Trying to decide what a company’s culture is like before you accept a job offer can be very difficult, but it’s a very important question you need to get right. Over the years, I’ve seen many candidates take a wrong turn in their career and join a company they’ve regretted. One slip on a CV is not a problem, however, if you have multiple mistakes on your CV, you can have a notable problem.
Four Jobs in Four Years
Currently, I’m mentoring a student that has worked for four different companies in the last four years and is now looking for a new role. This is a genuine problem for the candidate as their CV shows a lack of commitment towards a company.
Unfortunately, companies do not want to invest their time into candidates that often change companies. They know, if they do, this time and money will be wasted as the candidate will have moved on to another company. From a candidate perspective, this can make for a very difficult job search.
Whatever the reasons for you to have four jobs in four years, it’s very complicated to explain to an employer. It would be far easier to make sure you join the right company, with a culture that suits you.
While it’s not entirely fool proof, there are a few ways that you can decide on whether the company you’re going to join has the right culture for you. If an employer wants you to join their company, typically they will only tell you what you want to hear – the good parts.
All too often candidates completely forget to look for any problem-areas and only see that higher salary or more prestigious job title. I fully appreciate that when you don’t have a job, you need to take what you can get, but it’s essential not to settle for a company with a lousy culture or a company culture that is not right for you.
How to Decide
Below I have tried to give you some questions to ask yourself that will point you in the right direction. It’s important to remember; there is no right/wrong answer as everyone is different. What might be a significant problem for one candidate could be no problem for another.
- Review Sites – Have a look at company review websites such as Glassdoor, Vault or Careerbliss for reviews from people who have worked in the past or are currently working at the company.
- Current Employees – Try to meet with as many people as possible who are working at the company – What are they like? Are they like you or completely different?
- The Office – Make sure you look around the office? If you’re looking for a fun environment, there should be people laughing and smiling in the office. If everyone is looking bored and dull, then you need to decide on whether you can work in this environment?
- Your Manager – Do you get on well with your manager? Remember, you’re going to be working closely with your manager for the next few years. If you cannot work with them, maybe this is the wrong company for you. Remember, if your manager has no interest in getting to know you, I would look at this as a bad sign.
- Behind-the-Scenes Research – Before I accepted the position, I would be reaching out to my network to find out what life is really like on a day-to-day basis. Maybe within your network, you know someone who has worked at the company and can be a great source of advice on what life is really like.
- Work-Life-Balance – What hours are you expected to work? moreover, does that fit into your strategy? Many companies, especially the start-ups, expect employees to work long hours.
- The Long Haul – In an ideal world, you want to be with the same company for years to come, however if you cannot get promoted, and there is no training on offer, probably this is not the company for you.
Don’t be scared to ask the hiring manager what the company culture is really like during your interview. As long as you’re happy with the answers, there will not be a problem.