While the 'culture fit' topic in job search is important, many job seekers avoid it because of angst to simply find a job – ANY job! So, how can the average job seeker in today's tougher-than-nails economy balance 'fit' with their desire and need to quickly land a job? The answer: Dive deeply into research. Google the company excessively, drilling down through layers of intellectual capital available on your target company. In addition to using Google:
1. Visit Glassdoor. Search your target by ‘company name,’ and then delve into the section called, 'Working at ABC Company.' Check out company reviews, salaries and interview reviews and questions. For example:
Citrix Systems has 448 company reviews (as of 7/19/13), and topics covered in those reviews include culture & values, work-Life balance, senior management, career opportunities and compensation & benefits, among other workplace topics. The overall 'score' for the company is 3.7 (satisfied) out of 5.0. Take a few moments to read the specific reviews and gather intellectual capital on their overall culture dynamics.
2. Check out LinkedIn. Perform an Advanced People Search for folks in the company you are targeting. Inspect their profiles, for tone, content, inferences about passion, culture and work-life. Subtle clues will catch your eye. Click on the company link, type in the company name and then click on Insights. You will find 'Employees With New Titles,' and 'Former Employees You May Know.' Choose a profile and open it. For example, if a profile shows a long tenure and/or a record of employee promotions within your target company, then it may reinforce your confidence in pursuing that organization.
Personally reach out to a LinkedIn contact currently affiliated with, or who previously worked for the company. Request a focused, 5-minute conversation to inquire about culture. Or, simply request a brief email reply with insights on culture. (Remember, be specific and brief about the nature of your inquiry to improve the odds that the person you are soliciting will respond.)
Review the home page of the company for 'Recent Updates.' Look for articles the company has posted that discuss initiatives performed by the company as a whole or by individual front-line, management or senior executive folks that clue you into their culture, work/life balance and career opportunities.
3. Navigate Facebook. The vitality of Facebook and the growing number of companies and companies' employees with business pages and individual accounts is growing in leaps and bounds. The often more-casual tone of Facebook's conversation, the lively chatter and the personalities behind organizations speak volumes about a company's culture.
4. Visit bizjournals.com. Select a local Business Journal (listed by city; e.g., Dallas, Kansas City, San Francisco, etc.). If you do not yet have your sights set on a particular company, then simply start scrolling around to get a read on various companies' news.
Or, if you are preparing to court or interview with a particular entity, then search for news on that specific organization. You may uncover a nugget, such as information on a proposed merger or a shakeup in the executive suite, or perhaps reports on first quarter gains or losses, all which likely will have a significant impact on corporate culture.
For a particular read on culture, you can type in the word 'culture,' plus name of the company and see what comes up. Whatever is revealed, make note and contemplate the data before moving ahead in the job search process. At the very least, you will want to address your findings with the hiring decision-maker before accepting a job offer.
These top four ideas on how to research company culture will help empower your search. While you may not find the perfect fit job, taking these steps will help you make more informed decisions. Often, when a job search gains traction, you find yourself with multiple opportunities emerging all at once. With these research tips in hand, you can boost your confidence and ease the duress in making the best decision possible.