you click with the corporate culture, according to Stan C. Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer. If you get that chance, pay attention to the vibe you get as you walk the halls, sit in the lunchroom or speak with employees. “Do they look downcast and burdened, or do they really look like they enjoy working there?” Kimer says.

Data on employee turnover, if you can find it, also can be valuable. “The higher the turnover, the higher there is a culture issue,” Kimer says.

What about asking past and current employees about the company, which is pretty easy to do thanks to LinkedIn?

“This is a somewhat delicate process that should be done carefully, as approaching strangers requires a little finesse,” Simpson says.

(Article written by Kathleen Furore)