Company culture can make or break your job experience—but it’s pretty hard to get an accurate feel for a company’s values and vibe without, well, working there. Although most places have a section on their sites devoted to explaining culture, they tend to be filled with phrases like “dedicated to customer satisfaction” and “we encourage our employees to grow.” That tells us a whole lot of nothing.
To discover what a company is really like (and whether you’d be a good fit!) before you accept the job, check out these nine techniques for researching culture.
During the interview, don’t ask, “What’s it like working here?” Ask, “What would a newspaper article about your company’s culture have to include?” (TheLadders)
Go through the company’s tweets, videos, Facebook posts, and the like to get an idea of what’s important to the team. (Careerealism)
Show up early to the interview and watch how employees interact with each other. (QuintCareers)
When talking to employees about the culture, note their response time. Generally, the quicker the better! (Fortune)
However, don’t just consult employees. You’ll also want to speak with customers, suppliers, partners, and so forth. (Harvard Business Review)
Be on the look-out for the “warning signs” of a problematic culture—like making a huge deal out of the ping-pong table. (Forbes)
Learn how to read between the lines. For example, promotions that rest on “something opening up” means you’ll probably have to wait for someone to move up or out. (Lifehacker)
Take a look at a beta survey that uses “psychometric frameworks” to show you workplaces in which you’d thrive. (Co.Exist)
Of course, don’t forget to browse company profiles on The Muse to get an inside peek into what it’s really like to work at some amazing companies! (The Muse)