Apart from your formal education and work experience the single most important factor in determining if you will get the job is your cultural fit within the company and the work team. In fact, many HR managers believe cultural fit is more important than your skills and qualifications. After all you can teach a person any work skills they may be missing but you can’t really teach them to get along well with their team if they don’t have things in common and a similar communication style. That’s why soft skills and emotional intelligence are critical in determining cultural fit. If you have a chance read out posts:
- 7 Soft Skills you Need to Get Hired
- Emotional intelligence – The single most Important leadership Skill
You need to know what the company culture is like before you go into the first job interview. This will not only tell you if it is a company you would actually like to work for but it also gives you many clues as to how you should answer the interview questions to show you are a perfect cultural fit. But how do you work out what the company culture is like before you even set foot in their offices?
The starting point is always the recruiter or HR person who is your point of contact. Make sure you ask them about the following:
- Dress code – Ask if the company prefers jeans or business suits. Do they have a casual Friday or business casual all week.
- Team Building – Ask if they run a lot of team building activities, charity days, volunteer work or just casual team catch ups. Are there after hours of weekend retreats or organised events staff are expected to attend.
- Team Dynamic – How many levels of management are in place? is the a rigid or casual hierarchy? Is it a relaxed team or a more corporate professional environment?
Do not be embarrassed to ask these questions. The recruiter should know the answer and it makes you look seriously interested in the role. In addition to talking to the recruiter you should also work though all the sneaky ideas below.
1. Check Review Sites
Visit website like Glassdoor.com and see if people have written reviews about the company. Remember they reflect each persons individual experience so read cautiously but if you see a trend of bad reviews you should be a bit nervous. See what you can learn about the culture, work style and people.
2. Company’s Online Assets
Visit the company’s website, blog, social assets, YouTube Chanel and LinkedIn page. See what they have to say about their company culture but also look at the sorts of comments people make about the company and how they handle it. Is their tone casual or formal etc..
3. Reach Out to Your Network
Reach out to all the people you know and ask if anyone knows anything about the company or knows someone who has worked there. Look closely at the company’s LinkedIn page and see what you can learn.
4. Google Search
In addition to reviewing the company’s website and social assets just enter their name and do a straight Google search. Read all media articles about them and see what is said about the way the look after their people and their company culture.
5. Stalk Them
This is perhaps the best way to understand the dress code at least. Find out where their offices are and sit outside for a while observing who goes in and out and what they look like. Obviously this is harder in hi rise buildings but you can always pretend you got out on the wrong floor of the elevator and have a quick look around.
It is well worth your time to investigate the company culture before the job interview as part of your company research. If you find the company culture does not suit you, then at least you won’t waste time preparing for an interview with a company you don’t want to work for. If on the other hand you like what you see then you are in a much better position to impress them if they invite you in for an interview.