Understanding Corporate Culture

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Corporate culture has become a huge buzz word lately. When you are looking for a job, the odds are good that you have heard this phrase over and over.

But – What does it mean?

Dictionary.com defines it this way:

the philosophy, values, behavior, dress codes, etc., that together constitute the unique style and policies of a company


Basically, a corporation's culture is just the way that the company and it's employees think about their work. It is how they behave, their motto and the style of the office.

It's really important to get a clear idea of the values and the style of a company before you accept a position working for them. If you aren't a good fit with their culture, then you probably wouldn't be happy working their for very long.

If you think about it, there are many corporations that have a clear, straight forward culture that you may not have even noticed. Think about what type of person you would imagine working for say, Starbucks, The Gap, Wal Mart, Hot Topic and Land's End. I bet that you imagined very different sorts of people for each of those companies. That is because they mix their culture into their branding in order to send a clear message.

With other companies, the branding might not be as clear. But don't let that fool you. All companies have a corporate culture, even though they might not say so. To them, it may just be “the way things are done around here.”. Still, it's important to find out what their culture is and decide if it is a good fit for you.

So, how do you find out?

The best way is to research the company itself. Take a look at their website, their logo and even read the bios of the executives. The tone and feel of all of this should help to give you some clues.

If you are invited to interview, here are 3 questions you can ask to find out what the company's culture is like:

  1. If you could describe your company's culture in just a couple of words, what would they be? - This question might make the interviewer think a little bit, which isn't a bad thing. By asking them this question directly, you give them the chance to tell you about the company and what they think are the most important things. This can give you the most insight.

  2. What's the best part about working here? - By asking this, you can find out things that you wouldn't be able to learn simply by taking a tour or waiting to be interviewed.

  3. What made you decide to build your career with this company? - This is the perfect way to set the interviewer up to tell you why the company was a good fit for them. This will give you a more clear picture of what work life is really like there.

Choosing a company that fits you is very important. If you don't fit in with their culture, you aren't going to be happy there and it will show in your work. It won't take long before you find yourself looking for another job, because it's practically impossible to be successful in a place that is wrong for you.

What do you think about corporate culture? Have you ever worked for a company that was a bad fit for you? How did it work out? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for ManufacturingWorkersBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.
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