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Not Sure About a Company’s Culture? Trust Your Gut

You’re familiar with the feeling: “Why didn’t I trust my gut?”

Whether it’s in relationships, business opportunities or deciding what to eat for dinner, everybody’s suffered through a bad experience that, in retrospect, had some warning signs.

Accepting a job where the culture feels “off” can definitely become one of those experiences. Being stuck in a job you end up disliking can take a toll on your happiness.

To help keep you from walking down that road, here are some tips on how to connect with your natural intuition of a company’s culture before taking a new job.

Get in touch with your own wants and needs
Remember: This is your gut you’re listening to, and it’s a part of who you are. Make sure you take the time to consider what kind of environment you thrive in. Think about the culture of previous companies you have worked for, and what you have enjoyed the most.

While some professionals might enjoy a very social culture, maybe a more subdued work environment would better suit you.

Before you start looking for warning signs about a company’s culture, you should get in touch with what you actually want or need out of your workplace. Try writing down a checklist.

Research and ask
Do your homework to learn about a company’s mission before going in for an interview. Use the opportunity to gauge their culture as well. As you scan websites, marketing materials and social accounts, keep track of the tone of their communications along with the information they contain. A Carleton University study suggests that people form opinions about a website (and the company behind it) within 1/20th of a second of first seeing it. And more often than not, our first impressions are right.

Gather as much information as you can about the culture and environment from any source you have access to. You can easily find information on LinkedIn from both the company page, as well as the profiles of current and previous employees.

Don’t forget: job interviews are a two-way street. During your interview, ask questions related to the company’s culture that can help complete the picture. Asking the interviewer about their management style, and the reason they enjoy working for the company will help shed light on the environment you might be working in.

Asking questions like these serve a dual purpose — you’ll appear informed, and you’ll get info you need to guide your decision. But be careful not to ask a question that could have been easily answered by looking at the company’s website or mission statement.

Judge based on what you see, hear, and feel
Companies can’t really tell you how their culture would affect you specifically. So you have to pay attention to what you see, hear and feel about a company based on the information available, no matter how limited. That’s what your “gut” is doing when it tells you something.

Company culture is the personality of an organisation. And that personality can vary as much as the individual personalities that work there. Before agreeing to a match, check in with your gut, make sure you take what you know about a company’s culture into account.

What has your gut been telling you? Did you listen?
If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity or contact an Aerotek recruiter today.