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5 Ways to Tell If the Corporate Culture Is Right for You … Before Accepting a Job Offer

Finding the right company is just as important as finding the right job. Far too many professionals take the first job offer thrown their way out of desperation and impulse, without considering whether the company is a good fit, culturally. That's like marrying someone after the first or second date without knowing anything about that person, other than what you gathered online. A little crazy, right? Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that these eager professionals quickly grow unhappy in their jobs after discovering that it wasn't love at first sight – and this, folks, is why there are so many unhappy and disgruntled workers in America.

Finding the right company is just as important as finding the right job. Far too many professionals take the first job offer thrown their way out of desperation and impulse, without considering whether the company is a good fit, culturally. That’s like marrying someone after the first or second date without knowing anything about that person, other than what you gathered online. A little crazy, right? Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that these eager professionals quickly grow unhappy in their jobs after discovering that it wasn’t love at first sight – and this, folks, is why there are so many unhappy and disgruntled workers in America.

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(Photo Credit: Ken Teegardin/Flickr)

In fact, it’s estimated that a mere “30% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work,” according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report.

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“[T]he ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is roughly 2-to-1, meaning that the vast majority of U.S. workers (70%) are not reaching their full potential,” Gallup reports.

The happier you are, the more engaged you’re going to be at work because you actually care about doing a good job. Disengaged employees, on the other hand, are “checked out” and couldn’t care less about their jobs, which is a good indicator that they’re probably pretty unhappy at work. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you’re hoping to be part of the former group.

If you want to be happy in your career, then it’s wise to seek out an employer that has a stellar corporate culture that encourages work-life balance and make employees feel valued and recognized. Here are five ways to tell if the company with which you’re interviewing is a hero or a zero when it comes to a good cultural fit.

1. Tardy for the Party

For starters, if the interviewer is late and unapologetic about his tardiness, then take that as a sign (and glimpse) of how it will be to work for this “type” of person. Most likely, the person interviewing you is going to be someone with whom you will work closely, and/or someone who has some say in whether you stay or go. If this individual has little to no regard for your time and efforts during the interview, then don’t expect them to care about your time or efforts once you’re under their thumb.

2. It’s Written All Over Their Faces

As you’re making your way to the conference room for your interview, be sure to scope out the employees and see if they look like they enjoy their jobs. There’s no right way to accomplish this, but use your best judgment. If the place is silent and everyone has their head down, afraid to look up, then that’s never a good sign of a “fun” work environment. A healthy corporate culture has a nice balance of socializing, work, and friendliness – in other words, people should appear happy and be excited about a potential newbie interviewing with the company. If you feel welcomed while you’re there, that’s a great sign.

3. Sit In to Fit In

Kimberley Kasper, Chief Marketing Officer at Highfive Technologies, suggests that candidates request to sit in on a team meeting to get a feel of how the team interacts with each other, which is exactly what she was invited to do before she signed on with Highfive Technologies.

Kasper tells BBC, “Sitting in on a staff meeting gives you a glimpse of the team in action, personalities, and how your potential manager manages the team.” If you’re lucky enough to be granted access to an actual team meeting, then take full advantage of the opportunity and keep your eyes and ears peeled.

4. Do You Even Flex, Bro?

Employees want flex schedules. When do they want them? Now. According to a recent survey conducted by EY, workers worldwide place flexible work schedules at the top of the list of what they desire most in a job, followed by competitive pay and benefits. Chances are that you would also love working for an employer that allows you to balance your job and your personal responsibilities. If this is so, keep your ears open during the interview. If flex-time is an option, it will probably come up during your conversation.

5. Perk Up

Let’s be honest here; company perks are definitely a plus when it comes to corporate culture. Consider it bribery or incentive, the bottom line is, perks perk up employees and morale. Nowadays, many more companies are offering perks that are just as mind-blowing as they are advantageous to employees, so do some research beforehand to see if your potential employer offers any that would make your life more enjoyable.

Hopefully these tips will help you decipher whether that dream job also comes with a corporate culture that is right for you.

Tell Us What You Think

What other tips would you like to add to the list? Share your suggestion with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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