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How to Find a Job You Love by Assessing Company Culture

Looking for a job match made in heaven? These company culture research tips will help you find your dream job. [TWEET]

In dating and in the job hunt, it’s all about finding “the one;” someone who not only shares your values, but also brings out the best in you. In fact, a recent survey by TopResume found that cultural fit is one of top three factors professionals consider when making a career change and evaluating a position.

In turn, employers are looking for the same connection with their prospective employees. You can have all the right qualifications for a role, but if you don’t mesh well with the organization and their team, then you ultimately won’t be successful. That’s why it’s so critical to learn as much about a prospective employer’s company culture before you decide to accept their job offer.  

It’s all about learning how to find a job you love. Use these tips below to discover a company’s true corporate culture and find your dream job.

Search online

Once you’ve taken some time to consider what matters most to you in your next role, the next step in your career change is to actively seek out companies that embody those traits. Run an online search to uncover lists of companies that are known for these qualities such as work-life balance or a vested interest in their employees' professional development. Develop a target company list and then make a point to regularly check these companies' websites for new opportunities. In addition, use this information to set up saved searches for similar companies on your favorite job boards. 

Seek out references

Did you know you are 10 times more likely to land a job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral? Before you apply to a position, take a look at your professional network to see if you know anyone who currently works or previously worked at the organization. Not only could your connections provide you with valuable insights into the company culture and the hiring process you won’t find anywhere else, but they can also help you avoid the resume black hole and ultimately find your dream job. Use the information you gain from your contacts to (1) determine if the company is a good fit for you; and (2) help you prepare you for interviews with the organization.

Revisit the company's website

The Internet is full of resources to help you get a better sense of a company’s culture before you set foot in the interview room. Start by revisiting the company’s site and particularly their “Careers” section. Today, many organizations are investing in what is referred to as “employer branding” to provide prospective candidates with a better understanding of what it’s like to work at the company. Be on the lookout for videos, employee testimonials, information about the company's mission, and any social media accounts that are dedicated to the company’s recruiting efforts. In addition, check to see if they have a company profile on The Muse. These will help you gauge the corporate culture and decide if the company work environment and its values are the right match for you. 

Find out what others are saying about them

When making a career change, don't forget to check online for company reviews. I’m not just talking about the reviews you’ll find for a company on sites like TrustPilot and the Better Business Bureau, though those are also worth looking at. Find out what former and current employees are saying about their employers, the company culture, and the interview process on Glassdoor, CareerBliss, and Vault. This is especially useful if you don’t know anyone who works at the company who can share their firsthand experiences.

However, take these reviews with a grain of salt. Disgruntled employees are much more likely to post a review than someone who’s happy with their job. Also, many companies actively encourage their newest employees to post reviews while they’re still in the honeymoon stage of their employment. 

Set up Google News Alerts

Whether you’re interested in learning more about a target company or you’re preparing for upcoming interview, Google News Alerts are a great way to stay in the know about your field and its major players. You can easily create an alert for a specific company to learn how they’re being portrayed in the news and what initiatives they’re currently involved with. While this won’t give you deep insights into the company culture, it will help you understand how they are perceived by the media and any strategic decisions that have been made available to the public.

Prepare questions for your interview

If you want to find your dream job, remember that the interview process should be a two-way street. Just as the company is evaluating you and your skills for their role, it’s your job to ask questions during the interview process to get a better sense of the position, the hiring manager’s expectations, and the company culture so you can decide if it’s the right position for you. Below are some of my favorite questions to ask in order to understand what it’s really like to work at the company.

  • If you could describe your corporate culture in three words, what would you say and why?
  • What's one thing that's integral to this company's success that an outsider wouldn't know about?
  • How do I get access to the information I need to be successful in this job?
  • What kinds of people are successful here? What kinds of people have either fizzled out, failed, or left?
  • How does the company recognize employee accomplishments?

Take note of your surroundings

When you’re brought in for an interview, pay close attention to what’s going on around you. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the waiting room look like?
  • How is the receptionist treated by those who work at the company?
  • How is the office decorated? How are the work spaces arranged?
  • Do people have pictures and other personal effects on their desks, or are their workspaces pretty sterile?
  • Is there a break room or kitchen in sight? Are people eating at their desks or leaving the office for lunch?

All of these little details provide clues into the corporate culture and what you can expect, should you make a career change and accept a job offer from this organization. Click on the following link from The Muse to learn other sneaky ways to determine company culture during an interview.  

Evaluate the interview process

Consider how you were treated during the interview process. Did the recruiter reschedule your interview three times before finally getting you into the office? Did most of the interviewers seem prepared for your meeting, or did they appear to be thrown into the mix at the last minute? When you asked each interviewer specifics about the job and what would be required of the person who accepted it, were their answers somewhat consistent or did they vary greatly?

Your treatment during the interview process is often an indication of what you will face at the company, should you decide to work there. Click on the following link from Monster for additional questions to ask yourself when evaluating the interview experience

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!