Get a Feel for the Company Culture – BEFORE the Interview!

The culture of the company can make a wonderful job even more enjoyable or make a wonderful job a miserable experience. Do your research before the interview so that you have an idea of the company culture and if it is the right fit for you.

  • Web Search: Of course, read the company website first. The website will give you an overview of the company’s mission and core values.
  • Press Releases: Now that you’ve read the company’s website, you have a better feel for what the company tells the world about their values. If the company website did not include a section on recent press releases, do an internet search for the company’s press releases.

Press releases contain information the company considers to be important and it is generally favorable. Sometimes a press release must address a negative for the company. I recommend going back 2 or 3 years and skimming the information.

  • Media Articles: Next, search the internet for news articles about the company. Identify the source as reputable and unbiased, if possible.

Read carefully and learn to distinguish between good and bad reporting. Even in bad reporting, you may find a nugget of truth; just don’t accept every word as the gospel truth.

  • Blogs: Blogs may be really good instruments to find out about company culture. Again, I caution you not to accept as unbiased truth anything that is written anonymously.
  • Forums: There are many internet forums where current and former employees make comments about companies. I suggest using caution as you read these comments. Extremely negative or positive comments do not show balance.

Both the extremely negative and over-the-top positive comments should probably be discounted as outliers.

  • LinkedIn Connections: Search for current employees of the company in LinkedIn and send personal invitations so they are more likely to connect. Once you have made a connection, approach them in a professional manner and ask questions that are unbiased and allow your contact to provide information as they see fit.

In all of these suggestions, read with a discerning eye to gain knowledge of a company’s culture. Draw your own conclusions based on everything you read and your interactions with managers and potential colleagues during the interview process.

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