How to Tell If a Company's Culture Is Right for You

Company culture is one of the leading reasons people change jobs. Most workers change companies because they’re unhappy in their work environment, not because they hate their job responsibilities. When you’re on the job hunt, choosing the type of organization you will work for matters just as much as the position itself.

Before accepting a job offer, you should identify the culture in which you thrive – this is crucial for your professional success! If the company culture is not a fit, you’ll start feeling demoralized shortly after starting your new job and you’ll find yourself back at square one...wishing to change company. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re applying to jobs. Do you prefer:

  • A large corporation, such as Fortune 500 companies or a smaller, “Mom and Pop” shop family culture?

  • A performance driven/fast-paced or laid-back work environment?

  • Structured and well-defined roles or wearing multiple hats and embracing constant change?

  • A well-established company or a new venture?

  • A profit based versus NGO organization?

  • A socially responsible company?

  • A nine-to-five role or unusual work hours?

  • A hierarchical or a highly collaborative culture?

  • A high-end versus low-end positioned company? 

  • A formal or informal work atmosphere?

  • An exclusive or diversity inclusive environment?

Take the time to consider the culture, values and ethics of the organization and evaluate if they match yours.

Let’s take Netflix for example.  In a 2018 article published in Forbes, Netflix’s culture was described as “…radical transparency, accountability and honesty as key issues that Netflix employees struggle with as well as a number of practices that are unique to the company. Two examples of these practices are ‘sunshining,’ which encourages employees to share a mistake they have made with colleagues thereby promoting transparency, and the ‘keeper test’ where, as part of the review process, managers must ask themselves whether they would fight to retain an employee or not.”

 Although Netflix may be an attractive and sought-after organization, this type of culture is clearly not for everyone.

So how do you determine if the prospective employer fits your preferred culture?

1.     Reflect on your past experiences and remember a time where you were happy in an organization, whether for work or volunteering. What was it that motivated you? 

Was it the relationships you developed with like-minded colleagues? The team eating together during lunch-time? Your manager trusting you with greater work responsibilities and offering interesting challenges? The company investing in your growth through the learning and development program? The exercise courses offered to employees on site? 

2.     Think of your lifestyle. Since you will spend most of your week at work – the company culture will inevitably impact your life. By taking on this new job, will you be able to effectively juggle workplace stress with the daily pressures of family, friends, and self? Does this job require travel and are you willing to be away from home regularly? Consider your daily commute, how often you will work overtime and if telecommuting is an option. 

3.     You will find a great wealth of information about the organizational culture through the company website, reading their social media posts (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) and reading online reviews. To find out what it’s truly like inside an organization, ask existing employees if they would recommend working there and why.  Also, during the interview process, dig into cultural questions and get answers from the hiring managers and Human Resources.

Wishing you much success!




About the author

Karine Shogher Touloumjian is a bilingual Canadian Certified Resume Strategist with a background in Recruitment and Human Resources.

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