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5 tips to uncover a company's culture before accepting a job

Sarah K. White | May 11, 2017
Company culture varies among employers, so it's important to have a good sense of what you want in a working environment before you accept a job offer.

You can learn a lot about a company with just a little investigative work, and while it's important to keep a critical eye out for any overly negative or positive reviews, it's still valuable information. In your research, if something stands out to you, make a note of it to gain more insight in the interview.


Ask the right questions

The questions you ask during the interview process can reveal more about the company culture, while also revealing more about you as an employee. Maza says asking a question like, "how does your company invest in developing leaders," can show that you're interested in a long-term position with the company, while also exposing more about the inner workings of the business.

Similarly, she suggests asking questions about successful employees, performance review processes, the career tenure of current employees and what employees like best about the company. These questions show that you're dedicated to being a productive team member, while also painting a stronger image of the corporate culture.


Look around the office

Once you're brought in for an interview, if someone doesn't offer you a tour of the building, be sure to ask for one before you leave. You can pick up on plenty of clues about the company culture during a quick walkthrough, says Gimbel.

"Look at how employees are interacting with one another. Look at the office layout. Are there cubicles or is it an open floor plan? Are people collaborating and meeting with one another or can you hear a pin drop? Again, there is no wrong culture, but be sure to consider what environment you excel in and if this is the right one for you," he says.


Try out a 'working interview'

What better way to see if a company is a cultural fit than to try out a full workday in your potential role? Gimbel says that a working interview is one of the best ways to get a deeper understanding of company culture on a departmental-level.

"Many groups and organizations develop subcultures, the unique characteristics each team has within the overall company culture. These subcultures may be unique to specific business units or even office locations, but it's important to understand what they are and if you'll enjoy working in that type of environment," he says.

A working interview can give more insight into the sub-culture of your potential department, while also revealing any potential red flags.

During a working interview, you can get a feel for what the interoffice dynamics are like, how employees communicate with each other and what the daily atmosphere is like. If you aren't sure what constitutes a red flag, Maza says the biggest one is high turnover. "If employees aren't staying, there's usually a valid reason why," she says.


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