You did it. You nailed the job search and finally got the offer you have been waiting for. You think that the work is done. But there is one more important step that you need to do before accepting the job offer. You need to research the company to make sure that the company culture fits your personality. Some company's culture will excite you, stimulate you intellectually and socially. And help you grow. And you may find others may be stressful, unsociable, stuffy and old-fashioned.
The consequence of expecting the offer from the company which has the culture that doesn't fit your work style can be bad. You may find yourself very unhappy and not excited about working there. Often, it may force you to quit the job and put you back in the job market, forcing you to start the job search process again. In a situation like this, you may also end up having a bad experience taste and references.
A survey by OfficeTeam (2015 survey of HR managers) found out that Cultural fit matters a lot in the decision making of job and is also considered an important reason for people leaving their company or looking for new jobs. Therefore it is very important to investigate the company's culture before you accept the job.
But how can you find out what it's really like to work somewhere? How do you determine whether the company's culture fit your style? How do you research a company's culture before you work there?
There are lot of ways to find out about the company. You can check their websites, notice people's behavior when you are at the company for the interview, check out the client review or tap into your social media and find out if anyone can give you any information.
Every company will have an about us/culture page where they talk about the culture they offer. Does the company appear to have a genuine interest in the lives of its employees or does the page feel like a rushed afterthought? Read it to find out if it aligns to your personality.
Google's culture - https://www.google.com/about/company/facts/culture/
Interviews are the best way to find out about company's culture, for it gives you first-hand experience of how the people present, interact with each other and the world. It will also give you an idea about the dress code, how formal/informal their interaction is with each other. Target to arrive early at your interview and spend time observing. Check out the office space, do they have office split into individual cubicles or open plan. Is the office organized, spacious etc.
There are websites like Capterra and Trustpilot that offers clients and customers review. If you want to get some employee reviews, then check Glassdoor. Here, you'll see reviews written anonymously. Looks for negative reviews and see how the company has responded to it. That should also give you an idea of how seriously a company takes its culture. Just keep in mind that these reviews are much more likely to have been left by those at the extremes: either they've had a very negative or a very positive experience, so don't just consider them in making a decision. Take into consideration other factors too.
Use linkedIn and ask in your network if anyone know about the culture of the company you are interested in. You will be surprised how much you can find out from your network. You can also search the people who are working at this company and see their background, experience, the extra-circular activities they are participating in. Notice the duration they have been at the company from. If you see more people with short duration than long, then it may be a red-flag (unless they are contractors)
It's acceptable to ask questions from HR/Recruiter/interviewer and clarify all your concerns. Like you, they would be interested in hiring the right candidate who would be happy working at the company. Just be careful not to ask the wrong questions.
By making observations, conducting research, and asking smart, insightful questions, you should be able to determine if the culture offered by the company is what you are looking for and where you will be a good fit. If yes, sign the contract and look forward to working there. If no, then think about it again before you accept the offer.