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How To Check Out The Company Culture — Before You Take The Job

Source | Forbes : By Liz Ryan

Dear Liz,

I got burned at my last job and I don’t want to make the same mistake again. I followed my ex-boss to his new company. It was a bad move.

My ex-boss “Bart” is a nice guy, and he was a great boss when I worked for him. I was flattered when he called me and said “You have to get into this company!”


I met Bart for lunch and he told me about the job. Then he invited me over to the company’s office, but it was after hours (because I was working full-time) and Bart was the only person there.

After a little while another employee, “Josh,” came into the office to run a report and I got to meet him, too. Josh had only been with the company for a few weeks.

Josh said he liked the job so far. It’s not his fault I took the offer too quickly. How could he know the company’s problems after just a few weeks?

I took the job. Bart left after six months. The management in that company is horrible. The VPs have no idea what they’re doing and they don’t agree on anything. The CEO is mostly traveling to see customers, but when he’s in town he stays in his office with the door closed. The company is struggling but no one will admit it.

Bart did his best but my job was always frustrating and never satisfying or fun. I made it ten months and then I had to leave just to preserve my sanity.

Luckily I signed up with a contract agency pretty quickly and I’m working on that contract now, but it’s not going anywhere. I need a regular job. How can I check out a company’s culture before I accept their offer?

Thanks Liz –


Dear Morgan,

The answer to “How can I learn about a company’s culture?” is “You can ask them about it.”

You can ask your prospective hiring manager almost anything,  but most job-seekers don’t dare!

We say we want to learn about a company’s culture, but the one activity that would tell us exactly what we need to know — asking questions, that is — is also the thing most job-seekers are afraid to do.

Read On….

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