Is the Grass Greener Elsewhere? How to Research a Company’s Culture

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Posted February 10, 2014 by Sally Calloway in Career Moves

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In this uncertain job market when eight in 10 U.S. workers are stressed out at their jobs, it is not surprising that most just want to move on and find a new job. You may even find yourself in this common category.

Be it a lack of opportunity to grow with the company, “unfair” pay, or not feeling fulfilled, regardless of the reasons why you want to leave your current job, you may first want to ask yourself “will the grass be greener on the other side”?

Here are 5 areas to research on a company’s website to get a good idea:

  1. About Us. Yes, this probably seems like a no-brainer, however, a strategically branded “About Us” section that is distinctive, unique, appealing, and inspires trust may be a good indication that the company is aware of thoughtful branding. It is usually a good sign when a company cares about, and invests in their image. This is where they may also speak to their philanthropic involvement which may be part of your personal company culture scorecard.
  2. Mission and Core Values. It is hard to gauge whether the company is living up to their aspirations. What to consider is if their objectives align with yours and if contributing to this company’s success would fill the void that your current job cannot?
  3. Social Media Platforms. Social networking profiles can help you see if a company is more casual, or more professional, straight forward, or structured. Check out the comments sections of their blog, Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to see how customers and current or former  employees engage with the company. How does the company respond to less than flattering posts? What timeframe has passed between the initial post and their response? If the company has a YouTube channel, check out the videos. This can be an excellent way to get a feel for company tone and whether you might fit in with the culture.
  4.  Annual Reports and Media Links. This information can give you insight into their ethics and any legal issues they may be facing. The annual report should also showcase their profits and reasons if there were none. The stock price history and financial statements may be good indicators of current employee stress levels. High stress environments caused by underperformance can affect company culture in negative ways. You might also find out the company’s annual turnover rate here. If it’s a high one, you will want to dig even deeper to find out why. Media links are likely to bring you to press releases, television appearances, and newspaper articles. These too can provide insight into whether your involvement in these types of activities may bring you fulfillment.
  5. Corporate Website. Company’s may integrate, or have a separate link to the corporate website. Equally investigate both to see if the information aligns. The corporate website may include even more details to help you determine if you might fit into their culture.

Another resource to consider is glassdoor.com where current and former employees provide company reviews. Keep in mind that former employees may not provide the best perspective. Especially since you only hear one side of the story. You may also want to simply Google the company name and tap into resources that are not showcased on their website.

If, after conducting your research, you decide to apply, be sure to continue your investigation during the interview. Ask for a tour of the office. Be aware of how employees are dressed, if their work areas are decorated with family photos, if they seem engaged in their work, and if introduced, greet you with enthusiasm and a smile.

To avoid ending up in a similar situation that you are trying to escape, it is important to assess the overall company culture as well as department culture. Asking strategic interview  questions  can help you evaluate both.   You may email me at coachsally49@gmail.com to request sample questions to ask the interviewer that will help you determine if you should move on to greener pastures.


About the Author

Sally Calloway

Sally Calloway is a Career Coach and an Expert Resume Writer known for landing an interview and getting an offer for every position she's applied for. Her passion for career development began back in college when her resume stood out among thousands of applicants landing her an interview to intern for "The Late Show With David Letterman". Bombing the interview ignited her pursuit to help others achieve their career success. Sally coach's job seekers and career changers of all levels, developing a competitive personal brand that resonates with their target audience through various communication platforms; social media profiles, resumes, job applications, job interviews. From college students to C-level executives, Coach Sally provides expertise in communicating a unique value proposition so that even passive career success seekers can stand out, land the job and get promoted.

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