Skip to Main Content
by Payal Bhatia | October 31, 2017


Glass office building photographed from below

A company culture is the result of an organization’s dominant attitudes, behaviors, and values. A healthy one presents the advantages of employee satisfaction, retention and loyalty, a good and solid reputation for the organization, and increased productivity. So, if you’re a job hunter  looking for employment, this is a factor that you have to consider because it will play a huge part in how you develop as a worker, as well as how you cultivate your personal happiness.

To understand a company’s culture, you need to do your homework. Gather information from various sources – the company’s website, an employee that works there, and other business organizations that it has partnered with. Recruitment professionals recommend visiting the company or using your lobby time for the job interview to observe. Also, for your interview, come prepared with questions that will allow you to learn more about how the company actually operates.

From all the information you gather, you’ll get a good idea of what the company’s culture truly is.

After establishing the company culture, you then have to determine if it’s a good fit for you. How do you do that? Here are five ways to know.

1. Ask yourself: What kind of work environment motivates me? 

It’s different for everyone. Some prefer a quiet workplace where employees don’t interact much. Others want to work in a fancy office where everybody’s dressed professionally every day because a beautiful and sophisticated ambiance inspires them.

The key here is to understand how you work to see if the company presents an atmosphere that’s beneficial for you.

2. Ask yourself: Will the company culture maximize my happiness?

List your happiness triggers when working and see if they are met by the company’s work conditions and policies.

For example, at BuzzFeed, company culture is very social and laidback. Employees can work in different areas of their headquarters. although they are assigned workspaces, they are provided the flexibility to get their work done while lying down on a couch in the lounge, the cafeteria, or the yard. This is greatly appreciated by artistic creators who tend to feel stifled in a highly structured work setting.

Also, the company wants employees to work happily, so it provides free lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays (free bagels every Friday, too). Employees are happy that they can save money, time and energy.

If the company culture meets your quirky personality and happiness triggers, it’s clearly a good match.

3. Ask yourself: Does the company’s culture align with my personal values or lifestyle?

If you’re a religious person, do you think the operations of the company will compromise the values you uphold? Will you be asked to give up your day of worship in order to attend important work events? Do certain behaviors contradict your personal beliefs?

Or, if you’re a family man with young kids, will the company culture of important after-work gatherings prevent you from spending time with your growing children?

You know a company’s culture doesn’t match yours if you feel uncomfortable about multiple elements in a typical day’s work.

4. Listen to your gut.

Your instincts will alert you if something’s amiss with the company culture. Don’t just shush it, but don’t yield to it right away, either. Instead, question what your gut is implying. This mere act will allow you to gain a broader perspective and make sense of how unsettled you feel.

5. Discuss the compatibility issue with someone who knows you really well.

Seek out someone who knows you really well and ask their opinion on the matter. Often, they will have a well-rounded understanding of the situation. What they have to say may help you get a better grasp of the compatibility issue.

Finding a company that’s a perfect fit for you is often a long process of trial and error. However, if you take the time to study a company’s culture, you’ll be able to discover clues that will indicate whether you’ll be able to function well in an organization or not. 

A passionate recruiter with more than 12 years in the executive search industry, Payal Bhatia is an international headhunter and business partner for RM & Associates in the MENA region specializing in the FMCG, retail, telecom and engineering sectors. Find Payal on LinkedIn.