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Unlocking the right company culture for your next job starts with research. In this episode, we dive into how to research company culture before you apply or accept a job offer. Understanding a company’s culture is crucial because it affects your overall experience and satisfaction at work. We explore three strategic ways to discover a company’s culture.
First, follow and get to know people who work at your desired companies through LinkedIn. By doing so, you’ll have a glimpse into their day-to-day activities, company initiatives, and values. Second, explore if the company or team has a podcast, blog, or social media presence. These platforms offer insights into their culture and give you a better understanding of their work, team dynamics, and alignment with your values. Lastly, turn to websites like Glassdoor and Fishbowl for employee reviews, but remember to take them with a grain of salt. Consider the range of experiences shared and don’t hesitate to ask questions during the interview process to clarify any concerns.
By utilizing these research methods, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions about the company culture before you apply or accept a job offer. Don’t miss this episode on how to unlock the secrets of company culture.
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Discussion Questions About The Episode
- How does considering company culture impact your overall job satisfaction and fulfillment?
- What are some potential advantages and disadvantages of following and getting to know people who work at a company you are interested in?
- In what ways can social media platforms such as podcasts, blogs, and Twitter provide insights into a company's culture and values?
- How can online review websites like Glassdoor and Fishbowl be helpful and/or misleading when researching company culture?
- What steps can you take during the job application process to address any concerns or questions you have about a company's culture before committing your time and energy to the interview process?
Episode Notes & Links
This episode is part of a 5 part series about the job search, check out the other episodes in the series:
- 🔎 Ep 21: The # 1 thing to do before you apply for a job
- 👥 Ep 22: Why you should prioritize people over platforms in your job search
- 🎲 Ep 23: Why you should NOT play the numbers game in your job search
- 🕵🏻♀️ Ep 24: How to research a company before you apply
- 😞 Ep 25: How to deal with rejection in your job search
Sarah Doody [00:00:00]: Hey there. I’m Sarah Doody, host of the Career Strategy Podcast. Many professionals are seeking more impact, flexibility, growth, and let’s face it, getting paid what they’re worth. But how do you unlock this in your career? It starts with strategy. I’m taking you behind the scenes of what’s working for my career coaching clients. You’ll hear strategies and actionable, able, yet sometimes against the grain, advice for how you can be the CEO of your career and stop dreading Mondays. Ready to level up your career? Let’s get after it. Welcome back, everyone.
Sarah Doody [00:00:39]: We are in the middle of a series about the job search here on the Career Strategy Podcast. Today’s episode will be all about how to research company culture before you apply or before you accept a job. And the previous episodes that we’ve covered, episode 21 was about the number one thing you need due before you apply for a job. In 22, we covered why you need to prioritize people over platforms in your job search. Episode 23 was about why you should not play the numbers game in your job search. So today, let’s get right into how you can research company culture before you ever apply to a job. So before you ever apply to a job or accept a job offer. It’s really important to consider the company culture, and that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, which is why it is so important to develop what we already talked about in episode 21, Your career value criteria.
Sarah Doody [00:01:48]: This helps you create a filter list of things that would be nice to haves or deal breakers when it comes to a potential job opportunity or a company you want to apply to, so make sure you go and listen to that episode. Culture is such an important thing to consider for a job because we spend so many hours of our week in of our lives at our job. And it’s not just about being able to do the things on the job description and have the skills and the experience and the training to do the function of the job. A lot of times, our fulfillment doesn’t just come from or output, but it also comes from our experience, and the culture is a big part of the experience. Now Culture can mean the size of the company, can mean the size of the team, could be the speed at which The team and company operate. It could mean the values of the company, like how they live out what they say they believe, whether it’s regarding work life balance, causes, social justice, etcetera. Those are many examples of what I mean when I talk about company culture. So How do you research and figure out a company’s culture though? There’s really 3 kinda strategic ways that you can approach this.
Sarah Doody [00:03:20]: Now the first way you can research company culture would be to follow and get to know people who work at those companies. So if you’ve not applied to companies yet, but you kind of have a shortlist in your mind of companies that you hope to apply to someday. You should start following those people now. So for example, go to LinkedIn and follow them. This will help increase the chances that you will see their posts in your feed, and there’s a possibility that they will post about things they’re working on or cool things their company is doing, activities Their company has engaged in in regards to the company’s values and beliefs or impact that that company wants to have. It’s a great way to get to know the culture through the lens of people that work there. So make sure You go and follow the people who work there and also follow the company pages on LinkedIn. Again, that’ll increase the chances that you see their posts, and it might help alert you to different initiatives they are engaging with, or updates they’ve made to policies regarding paid time off or family leave or child benefits, who knows what.
Sarah Doody [00:04:43]: But if you don’t follow them, you won’t know. Alright. The second thing you could do to research Company’s culture is go find out if the company has a podcast, a blog, a YouTube channel, a Twitter. This might be as specific as the individual team that you’re interested in joining. I’ve seen many companies’ teams such as the design team, the development team, the sales team, the marketing team have different presences on social media or have their own blogs, etcetera. And this is their way to educate potential colleagues or applicants about what those teams do. In the world of marketing, this is a way to try and tracked the right type of people to that department and that company. And couple years ago, I interviewed someone who was, At the time, the vice president of design at Shopify, and they had just launched a podcast.
Sarah Doody [00:05:49]: And part of the purpose of that podcast was to help educate people about the design team’s culture, what they were working on, etcetera, to try educate people in advance of applying, but also make sure they were attracting the right types of people for their team. So Shopify, in addition to their podcast, they also had a publication. I don’t know if they’re still publishing it, but believe it was called Shopify design on medium.com. Many companies do this though, so try and do some Google searches to see if you can find social media presences for the team or the department or the company, which might give you clues as to what they work on, how they work, how big their teams are, how fast they work, if they do activities that align with the company’s values or mission regarding kind of social causes or environmental causes or whatever is important to you. And the third thing you can do to research company culture before you ever apply is use websites like Glassdoor. Or Fishbowl is another one that I’ve recently become aware of or ZipRecruiter to go through those reviews that people often leave about companies. Now the one thing to consider about reviews is that you have to take them with a little bit of a grain of salt. Right? Similar to reviews for products So you might purchase on ecommerce sites, Amazon.
Sarah Doody [00:07:29]: You wanna make sure that you read the positive reviews and the negative reviews. And the reason is and I’ve done a lot of research in ecommerce to know this, but sometimes the people who leave the negative reviews Can kinda be the loudest. So you don’t just want to read a negative review about a company and assume that, Wow. This person had a negative experience. Therefore, that entire company must be horrible to work at. Right? You can’t jump to conclusions. So as you’re on these websites, just be mindful about looking at the kind of range of experiences that people have had, and don’t be afraid to, in the interview process or before you even apply to a job, reach out and ask the recruiter, HR person, whomever you can get a hold of, if you have quest about the culture that are unclear or that You’ve read reviews on Glassdoor or Fishbowl that are giving you concern. Give them a chance to address that before you ever apply.
Sarah Doody [00:08:37]: It’s far better to address that earlier on in the interview process than later because you don’t wanna waste your time Applying to a job and going to interviews if there are deal breakers that you find out to be true, you know, later on in the interview process. You just don’t wanna have wasted all that time. So Those are the 3 ways that you can research company culture before you apply to a job. Number 1, go follow the people who work there and the company’s page on LinkedIn or other social profiles as well try to build relationships with those people so that if you do have questions, you’re coming in not as a cold email, but really as a lukewarm email because your face and your name are familiar, maybe you’ve commented on their posts, and you have some semblance of a relationship. Right? This second way, see if the company Has a podcast, a blog, social presences where they’re talking about what they’re working on, right, and how they work. And then, of course, number 3, use the websites and apps that are available to you, but make sure you use them with a grain of salt and try and look at the range of reviews and comments, and don’t just latch on to the negative ones or the amazingly positive ones too. Right? So whether you’re looking for a job right now or in the future, at a bare minimum, if you do have companies in mind that you really would dream of applying at. It can’t hurt to go start to follow and take note of what they’re saying about themselves or what other people are saying because it’ll help you learn more about them faster so you can either be confident in your decision to apply or realize, you know, that company that I thought was a fit maybe isn’t actually of fit.
Sarah Doody [00:10:31]: Alright. I hope this helps you in your job search. Don’t forget, we have now 3 other episodes in this series, and next week will We are last 1, so make sure you go listen to those or tell a friend who’s in the middle of their job search. Thanks for listening to the Career Strategy Podcast. Make sure to follow me, Sarah Doody, on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn. If anything in today’s episode with you, I’d love to hear about it. Tag me on social media or send me a DM. And lastly, if you found this episode helpful, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it with a friend or give us a quick rating on Spotify or review on Apple Podcasts.