How and why to choose a job based on company culture

Company culture might be the most important thing to consider when choosing between job opportunities.

Because a good opportunity is one thing. But a company’s shared beliefs and values go a long, long way to making that opportunity one that is a good “fit” for you.

The culture of an organisation usually comes from the top down. It will govern everything from how you interact with your colleagues to customers to how happy you are to go into the office every morning.

All in all, there’s a lot riding on it. Here’s how and why you should choose a job based on company culture:

What should I learn about a company’s culture?

In the manufacturing or engineering recruitment process, there’s no one set standard for what makes a company’s culture “good”. When it comes to culture, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. What matters to you might not matter to someone else and vice versa.

There will be companies out there that it feels like want to support you and that interest you and lead you to success. Others will feel grey and boring or create a stressful office working experience.

That said, there are a few key areas you can try to look into to get a fuzzy idea of what a company’s culture might be like before you start:

  1. An organisation’s purpose
  2. How their people communicate internally and externally
  3. What they’re most proud of
  4. Ethical factors, issues, and drives
  5. The relationships between performance and teamwork

How can I find out a company’s culture?

Unfortunately, there’s also no one specific resource you can consult to get actual details about what a company’s culture is like.

Many organisations boast about their culture. But it’s difficult to tell if they talk the talk as well as walk the walk until you’ve actually worked there a while. Unless, of course, you’re working with an engineering or manufacturing recruitment agency you trust who can tell you about the business in more detail.

Off your own back, here are a few things you can try to learn about a company’s culture:

1) Make the internet your friend

First thing’s first. What does an organisation want to tell you about their vision and values? Check their website. Then move onto a few key online resources:

  1. Glassdoor and other reviews sites – sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, sometimes enlightening, Glassdoor and other sites like it allow anonymous former and current employees to comment on a company’s culture, among other aspects of working there.
  2. See what they say – specifically, in any job descriptions they’ve written themselves. For example, if there are no mentions of flexible working conditions but a lot of talk of deadlines that need to be met it can be indicative of a certain culture. You can also use online tools to check out any inherent (particularly gender) biases in job descriptions.
  3. Check social media – this may just be marketing, but it can also be revealing if they discuss any relevant current cultural topics.

2) Reach out to make actual friends

Or, at least, some online acquaintances or friends of friends who might be able to shed a little light on how a company operates.

People with engineering jobs, for instance, often know other people with engineering jobs. If you can find someone who currently holds a position at your intended level in a company or who left only recently, they will be an incredible source of information about the culture.

As well as asking specific questions about how the office works, consider whether it looks like you would actually get on with this person. Because one of the major factors that governs corporate culture is the people a company hires.

3) Be friendly at interview

By which we mean, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions that might enlighten you about a company’s culture. Don’t ask about culture outright as you’ll probably get some sweeping generalisations in response. Instead, you might try asking questions like:

  • If people are working remotely, how do you keep everyone feeling like they’re part of the team?
  • If there’s ever disagreement or conflict, how does it get resolved?
  • If someone makes a mistake, how does it normally play out?

You might still get some generalised answers. But even this can illustrate where a company has or hasn’t put much thought into a topic.

How and why to choose a job based on company culture

The company culture of the organisation you’re going to join might govern your happiness for the next few years. Learning about it before you start is challenging, but always worthwhile.

One of the most important things is to identify what you’re looking for in a corporate culture. Do you want fast advancement but with a trade-off of long hours? Is flexibility key to you? Do you want a relaxed environment more than anything else?

Based on your preferences, do your research and ask questions. If all else fails, trust your instincts. If you come away from an interview feeling happy and energised by the people you spoke to, that company might just be the perfect cultural fit for you.

Looking for that perfect fit of corporate culture?

Let’s talk about it. Ernest Gordon is a specialist manufacturing and engineering recruitment agency. It’s our job to match candidates with the organisations that are just right for them.

Get in touch with us today. Let’s see if we can find you the perfect company culture to be part of.