There are many things to consider when you are considering a prospective employer. Do your skills line up with the job description? What is the pay? Would I even like the job? How much vacation would I get? If you are considering your prospective employer from multiple angles, then don’t neglect to consider how well you will fit into the company’s culture. You will be spending a lot of time at work and it is important to know if you will enjoy your new environment!
If you have an interview coming up, then take advantage of this opportunity to get a sense of the employer’s culture. Pay attention to your surroundings and how others act around you (and each other).
Here are a few other things to consider:
Take the time to say hello to your prospective co-workers. First impressions are incredibly important and they will appreciate it if you introduce yourself. Take note of how those people respond to your introduction. Were they friendly or did you feel like a distraction? How people respond to visitors provides a good indication of whether the company is looking to build a team or simply get a body in the door.
As you are walking through the office, pay attention to the noise level. Notice whether people are talking to their coworkers or are simply intent on their screens. If they are conferring at a desk, in the hallway, or in a conference room, observe their body language and energy levels. Are people engaged in their conversations and relaxed in their interactions?
Take an opportunity to check out what is going on in the break room. Are people formal and quiet? This could hint at a culture where relationships aren’t very important or workers may feel they don’t have much time to spend away from their desks.
Take notice of the cubicles. If they have bare walls and desks empty of family pictures, then that’s a sign people come to this office because they have to and not necessarily because they like what they do. When people take time to personalize their workspace, it means they’re vested in being there.
You can tell a lot about a company’s culture by noticing how people interact with their coworkers. Every time you’re introduced to someone, take note of whether they’re formal/informal or relaxed/tense. Easy conversation is a good sign that people work well together.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the workplace and culture to help you get a sense of what it is like to work there day-to-day. Even if the job seems like a perfect fit, it is tough to perform in an environment that doesn’t match your personality.