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Finding the Right Company Culture for You
Posted By: Daniel Moss on September 06, 2019

By Tricia Sitemere, Contributor

I remember my 1st job right out of college. It was at an experiential marketing firm in Dallas, TX and a friend of mine told me about the position. To be honest, I didnít know much about the company besides they did event marketing and would throw one hell of a holiday party. My friend had worked there for a few months part time, so I talked to her to get her insights and thankfully she was able to put in a good word for me. When I went in for my interview, the people seemed nice enough, I liked the atmosphere and the office had abstract and beautiful art pieces on the wall. It felt like it could be a fit and I was so excited to be entering the world of work as a new grad. Not to mention it was quite a raise from my on-campus job in advertising sales at the school newspaper.

Coming out of undergrad, my job search wasnít the most extensive. I had had some other interviews for positions that I found on job boards and LinkedIn but after learning more about them, I wasnít excited about the roles. I had also decided that while my internship experiences were great, I didnít want to work at either full time. So that was it. About a week after my interview, I got the call that they wanted me to join the team and I happily accepted. In contrast to how much research is done today about a company prior to applying and interviewing, I didnít really do much (and in hindsight I often think ďTricia what were you doing!!). I started my new job and worked there for about 2 years until I was laid off due to the roles moving to another market. When all was said and done, I was EXTREMEMELY lucky. The team was fun and caring, and we worked hard together. I wasnít super focused on personal development at the time, but my managers pushed and challenged me and unbeknownst to me, the growth happened. I learned so much and developed strong friendships there; many I keep in touch with today. And when I thought I had gotten my stuff together and was pursuing secondary education, my 1st manager wrote my recommendation letter for graduate school. All those things, the aspects that made working there special, that made up my experience at that job was company culture. TODAY itís a buzzword. Today, you wonít go through an interview process at almost any company without the word coming up. Today it is a part of how you visualize yourself working there. Having spent nearly a decade in HR, I canít tell you how many
conversations I have had around culture in the workplace. Companies are creating it; candidates are researching it and employees are bringing it to life. I have been so fortunate to work for some companies with amazing cultures. But how does one know what to look for? And how do you know if itís the right company culture for YOU?

It sounds like a simple enough question, right? But the truth is that it will be different for everyone. Looking for and accepting a job is such a personal decision so really giving some thought to whatís important to you is going to be your 1st step in discerning what type of company culture is a fit for you. With so many different companies out there and how creative some have gotten in how they have created their workspaces, there is a lot to consider. Iíll give you some questions to start with:

- Is the company privately held vs publicly traded?
- Is it a laid-back environment vs more formal?
- What does the company value and believe in?
- What do the future career growth opportunities look like?
- What is the philosophy around diversity and its importance to the organization?
- Are there employee resource groups?
- What makes the company unique?
- And lastly, what do YOU bring to the table that can contribute to the culture?

In addition to all the questions to consider, there are tons of online resources that will give some insight into the organization. Of course, LinkedIn is an easy place to start. Check out if the company posts articles or photos of day to day activities. See if you recognize any trends in the types of material that is shared as well as who is sharing. Does it seem authentic or is it marketing? Glassdoor will share insights directly from those that work at the company as well as those who have gone through the interview process. You could also take to Social Media and research the company using hashtags. This will usually show a more organic and unfiltered story since it is coming straight from the voices of the employees and not the marketing/communication teams.

There is lots of information out there, so try not to get overwhelmed. As you are doing your research and taking in this information, tie it back to the things you said were key for you. Is being active in the community important to you? Make note of how service plays a part in organization, if at all. Considering going back to school or getting additional certificates or training? Find out how the company supports the growth and personal development of their employees.

While the opportunity to start or continue your career lies with the company the most important thing to consider is you.

It all starts with you.

~Tricia Sitemere is the owner of the professional development firm CTRL Alt Delete and can be reached at TS@CADelete.com. To learn more, visit her website CADelete.com or connect with her on social media at CADeleteReboot on Facebook and Instagram.
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