Company culture is a hot topic in today’s job marketplace. While many job seekers receive advice on how to assess culture once you’ve identified a company or you’re already in the interview process, what if you want to launch your job search by seeking companies with a great culture? What if company culture is your #1 priority – over exact job title, industry, and other criteria?
See a few tips below on getting started:
Determine what is important to you about a company and your experience working for that company
Do you prefer a large, well-established company? A company that places emphasis on social responsibility? A casual work environment? Flexible work arrangements? Conduct a brainstorm on your ideal company culture, and allow yourself to adjust your criteria as you learn about new initiatives in company culture during your research.
Define your parameters
There are probably certain “must haves” that you’ve already identified for your job search. Make note of these items to help you target your search even further. Consider options such as:
• Company location or remote work options
• Industry preferences
• Possible job functions relating to your talents
Cover your bases with internet research
Internet research can only take you so far, though it certainly has a place in your search for companies and your assessment of their workplace culture. Consider internet tools such as:
• “Best Places To Work” lists
• Google search for company culture (general and specific criteria)
• Social media “buzz”
• Business journals and other business or industry-related publications
Go to your network
At the end of the day, no other effort can compete with the strategy of consulting and growing your network in your search for target companies. There are many companies with a fabulous culture that are not making the headlines, and even if they are, talking with a company-insider will give you the real scoop. Evaluate your connections on social media, people who seem well-connected or content in their work, consult mentors, friends of friends, acquaintances from volunteer activities, book clubs, church, and other groups, attend networking events, and ask these people for their insight on companies they would recommend. You can simply ask a simple question via email, set-up a 15-minute phone conversation, or schedule a longer informational interview over coffee. You want to connect and learn.
Develop an initial target company list
Your ultimate goal for this phase of your search is to begin to develop a “living and breathing” target company list. This list will grow and shrink as you conduct your research, and after further assessment, some companies will not make the cut. The companies that make your initial list are organizations that pique your interest in some way and deserve additional exploration. It typically takes consistent effort and endurance to build and maintain momentum for this list.
Take a deeper dive
Once you have a list up and running, you want to specifically research each company. Keep in mind that what a company professes online may not accurately represent what it is like to work at that company. In addition, we all know that even if a company has an overall healthy culture, if your immediate manager is a bully, or not in line with the company values in a critical way, you can still be miserable working there.
A person’s experience at any given company can be subjective, and it is certainly based on individual perspective. Since this phase of your research may seem a little more abstract, continue to take a multi-faceted approach in talking with people in specific companies and even specific departments, and look for themes and patterns in your findings. As always, reference your target company list, and determine which companies warrant further research.
You do not need to feel limited in your job search when your priority is company culture. Design your search based on the path you desire to create!
What is important to you regarding company culture?