How to Discover a Company’s REAL Culture

Most professionals understand the importance of finding an employer with an exceptional culture. However, getting a genuine glimpse into a company’s culture is often incredibly challenging. Since organizations know that culture matters to candidates, they often go out of their way to ensure they look their best. Not all, but some, will even be disingenuous, presenting a false image of the culture they have in hopes of recruiting better talent.

Thankfully, it is possible to find out about a company’s real culture. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips.

Read Employee Reviews

Sites like Glassdoor make it possible for job seekers to get a bit of an inside scoop on a company’s culture. The employee reviews on websites like that give candidates plenty of insights into what it’s like to interview with and work for a wide range of organizations.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that these reviews aren’t guaranteed to be accurate. However, any that are well-written and discuss both pros and cons can be great places to start, as the odds that those reviews are real may be a bit higher. After checking those, branch out into more positive or negative reviews, working your way toward a bigger picture.

Along the way, you also want to read any responses from the company. How it reacts to feedback – both positive and negative – can be enlightening, so don’t overlook those opportunities to learn more.

Tap Your Network

If any member of your network had dealings with or previously worked for the company, they can be a great source of information about its culture. Reach out directly and see if they would be willing to share any insights that could help you determine if it is the right place for you.

You can also check your network for second-degree connections to the company. While you may need to ask your contact for an introduction before reaching out, this can be another effective path for finding out about a company’s real culture.

Dig into the Culture During the Interview

If you’ve landed a job interview with the company, you may have a few opportunities to learn more about its culture. First, if you’re interviewing on-site, you can observe the workplace firsthand. Often, you can tell a lot about what it is like to work for a company by casually watching the employees around you and seeing what workspaces look like and various aspects of the building’s design.

For example, smiling professionals moving with intention but in a non-hurried fashion could indicate a generally happy and enthusiastic workplace. Personalized workspaces, ample sunlight, live plants, and strategic uses of color could be good signs, too, as they give employees a sense of ownership and lift the mood.

In contrast, a lack of light, no personalization, and dull colors could mean the company doesn’t value the quality of its environment. Workers that look tired stressed, overtasked, or disengaged could indicate problems, as well.

You can also find out more about the company’s culture when you meet with the hiring manager. At the end of your interview, you usually have a chance to ask some questions, allowing you to dig in a bit. You could ask them to describe the culture in their own words or discuss a moment they felt genuinely captured the company’s culture, for example. Asking what successful employees have in common can also be enlightening, as the traits they mention could let you know about the pace of the workplace and general performance expectations.

At The Advance Group, we understand the importance of culture. That’s why we only partner with employers with proven track records, ensuring that candidates have access to the best workplaces in the area. If you’d like to find out more, the team at The Advance Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today.






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