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How to tell if a company's culture is right for you

Rich Hein | April 8, 2015
You want to work where you are inspired to do your best and appreciated by your colleagues and manager. However, that kind of fit doesn’t happen by chance. Find out what it takes to target the right job, company and culture.

Use social media
Nathanson offers some these guidelines about using social media to vet potential employers. "The first step is to look at the content and messaging the company puts on social. Is it "real people" talk or is it all press releases and product information? If they have employment-specific social channels are they just posting jobs or are they actually showing you what it is like to work at the company? Is it all stock images or are they actually showing you real people in their actual environment?"

Are there actual employees of the organization participating on social media, talking about working at the company is like. What they say and do can be very telling about their culture. "If the employees aren't saying or doing anything -- that says a lot too," says Nathanson.

Do your due diligence
There is certainly no shortage of data and these days as candidates have more places than ever to find it --LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Twitter or the organizations website for example. "It behooves you to explore and use this to your advantage. How does the company represent [itself] externally on the Web and social [media]? What do their current and former employees have to say on sites like and others? Do you relate to their employment brand and the messaging they are portraying of what it is like to work at the company?,"asks Nathanson.

That said, experts warn job seekers of potential pitfalls in this digital landscape. "One can get a lot of data from social media. But you've got to validate and verify that data to get useful information. For example, Glassdoor comments are mostly negative. However, a string of negative comments about a specific unit or group may not necessarily indicate a collectively bad company culture but a weak manager. Interactions with company personnel during the interview process are a great time to look for clues that will give oneself truthful insights about the culture," says Victor V. Kumar, vice president and CIO with Preferred Employers Group.

Ask the right questions
Once you make it to the interview process, make sure you ask the questions that will give you the insight you need to figure out how you will fit into their culture. Of course, you want to ask them to describe their culture but our experts also offer these questions that will help you glean insight into the organization.

Besides experience or their resume, why are your best employees successful? "Probe a bit on why some people haven't been successful, too -- taking away the focus on resume and experience and shifting to softer skills to get to the best personality traits that work or do not work in that culture," says Nathanson.


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