Last week, FORTUNE Magazine came out with it’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. It’s a pretty big honor for a company to be included in this list. (Intel made it again this year, rising from #98 last year to #51 this year which we’re pretty psyched about!) Any company that is at least 7 years old with more than 1,000 US employees is eligible and there’s a pretty intense process that is used to come up with the list and its ranking (combination of employee surveys on attitudes about management’s credibility, job satisfaction and camaraderie and responses to a culture audit which asks about pay and benefit programs as well as questions about hiring practices, internal communications, training, recognition programs and diversity efforts.)
For companies who make the list, it’s a badge of honor; for companies who may not have made the list, it’s a goal to strive for; and for job seekers, lists like these can be a filter for where to and where not to apply. While compensation and location rank high on the priority list for job seekers, culture and work environment are creeping up the list as well. So how do you figure out what kind of culture works best for you?
What are the people like?
Do you know anyone who already works at a company you’re interested in? Your best bet is to contact them and just ask for their thoughts on their work environment, colleagues and the company. People, for the most part, love to talk about themselves–all you have to do is ask!
An acquaintance from college messaged me on LinkedIn last year, asking if we could meet up for dinner since she was going to be in Portland for an interview. It turns out she was interviewing at Intel for a rotation program within my organization with a colleague who sat down the row from me (mind you–he was the recruiter who I met too!) Our dinner was pivotal as I was able to share my experience with the company and answer any questions she had. I was also able to introduce her to some other friends and coworkers so she could get a variety of opinions and experiences. Fast forward to a year later and she’s a co-worker and my new roommate!
Prioritize your criteria
What’s most important to you? Career development? Corporate responsibility? Flexible schedules? Make a list of what you would be looking for in an ideal employer and than narrow it down to must haves and nice-to-haves. You’ll be surprised at where things fall. Some of your criteria will also come with experience–you don’t always know what you want until you experience it. A casual dress code or flexible work schedule never even made it to my list, but now that I have both, I have no idea how I would go without.
Figure out your work style
Do you do your best when collaborating with a team and working collectively to solve a problem? Or do you prefer to work independently and fully own a project from beginning to end? By simply knowing which way you work best, you can seek out opportunities that cater to your work style. Most companies have a mix of both, team and solo work but it’s up to you to probe and find out how their culture would fit you. Research the company values: do they align with yours? It may not be a perfect match (or it might!) but know what you can and can’t work with.
Work environment for me is really important: is my company going to value me as an employee? I’m a Millenial and need constant feedback (yes, I said need, not want) so I was all smiles when I heard that Intel culture encourages regular 1:1 meetings with your manager to gather feedback constantly, not just during reviews.
Trust your gut
What has your experience with applying and interacting with the company been like? Could you visualize yourself at the company or does something not feel quite right? If something feels off or you’re not comfortable, it could be a forewarning of what’s to come. Trust your gut and what it’s telling you.
These are just a few ways to evaluate company culture and find out if it fits you. Experiment around and find a fit that’s comfortable and it will be mutually beneficial for you and your employer!
Sejal is a Recruitment Marketing Project Manager at Intel. She is part of the team that is responsible for Intel’s global employment brand. This team helps connect candidates with Intel and Intel with candidates using channels such as the Jobs at Intel web site, the Life at Intel microsite and other Web 2.0 channels. Sejal specifically manages the Jobs at Intel Blog and Intel’s recruitment Facebook strategy. Originally from Toronto, Ontario (yes—a real, breathing Canadian!), Sejal graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with her Bachelor’s in Communications before starting at Intel in 2008. When she’s not working, you’ll find Sejal working at crossing things off of her Bucket List (which includes skydiving, reading 1000 books and traveling the world), eating cupcakes or spending time with family and friends. To learn more about opportunities with Intel, visit intel.com/jobs, follow Intel on Twitter @JobsatIntel or check out the Jobs@Intel blog!