How to Determine If a Company’s Culture Is The Right Fit For You

Have you ever been asked in a job interview, “What type of management style works best for you?” or “What’s your ideal work environment?” Typically, the hiring manager is learning more about you to determine if you would be a great fit for the company’s culture. It’s only fair that you ask similar questions to find out if it is a good fit for you, too.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Small Business Encyclopedia, company culture is “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time”.

Whether written as a mission statement, verbally spoken or merely understood by inference or experience, corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company’s owners and employees think, feel and act. Cultures differ based on the uniqueness of each office, so here are few simple tips to help determine if your potential new job might be a good culture fit for you:

1. Research the company.

From social media outlets to company websites and job postings, learning more about the organization prior to applying for (or accepting) the role can help you determine if you are making the right career move in any profession.

As an IT professional, you can start by using software, data and web-based tools to learn more about a company’s dynamic. Another great resource is LinkedIn, which you can use to identify people already working at the target company whom you know (or who are connected to those you know).

You can also get to know more about a company’s culture by simply calling to inquire about the position (if the job posting is open to phone calls). Is there a sense of urgency from the person who helped you? If so, that could lend insights into the environment being fast-paced and responsive. Is that a good culture fit for you?

2. Ask questions about the culture.

Whether you are applying for your first IT position or you are an experienced IT professional, you usually have expectations of what type of environment would help you succeed. Once you have landed an interview, these expectations can be used as your guide to pose questions to learn more about your potential employer.

Stephen Van Vreede, personal brand strategist and job search agent for IT, Technical and STEM careers with ITTechExec, says:

“Too many candidates allow the company to be the one driving the interview process. In reality, the candidate should be interviewing the company as well. After all, the whole point is that you are entering into a mutually beneficial relationship.” (via CIO Magazine).

Ask questions that will help you make a decision not only based on your career goals, but your expectations for a company culture as well.

3. Be clear on what makes you happy.

Identifying what makes you happy can sometimes coincide with what motivates you. Are you an extrovert who needs social time at your workplace? Find out if the organization hosts company events or team gatherings from time to time. Or maybe you are interested in becoming a CIO. If so, ask questions about opportunities for growth.

Understanding your ‘happy place’ in any organization will help you make a decision that could potentially benefit both you and the company. Additionally, when employees are happy, they see problems as opportunities, they express gratitude, they are honest, and the focus more effectively on embracing the culture over time (via Inc. Magazine).

When searching for the right position, consider the company’s culture. In reality, how you like to work is just as important as what you can bring to the company. Before accepting a position only because it’s in your industry, make sure you’ve done your research, you’ve asked the right questions and you understand what makes you a happy employee. Besides, you spend most of your day at work, so why not make sure it’s time well spent?