I’ve helped a lot of job seekers who come to me with the goal of finding their next long-term role. Some came from a toxic work environment or realized they didn’t have a supportive boss and wanted to vet their next opportunity better. While we won’t completely know a company’s true culture until we actually step into the workplace, there are few things you can do to determine if a company is the right fit for you. Keep reading along for my best tips on determining if a company’s culture will be a good fit for you, or check out the video below.
How to Determine if a Company is the Right Fit for You
Is Glassdoor a Reliable Tool for Job Seekers?
When you want to read up on reviews from employees on their experiences, Glassdoor is one of the go-to resources. We can dig up a lot of useful information here, such as whether or not employees approve or disapprove of the CEO, what their experience has been like based on their various titles, and so much more. But I frequently get asked if this tool is actually reliable and worth paying attention to. Let’s break it down together.
Glassdoor is just like any other review site. Take reviews with a grain of salt.
I’ll say that Glassdoor is just like any other review site out there such as Yelp. For instance, let’s say your favorite Italian restaurant, which in your mind is the best restaurant that serves gourmet food, had a one-star review. A low review such as that basically says: don’t ever come here, don’t ever eat here, save your money, run the other way! If you’d never been there before, you might be deterred by that review enough to never try the restaurant even though in reality, it’s your favorite place! In that sense, Glassdoor is very similar – reviews only reflect an individual person’s experience.
Remember that people with negative experiences are more likely to leave a review.
Very few people who are satisfied or content are actually going to write a positive review. The people who leave reviews are generally very disgruntled, upset, or had a really negative experience and are trying to warn people about it. It’s important to consider that these experiences are sometimes just specific to that time, situation, or encounter that only happened to one person.
When using Glassdoor, watch for patterns across reviews.
Glassdoor is a great resource and tool. It’s easily available so it doesn’t hurt to take a look and see if there are any patterns emerging among the reviews. You may take a look and see if there’s just one person who left a review or if there’s any pattern from employees saying the same things. The worst part is that there are actually a lot of companies that encourage their employees and sometimes even incentivize them to write a positive review. With this in mind, try to analyze the reviews and notice any patterns you see to determine whether or not what you’re reading seems like reliable data.
Pay attention to whether or not a review is related to the department you’d actually be working in.
Another thing to consider is making sure that the review you’re reading is related to your department. For instance, you may be seeing negative reviews, but they’re all coming from the customer service department. Likewise, the marketing department or marketing professionals who are leaving reviews seem to be pretty content with their leadership and structure including the perks that they’re getting. Pay attention to the reviews coming from the department that concerns you, and analyze it for any type of pattern that you can identify before jumping to any conclusions.
Now that we’ve covered Glassdoor, let’s move on to some other tips for determining if a company will be a good fit.
Tip #1: Use LinkedIn Content to Gauge Company Culture in Real-time
A useful hack to decipher whether or not a company is really practicing what they preach is to take a look at LinkedIn content. You can get real-time information about an organization by searching them in LinkedIn through the “Content“ tab instead of the default one. This can help you do a little bit of digging about the company or its employees by reading through various posts. You can see how people are acknowledging the company and what their current employees are posting about. You can gather as much information as possible from real people in real-time, who are demonstrating and showcasing what it’s like to work at that particular company. Obviously, this won’t work for smaller organizations if they don’t have a ton of vocal employees. But it’s a really neat way to see who is really praising and acknowledging their organizations and what it is that they’re doing. For a walkthrough of exactly how to do this, be sure to check out the video linked at the top of this post.
Tip #2: Research Company Culture
The other thing you can do is consult Google and do some digging. Look up press releases, news features, articles, and anything you can find! A simple Google search of the company name should give you plenty to read about and pore over. You might also consider crowdsourcing through social media such as Facebook groups, Reddit threads, or other existing forums.
For instance, I know eBay has a Life at eBay career account on Instagram, where they show what’s happening behind the scenes in the organization. They feature tasks that employees are working on, what their projects are, and so forth. It’s just a cool way of extending their company culture to their stakeholders beyond the Glassdoor reviews.
Tip #3: Interview the Company as much as the Company Interviews You
I really encourage every job seeker to interview the company as much as they are interviewing you during the job interview process. You can absolutely do this during your interview when you’re asked to bring forth any questions. For instance, if you value your community, you may ask the interviewer about the most recent project they worked on that really impacted a community in a positive way. It is important that you understand what your values are and you have the questions that align yourself to those values so that you can vet them in this process.
Tip #4: Gain Firsthand Information through Informational Interviews
Nothing beats informational interviews and actually directly speaking with past and current employees. Or, if you can’t speak with any employees of the exact companies you’re applying for, you can always start talking with others who are employed at companies similar to those you’re targeting. You can share what’s important to you and the types of companies that you want to work for. Start getting feedback, recommendations, or insights on certain company practices. You may even ask the question, “Have you considered working for this company?“.
Tip #5: Pay Attention to the Interview Process
At the end of the day, the whole interview process is a really great vetting process for you to determine whether or not this is a long-term fit. You can tell a lot by how the company is communicating with you and treating you through the interview process. If you notice the recruiter and the hiring manager keep dropping the ball or they’re not as communicative as you would like, you can make educated guesses about the overall organization. Those seemingly small details are all indicators and signs of whether or not this is an organization or a team that you want to be part of.
I hope you found those tips helpful. Let me know what your favorite values are in a company or what your favorite organization’s culture was like and how you were able to find or vet them!