A critical part of the interview process is assessing fit – does the candidate fit the company culture and does the company culture fit the candidate? How can a candidate accurately assess the culture of the company they are considering?
Do Your Research: Don’t just look at the company website. Social media will give you much better insight into the culture of the organization. Look at what they post on Twitter or Facebook. Check out their videos. Also look at independent sites such as Glass Door to see feedback from employees.
Network: Even with social media there is some level of company control over messages. Talk to current and former employees. Leverage your Linked In connections and alumni contacts to identify contacts who can tell you what it is like to work there. Ask them why they chose to join the company. What keeps them there? What do they like most about their work there? What do they like the least?
Observe: Arrive a few minutes early for your interview. While you are waiting in the lobby pay attention to how employees interact with one another. If there is no interaction, that certainly tells you something about the culture.
Pay Attention to Heavy Emphasis: If everyone you talk to in the interview process mentions the pool table in the lounge or the summer outing, you should do more probing. If they are all talking about the same thing is the emphasis on the wrong things? Do their actions support the scripted message?
Before you decide to spend several years of your career with a company, it is critical to gain insight into the culture to determine if this is a place where you would choose to spend your days.