By Benjamin Temin
As job seekers, we are constantly evaluating ourselves. Does my resume showcase the responsibilities I held and the impact I had? Does my cover letter deliver intrigue while accurately portraying my professional personality? In a nutshell, do I have what they want?
But there is something else we must remember during this journey. As much as the companies we pursue are evaluating us, we must in turn evaluate them. Part of this reverse evaluation is identifying the company’s culture and asking ourselves – is this company a good fit for me?
So, what is a company’s culture, why does it matter, and how do I, as a job seeker, evaluate it?
By definition, “organizational culture” refers to a set of shared assumptions (values and norms) that guide the behavior of both the individuals employed and the company itself. These patterns may include things like mission, vision, systems, language, and working environment.
Why do these patterns matter?
For employees, a company’s culture influences the way people interact, and the day-to-day experience.
For the company itself, the culture it creates and promotes speaks to its bottom line and will attract a workforce that will determine how goals are met, retention vs. turnover, and openness to creativity, collaboration, and innovation.
Now it’s time to do some digging.
If you are interested in a certain company, identify someone in your network who works there or can introduce you to someone who does; visit the website, paying special attention to the mission/value statement, current initiatives, partnerships, and how they use funds; read reviews online, remembering that they tend to skew negative due to the likelihood they are left by disgruntled former employees.
When you have gathered information from various sources about a particular company’s culture, you can then start to evaluate.
Think about it like this:
- Does the stated value or mission statement resonate with me?
- Do the people working there seem satisfied, supported, and engaged?
- Will my talents and contributions be valued?
The truth is, until you’re hired and settled in, you won’t be able to really know the company’s culture, but it is to your benefit to seek out the information so you can evaluate it and find a company that fits you!
Benjamin Temin is a Coordinator for Economic Sufficiency at Jewish Community Services
Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services can help you go farther and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. For more information, call 410-466-9200 or visit ignitecareercenter.com.