How Job Seekers Can Assess Company Culture

New employees, especially senior leaders, who clash with the culture are often ineffective, and are likely to quickly depart for a friendlier environment. So what should job seekers look for when trying to get a feel for a company’s culture? Protis Global explains how you can assess a company’s culture to determine if it aligns with your personal values.

March 18, 2024 – When job hunting, finding the perfect role goes beyond a company’s reputation or the allure of a job title. One critical factor that often takes precedence is the company culture. The culture of a company can significantly impact your job satisfaction, professional growth, and overall well-being, according to a new report from Protis Global. So, how can you, as a job seeker, assess a strong culture and ensure it aligns with your values and career aspirations? Protis Global explains how you can assess a company’s culture to determine if it aligns with your personal values.

Protis Global has guided thousands of job seekers to find the role and company that best fits their life goals, resulting in a satisfying and rewarding experience. The firm recently joined Hunt Scanlon Media to explain how you can assess a company’s culture to determine if it aligns with your personal values.

Read Company Reviews and Insights 

The digital age has given us a treasure trove of information at our fingertips. Take advantage of it, according to the Protis Global report. “Begin by scouring company reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed, or even LinkedIn,” the study said. “While reviews can be subjective, patterns and trends will emerge, giving you a sense of what current and past employees think about the company’s culture.”

The Protis Global report also explains that job seekers should pay attention to comments related to the average workload, leadership styles, and team camaraderie. If a company consistently receives positive feedback in these areas, it’s a good sign that the culture is likely robust and supportive.

Uncover the Core Values

Every company flaunts its core values like a badge of honor, but Protis Global asks how do you determine if these values are more than just words on a website? “Dig deep into the company’s mission statement and core values,” the report said. “If they resonate with you and align with your personal beliefs, it’s a positive indicator. However, don’t just stop at reading them. During the interview process, ask about specific instances where these values were demonstrated in the workplace. This will provide insights into whether the company actively upholds and integrates these values into its daily operations.”

Ask the Right Questions During Interviews

Interviews are not just an opportunity for a potential employer to evaluate you; they’re also a chance for you to assess them, the Protis Global report explains. Craft thoughtful questions that go beyond the surface and dig into the intricacies of the workplace culture. For example, the firm says to ask:

  • Can you describe the team dynamics and collaboration within the organization? 
  • How does the company support professional development and growth for its employees? 

“These questions can unveil critical aspects of the work environment and help you gauge if the culture is beneficial to your personal and professional aspirations,” the search firm said.

The Personal Scorecard Approach

Protis Global also says to consider creating a personal scorecard that outlines your non-negotiables and preferences. The firm notes that this scorecard can include factors such as your personal goals, career advancement opportunities, and financial goals. Assign a weight to each factor based on its importance to you.

The Importance of Culture on Today’s Businesses
Culture is hardly a new concept. Well before the rise of various models and frameworks to evaluate organizational culture, companies recognized the risk of hiring a cultural mismatch — such as the lone wolf in a company that values collaboration. New employees, especially leaders, who clash with the culture are often ineffective, and are likely to quickly depart for a friendlier environment. “Toxic cultures have been shown to predict undesired turnover 10 times as powerfully as employee attitudes about compensation,” said Maryanne Wanca-Thibault, partner, DHR Global Leadership Consulting.

She points to Donald Sull and his son Charlie Sull who analyzed a dataset of over a million employee reviews to understand the most powerful drivers of culture. They isolated five traits that predict most strongly whether a culture is toxic: disrespectful, non-inclusive, unethical, cutthroat, and abusive. “If any of these themes show up in your employee feedback, you know you need to take action,” said Dr. Wanca-Thibault.

“As you progress through the interview process, mentally or physically score each company against your personalized criteria,” the Protis Global report said.

6 Steps for Creating an Inclusive Workplace Culture

“This systematic approach can help you objectively evaluate the alignment between your expectations and the company’s culture, making it easier to compare and contrast potential employers.”

Look Beyond the Perks

While flexible work schedules, mental health benefits and generous leave are ways hiring brands used to entice prospective team members, they may not provide a comprehensive picture of a company’s culture, according to the report. Protis Global says to look beyond the surface-level perks and focus on more substantial indicators.

  • Employee turnover rates: High turnover might indicate a lack of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the culture.
  • Communication channels: Evaluate how transparent and open the communication is within the organization. Is feedback encouraged and acknowledged?

Understanding these underlying aspects will give you a clearer understanding of the company’s commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive culture, according to Protis Global.

Seek Insights from Current and Former Employees

The search firm also explains to network with current and former employees to gain valuable insights into the company’s culture. “LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for connecting with professionals who have firsthand experience with the organization,” the search firm said. “Ask about their experiences, challenges they faced, and what they appreciated about the company culture. These conversations can provide unfiltered perspectives that go beyond what official channels may reveal.”

Trust Your Instincts

Finally, trust your instincts. If something feels off during the interview process or if the company’s responses don’t align with your expectations, take note, the Protis Global report says. “Your gut feeling can often be a reliable guide,” the study said. “If a company ticks all the boxes on paper but doesn’t resonate with you on a personal level, it might not be the right cultural fit.”

In conclusion, Protis Global emphasizes that assessing a company’s culture is a crucial step in finding a role that not only pays the bills but also brings satisfaction and fulfillment. “By combining research, thoughtful questions, and a personalized scorecard approach, you can navigate the job market with a clearer understanding of the cultural landscape,” the firm said. “Remember, your next career move is not just about finding a job; it’s about finding a cultural fit that propels you towards your professional and personal goals.”

Protis Global, founded in 1995, is headquartered in Delray Beach, FL. Its specialties include consumer package goods, global food and beverage, cannabis, hospitality, fast moving consumer goods, adult beverage, talent attraction, and employer branding.

Related: Designing a Winning Corporate Culture

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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