How can you tell whether the corporate culture at a given company suits you before you commit to a new job? Do you dig daily Mario Kart tournaments and office dog spas, or would you rather show up and do your work as quickly as possible so you can get home and enjoy your personal time?
It's often hard to tell from a job interview whether or not a company's culture is a good fit for you. Once you get hired and discover the fit is bad, it is an expensive mistake for both you and the company.
What do we mean by culture? That's part of the problem, right? Chances are, when a hiring manager talks about company culture, she's talking about the free bagels in the morning or the t-shirts handed out after every project is done.
Corporate culture also means how often colleagues share a laugh, and whether the environment is built around collaboration or encourages lone-wolf behavior. It can mean you are expected to be seen slaving away at your desk past normal business hours to look like a go-getter. It might mean you don't have to wear a suit.
[What motivates IT job-seekers? Read IT Salaries: Not as Important as They Used to Be.]
Corporate culture goes beyond that though. It also means which skills are valued, the type of people who get hired and fired, and how much respect there is for new ideas in the office. Maybe all you want is a paycheck and a chance to lose some weight. If so, then that company with the great salad bar that isn't interested in your fresh ideas will be the right fit for you. If you're looking for more, then taking that job could be a career disaster.
How do you determine what a company's real culture is before you take a job? Here are eight tips to help you figure it out before you accept your next job offer.
Once you've reviewed these, tell us in the comments section below how you knew you found the right corporate cultural fit for yourself, or what warning signs you ignored that should have sent you running.