How to Find a Great Job with Great Company Culture
All startups are different, which is why it’s vitally important to take into account not only the responsibilities of the role you’re interviewing for, but also whether the company you’re interviewing with is a good cultural fit for you. Don’t underestimate the negative effects a bad cultural fit can have on your effectiveness and happiness—after all, you don’t want to find yourself back on the job hunt only a few months later. Companies with great culture and the best tech employers always take cultural fit into consideration when making hiring decisions, and you should too.
So how do you do that? These three steps will teach you how to find a great job with a company culture that is fitting for you.
Step 1: Define what a good cultural fit means to you.
Great company culture is, of course, subjective. A good starting point is to sit down and make a list of what truly matters to you when considering a new opportunity.
Would you like to join a seed stage startup or a startup that is more established? What type of interaction would you like to have, if any, with your company’s CEO or senior management team? Are you comfortable working on a distributed team, or would you prefer that everyone on your team is in the same office? Are you comfortable with ambiguity and change, or would you prefer to have more direction and structure to your role responsibilities? What type of management style could help make you most successful — someone who is more hands-on, or less? What motivates you to achieve your goals?
Think of all the elements that would make you excited about an opportunity, list them out, then try to prioritize.
Not only will this help you focus your questions during an interview, it can also help you differentiate between companies if you’re fortunate enough to receive multiple offers.
Step 2: Do your due diligence.
Find out what the company says about itself.
Comb through their “about us” and “team” pages. If they have a “careers” page, see what it says about what it’s like to work there, since many companies use this page or job descriptions to discuss their company mission and culture. Look at their social channels (Facebook and Twitter, primarily), to get a glimpse into how they position themselves.
See what others say about them.
Check to see if they’re reviewed on Glassdoor (of course, many young startups won’t be). Google the company and see what’s been covered in the news. Find out what people are saying about them on Twitter. Look at some of the company’s employees on LinkedIn, and see if you have direct mutual connections (2nd degree) who can tell you more about the company or the team based on their connections.
Use all of this information to gain a better understanding of the company and what it would be like to work there, and to make sure you are as prepared as possible to ask questions during your interview, which will further allow you to assess whether the company is the right environment for you.
Step 3: Develop specific questions to assess whether a company is a good fit.
Asking targeted questions during your interview can be a good way to gain insight into a company’s mission, vision, and values, as well as the other key elements that will give you a better idea of a company’s culture. Here are a few questions to ask about company culture get you started:
- What traits make people successful here? Try to get a sense of what common characteristics are shared among top performers at the company, and whether you share those traits.
- How do internal teams work together? Get an idea of how you would interact with teams across the company, and with company leadership, and whether the level of interaction is what you’re looking for in your next role.
- What do you love about working here? Find out why they initially joined the company, and what keeps them excited and committed to the company and its mission.
- What are your challenges? Learn what obstacles they are facing, as these are key opportunities for learning, and can shed light on things you may also have to overcome if you join.
Finding the right opportunity is as much about choosing the right type of working environment as it is choosing the right type of role. By putting more thought into what your ideal environment looks like, and developing a list of criteria for what does and does not constitute a good fit, you will walk into your next interview with a clearer sense of what you’re looking for to determine if it is indeed the right opportunity for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STARTUP INSTITUTE & DIANA MARTZ
Diana Martz is the Director of Talent at OpenView Venture Partners, where she is responsible for developing the portfolio’s talent acquisition strategies, providing market data and leading high-priority candidate searches. Follow her on Twitter @dianawmartz.