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

As a Certified Professional Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer and Employment Trends Analyst, Sally Calloway has discovered new rules, and little-known, proven strategies that every job seeker needs to know. Throughout her 15-year span of career development experience, Sally has collaborated and consulted with human resources professionals and recruiters across the globe, and with renowned organizations including Disney and MGM International. In her former role, Calloway served as the College director of career services for eight years. She taught career success classes and provided career services to thousands of students and graduates helping them land internships and employment despite the downturn of the employment economy. Currently as an author, speaker career coach, and expert resume writer she coaches and mentors job seekers of all levels from recent college graduates to C-level executives, and former military personnel. Coach Sally has transformed thousands of resumes into job-winning machines that recruiters rave about through her powerful “value-stacking” resume building technique. Her revolutionary job interview techniques help candidates interview with ease and confidence, land offers on the spot, and more money. Sally Calloway has a passion for helping job seekers effectively illustrate their accomplishments on their resume and communicate their value with confidence in interviews so that they can achieve their career dreams. For a free resume critique, you may email your resume as a Word attachment to coachsally49@gmail.com For speaking inquiries, Sally Calloway may be contacted via email at: coachsally49@gmail.com

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