Finding Your 'Culture Fit' During the Job Search
It’s amazing how the job hunt has evolved over the years. No longer are you mailing your resume to a newspaper ad or hunting in person. You’re no longer left wondering what the company you're applying to is actually like to work for, relying solely on information from the interviewers and feedback from employees (if you’re lucky enough to know any). You’re not applying to job boards blindly, only getting a snippet of information found on a company’s website.
Today, the digital world gives you, the job seeker, the control to do extensive research, ensuring you’ll find your ideal company.
When starting your job search, it’s important to use various resources to get a full view into the company and job. Don’t stop short, looking only at a job description or career page. There’s much more out there that you could be missing. Check the company’s social media accounts, look up videos/images, connect with employees at events or on LinkedIn.
Use these sources as a starting point to not only find companies that appeal to you, but also leverage during the interview process. Below are suggestions on how to do that.
1. RESEARCH EMPLOYER BRANDING
We live in a digital world, which has influenced the way employers represent themselves to potential candidates. More and more companies are investing in building their employer brands. Information is being pushed to help candidates get a better understanding of the role, teams, company culture, and more. As a job seeker, this is a fantastic way for you to dig deep and find a work environment that fits your values and desires.
Employers are creating content to give people a well-rounded view into their companies. The content can be involved as building out a robust career page, or as simple as sharing pictures on social media. Either way, there’s something to be found if you know where to look. Check companies’ career pages first to see if they have links to social media, blogs, or videos. This usually is the easiest way to discover other avenues for research.
If you’re really savvy, see if they have a hashtag for their culture (for example #LifeAtCb, #InsideZappos, #WilsonHCGLife, etc.). Not only will companies be posting pictures, but there will be many user-generated posts from employees, which could give you unique perspective from the people who currently work there.
2. CHECK EMPLOYEE REVIEWS
As always, sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed are a great way to get reviews from current employees, past employees, and interviewees. Read through these reviews to understand the pros and cons of working at the organization you're applying to.
Check to see if there are any themes across the reviews. Glassdoor usually has “top trends” to make it easy to see what is consistent across the board. But be wary! There could be disgruntled employees pushing negative information, so be sure to leverage any questionable reviews in your interviews to get the real scoop.
3. ATTEND EVENTS
While digital platforms are a great place to start your research, don’t limit yourself to what you read online. Find out where the company is located and make an effort to get there and meet them in person. Figure out if they are attending or hosting career events, or if they will be at local events like TechJam, if they host MeetUps, and more.
If you’re feeling more outgoing, you could reach out to current employees on LinkedIn and ask for feedback or to meet for coffee. Getting that face-to-face interaction can give you more genuine insight into the company beyond their polished branding.
Learning about and understanding a company's culture isn't limited to the application process. Here are a few ways to dig in once you have an interview.
1. DIG DEEP
Asking in-depth, thoughtful questions is a win-win. Recruiters love when candidates seem engaged and ask great questions. And candidates like yourself can get some deeper insight into the role and company.
Don’t be scared to ask about the good and the bad. Did you see an interesting picture on their social media or read a blog on the career site? Ask your interviewer about it. It will show them that you did your research and could help open up discussions about some of the interesting things the company is involved in.
See something concerning on a review or news article? Still ask them. It’s important to know what you’re walking into. Maybe what you read isn’t true or was blown out of proportion… or maybe it wasn’t. Either way, you’ll be glad you asked.
2. SHOW YOU'RE A FIT
Although having technical and soft skills are super important when qualifying for a job, companies are now putting emphasis on cultural fit, too. It’s not uncommon for interviews to include culture-focused questions or even for interviewers to be pulled in specifically to do a cultural interview. Doing your research and understanding the company’s culture, the events they’re involved in, and the things employees value will help you to speak to it when you’re asked these questions.
If you can, think of good cultural examples that will illustrate you’re a fit. For example, “I saw that your company is involved in volunteer work. I love giving back! I often donate time to my local Habitat for Humanity.” Or, “I noticed that your company has regular on-site events and happy hours. That’s such a great way to mingle and get to know your coworkers and build great relationships with people you may not normally work with.”
3. UNCOVER WHAT'S UNIQUE
Are there perks or benefits that are a must-have? Are there some perks that aren’t really perks for you?
For example, maybe you have an allergy but the company allows dogs at work. Or maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by perks, such as regular work-from-home days. There are a lot of little things that can positively or negatively affect your day, so make sure you learn about more than just your job duties and company culture.
There’s a vast amount of information at your fingertips, all you need to know is where to find it and how to use it to your advantage. Using these tips will give you a great opportunity to find a winning match for your next job.