Here's an unfortunate truth: it's impossible to evaluate a job offer on paper. As much as we'd all love to avoid the stress of an in-person interview, you can't know if a job is a good fit unless you're there in person.
The reason for this is corporate culture. In a recent study, 90% of employees said an office's culture is important to them. Only 15% said their current company's culture was good enough, though.
As tempting as it is to take your highest-paying offer every time, you can't ignore the working environment. Here's why corporate culture is so vital:
Why Corporate Culture Matters in Your Job Search
As you job-hunt, you need to know more than the job title and the pay range for each position. These are a few of the many reasons why you need to consider corporate culture too:
1: Changing Jobs is Expensive
Most people on a job search are looking for an employer where they can stay for a long time. They want a place with a long future ahead. But beyond a company where you can stay a long time, you need to find a place you want to stay for a long time.
A job search isn't just an inconvenience. It takes money out of your own pocket. Think about the time you need to take off work for job interviews. If you find the next employer through a recruitment agency, they may need to offer you a lower pay to make up for that cost.
On top of that, factor in the likely gap in paychecks when you switch jobs. If you remember that a job's longevity will affect your bank account, you start to realize how important it is.
2: You Want to Know Your Co-Workers
You'll be spending forty hours every week with your co-workers, so you want to enjoy the people around you. Knowing your co-workers will also affect your job performance. The more you understand each other's strengths and weaknesses the better you can all work together. Even an introvert in the office wants to do their best work.
It takes time to get to know co-workers, though. If your co-workers never stick around for more than a few months because of a poor office culture, it will be a struggle to enjoy anyone's company.
3: You Want Co-Workers You Can Depend On
A company with a poor corporate culture won't be able to attract as strong of employees as a company with a happier office. In most jobs, your co-workers will have at least a small impact on how well you can do your job.
If you're working for a company that can't bring you good co-workers, your reputation will suffer. Don't forget about the added frustration that comes from feeling unable to depend on your team members.
4: A Poor Culture Reflects Your Management's Skills
Creating a positive environment is a vital skill for any management team. If a company's management can't do that, it's a sign that you won't have a supportive structure above you.
5: Corporate Culture Benefits Your Overall Health
It's no secret that stress has a serious impact on your health. If you're spending 40 hours every week in a negative environment and dealing with ineffective co-workers, the stress can impact your health in a hurry.
Many companies with a great work culture also have corporate wellness programs to help your health in a more direct way. This page tells you all about these types of programs. Looking for these perks will help you distinguish the companies with better corporate cultures.
6: Work Culture Affects a Company's Financial State
The last thing you want to do is leave a stable job for a new company that folds a month later. That's an extreme example, but keep in mind that corporate culture does impact the company's financial stability.
This is true for several reasons. First, happy employees tend to provide better service and quality to customers. That keeps those customers coming back.
Second, we're seeing more and more social activism in consumers' habits. People don't want to buy from companies that mistreat their employees. When word spreads, it can have a major impact on a company's survival.
7: A Positive Corporate Culture Helps You Grow As a Professional
You always want to think about the next steps and how each job will further your career. If you're in a negative corporate culture, chances are that you won't have the motivation to work to your potential. These environments often offer few learning experiences as well.
A better corporate culture will motivate you to push your abilities and expand on your strengths. You'll also have the opportunity to make a name for yourself as a skilled professional.
How to Find a Company with a Healthy Corporate Culture
Now that you know why you want a great corporate culture, how do you find one? Use these tips in your job search:
1: Connect with Current Employees
If you know someone who works for a company you're considering, ask for their opinion. If you don't, try to connect with some of the company's employees on LinkedIn.
Make sure the employees know that you'll keep the conversation confidential so they can be honest with you.
2: Look Up a Company's Online Ratings
There are sites like Glassdoor.com that allow employees to rate their employers. Never consider a job offer without checking these ratings.
Go beyond the overall star rating, though. Compare recent reviews to old ones to see if the culture has changed.
3: Pay Attention to Other Employees During Your Office Visit
When you visit the company for an in-person interview, take a good look around. Notice how productive and active the employees seem to be.
Is there an overall positive or negative vibe in the office? Do people look like zombies or do they look engaged and happy?
Finding the Perfect Next Job
The job search process is always a challenge. As exciting as it can be to look at dollars and cents, don't ignore the corporate culture. Making the big bucks may not be worth it if you're miserable five days out of every week.
For more great tips, check out our job search blog.