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7 Steps to Research Company Culture

In a job search post for Work Reimagined, I share tips around the all-important but hard-to-find company culture issue. How exactly do you find out whether you and a prospective employer are the right fit?

Success at a job requires more than matching your skills to the job requirements. You have to be in an environment where you can do your best work. Many people need to like their colleagues and management. In other words, the culture of the company contributes to whether you will thrive. Here are seven steps to research company culture.

Define what you mean by culture. Is it how the company treats its employees or also its community, consultants, vendors and customers? Is it how career path is determined (e.g., whether the company promotes from within or allows its employees to move laterally)? Is it whether employees tend to work in teams or alone? Be specific: What matters to others may not matter as much or at all to you.

Decide how to measure what matters. How will you evaluate what you find? If you want a company that treats its employees well, does this mean pay transparency, unexpected shows of appreciation, or consistent adoption of employee suggestions? If you don’t know how you’ll measure the culture you’re looking for, you won’t know it when you see it or even where to look.

Check published sources. Review the company’s website: how does it describe the company and its leadership? Is the tone straight professional, conversational or irreverent? Look at press releases and media mentions for the company: what is highlighted? If you want a company that values giving back to its community, is there more than a promise to do this, i.e. real programs with real results? You want to see how the company positions itself but also how it is perceived by others, such as the media.

Read the other 4 steps at Work Reimagined: 7 Steps To Research Company Culture.