Employees having a conversation in a relaxed office.

When you begin looking for a new job, there are a number of factors that are at the forefront of your mind. Salary, benefits, growth, and location are a few of the factors that immediately come to mind. Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to be thinking about these factors first, as most professionals do. You should always strive for growth, and look for compensation that suits your skills and experience. However, many candidates leave an important factor out when looking for a new job: culture.

Why Is Culture So Important?

When looking for a new job, it’s easy to get caught up in salary, benefits, and other types of compensation. However there are many other factors that you should consider. You should always be concerned about job fit, and if the responsibilities will suit your skills. You should always try to find a job that synchronizes well with your skills and experience. So you may think if a position fits well with salary, benefits, and job fit, that you know you all you need to know. Right? Wrong. Even if all of that lines up perfectly, there’s always the possibility that the culture isn’t a good fit for you, and that could be a bigger problem than you may realize.

So what exactly makes up the culture of a company, and why is it so important? Culture is actually a combination of a number of factors, as opposed to just one thing. It’s made up of the people, the environment, the management, the work style, and how all of those factors come together. That cocktail is what forms culture at an organization. Many companies have become more aware of culture, and have implemented initiatives to assess it, and improve it. These employee engagement initiatives are a great step for organizations, and represent a shift in priorities for many companies. However, the importance of culture has yet to be recognized by the majority of companies. So if they aren’t going to prioritize it, the responsibility falls to you.

How You Can Find Out More

A negative culture can greatly impact your ability to do meaningful work, or even accomplish work at all. It’s a very real possibility that a position may seem perfect in every way, great pay, good job fit, and growth, but the culture may be toxic behind the curtains. No company is going to outright tell you about their culture, unless they have something positive to boast about. So you’ll have to do some investigating to find out about their culture and if it would suit you. It may take some time, but it’s worth the detective work.

Thankfully, there are some places online you can do some quick research. These sites are only a few clicks away, they can help you find out more about culture.

Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com is a website that is dedicated to everything career related including salaries, job search advice, and most importantly, company reviews. The site has an entire section that is dedicated to collecting employee reviews for their employers. Employer pages have reviews from employees, salaries, and benefits. The amount of information varies company to company, but most have a decent amount of information. Reading these reviews is a good way to get a sense for the company’s culture from the employer perspective.

Google Reviews

If a company is managing their online presence, searching their name on Google will usually bring up a listing. This listing has their location, phone number, website, and some photos. If a company actively maintains their listing, it might be updated with photos of the interior office or work space. This is great way to get a better idea of the work environment before having an actual interview at the location. Also, if there are reviews, those might be worth looking at as well. Although they will certainly be less comprehensive than the Glassdoor reviews.

Company Social Media

One of the best ways to find out about what is going on behind the scenes is to check out the company’s social media pages. Most companies are on Facebook and LinkedIn, but Instagram is your best bet to find out more about company culture, if they have an account. Many companies use Instagram specifically to showcase what is going on behind the scenes at their company. If there are any work events, or office going-ons, this is the best place for you to find out about it.

Company Employees

This isn’t something you’ll be able to research online, but the best way to find out about the culture is to speak directly to the employees. Your opportunities to do this may be limited, but you can always see if you know someone at the company. If you do know someone and feel comfortable reaching out, shoot them a quick note letting them know you are looking into a position with their company. In the event that they are open to sitting down for a conversation, it can be a great way to find out more. If that’s not an option to you, you can always ask about the culture in your interview. We have a few questions we recommend asking to find out more about culture without getting a preplanned answer.

Don’t Count Out Company Culture

Those are just a few quick ways you can find out more about company culture while looking for a new job. Every opportunity and company is different, so it’s important to weigh all factors when looking at a new position. Salary, growth, job fit, and benefits should all be weighed together with culture. Culture is an integral component of any position.  If you fail to recognize that in your job search, you may wind up in an environment that doesn’t suit your work style. So make sure you always keep culture in the back of your mind when looking for your next job!