Career Advice

Seven Company Culture Questions You Must Ask Before Accepting A Job Offer

Very excited to be doing my first post for Glassdoor, and thrilled to be invited to participate in the community. One of the reasons I was eager to join has to do with fit – both personality fit with the community here, and culture fit with the organization’s goals. So it seems natural to dive first into the notion of ‘fit’ from the perspective of a job seeker – more specifically, culture fit.

It’s tough to add tasks when you’re in the middle of a job search, but prioritize workplace culture fit. When you’re going through the interview process, a recruiter or hiring manager has three possible contexts for evaluating you – resume, personality and ‘fit’. Each is important in landing – and keeping – a job that translates to your career. Turn the notion of culture fit to your advantage by conducting a ‘culture audit’ of every prospective employer you speak with. It’s a very empowering exercise if done correctly.

Culture is one very important way in which employees describe where they work. It underlies their understanding of the employer’s business and helps employees orient themselves in the organization. I see plenty of company leaders who don’t think that building a differentiated company culture will lead to success and eventual talent retention. Nevertheless, from the recruiter’s side of the desk, a company’s culture attracts talent, and talent is what separates winning companies from also-rans.

A ‘culture audit’ will help you assess the culture that exists in a prospective employer’s company. A culture audit not only helps companies learn what keeps employees at the company, it can help job seekers decide where to move next.

Do a ‘culture audit’ on your prospect company – much can be done here at Glassdoor – using the following questions:

  • Are employees at company X compensated fairly?  Is salary on par with competitive companies?
  • Are benefits comparable to those of a company’s competitors?
  • Does the company have programs in place that demonstrate they value your work? This can range from awards to bonuses, and even be as basic as regular performance appraisals.
  • Does the company invest in training to ensure employee success?
  • Does management have an open door policy? Is there a good stream of employee communications in the company?
  • Are employees challenged? Do your homework, look on LinkedIn, and make connections with people you know. Ask.
  • Do your values match those of the company?  This one can be answered – in small part – by reviewing a mission statement, but talking with several tiers of employees is the very best guide. Never rely solely on a mission statement for your workplace culture audit. It’s key to foster open communication with various members of the team. Strive for several different viewpoints in the culture equation.

Not surprisingly, a culture audit asks questions you may have heard during your last exit interview. Don’t wait until you’re burned out or frustrated with your job – ask these questions first, before you invest time, energy and creativity in becoming a great employee.

Keep in mind that culture audits can reveal both the good and bad – points of friction as well as opportunities for synergy. The audit should be a net-positive experience – after all you’re learning about the company’s culture and learning about yourself in the process. Self-assessment is a very important component to finding a satisfying career path.

Culture is just one aspect of ‘fit’ with an employer. Use a culture audit on your next career prospect, and please tell us how it worked. Good luck.