Finding a new job that’s right for you is a complex and time-consuming exercise. It’s not just about finding a role that suits your skills and abilities, it’s also about ensuring that you will fit in with the organisation’s culture: your job satisfaction and long-term success are intricately linked to the environment in which you work.

Determining whether an organisation’s culture aligns with your values and work preferences is critical. But how should you go about this? Here are six steps that will help you to make an informed decision

Check out the organisation’s online presence

Do your research

Before committing, it is essential to conduct a thorough investigation of your prospective employer to identify potential red flags and enable an informed decision.

Check out the organisation’s online presence. Explore its website, navigate its social media profiles, and delve into employee reviews on platforms such as LinkedIn. These sources can offer valuable insights into the image the organisation projects and its reputation among employees.

Compare values

Your work values function as a personal compass, guiding you towards professional fulfilment. A strong alignment between your values and those of the organisation serves as a promising indicator of cultural compatibility. Take a closer look at the organisation’s mission, values and objectives to evaluate whether these resonate with your own principles and beliefs.

Gain others’ impressions of the organisation’s culture and values

Use your network

Leveraging your professional network can provide valuable insights into the organisation’s culture. Seek out individuals who possess first-hand experience to gain a comprehensive understanding of what it’s like to work there.

Initiate candid conversations with your network contacts:

  • Ask for their impression of the organisation’s work culture and values.
  • Seek insights into the types of people who tend to thrive within the organisation.
  • Investigate the factors that may have led individuals to leave.
  • Gather information regarding turnover rates and the experiences of individuals who previously occupied the role you are considering.

Gathering a diverse range of perspectives from people with direct knowledge of the organisation can provide you with a well-rounded view of its culture.

Engage in meaningful conversations with your prospective boss

Meet the team

Your relationship with your prospective boss and the dynamics within your potential team will play pivotal roles in job satisfaction. It is therefore useful to establish a connection before making a decision.

Engage in meaningful conversations with your prospective boss. Discuss their vision for the organisation and their expectations for your role. Any reluctance to engage in such discussions could serve as a warning sign that your professional growth and satisfaction may not be prioritised.

If possible, request the opportunity to spend time with your potential team. Observe their interactions, communication styles and overall teamwork. This will provide you with invaluable insights into the team’s dynamics and the general work environment.

Create a checklist of factors that are important to you

Time to reflect

After accumulating all this information and insights, it is essential to take the time to process the information you’ve gathered. Taking a systematic approach will help. Drawing on the areas discussed above, create a checklist of factors that are important to you and use it to assess each potential employer. For example:

  • Assess expectations regarding working hours and remote work options. Are there opportunities for skill development and career advancement?
  • Evaluate how team members interact and collaborate.
  • Investigate the organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Examine the organisation’s approach to innovation and whether it aligns with your preferences.
  • Consider communication and transparency practices.

By systematically evaluating these factors, you can objectively compare different organisations and make a well-informed decision.

Trust your instinct

Assessing an organisation’s culture is a critical step in finding the right job fit. Bear in mind that cultural fit is a subjective matter, and what suits you may not suit someone else.

Ultimately, trust your instinct and judgment and prioritise your long-term job satisfaction and success. The ideal organisational culture for you is out there, waiting to be discovered.

Written by Marie Dewulf – This article was first published in Accounting and Business (AB), the member magazine of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants