What do companies like Google, Boston Consulting Group, and Salesforce all have in common? Aside from being highly profitable companies, they are also regularly featured on “Great Places To Work” lists. While ping pong tables, free lunches, and even things like “nap rooms,” are all enticing perks, a great place to work often goes beyond just perks. As a result, it’s important that you do your due diligence throughout the interview process to evaluate if the company is truly the best fit for you.
Instead of relying solely on third-party reviews to evaluate a company, pay close attention to the following aspects:
- The company culture & benefits package
How does the employer differentiate itself from their competition through their company culture? It’s important to get a feel for how the company values its employees. For example, offering competitive salaries, providing professional development opportunities, or having flexible work scheduling are just a few incentives that great companies often provide their employees with. In addition, have your interviewer describe aspects of the company culture they value the most, as questions like these will serve as an honest depiction of company culture through the eyes of a current employee.
- The tone of all of your interviewers
A great way to evaluate if employees are telling the truth about what it’s like to work for the employer is to ask your interviewers about their personal experiences with the company. If you are truly interviewing at a great place to work, your interviewers should speak about their experiences enthusiastically. On the other hand, if it’s hard for them to highlight positive experiences, this should raise some red flags for you. Along the same lines, this enthusiasm should be consistent amongst other interviewers throughout the interview process. Getting a feel for the emotions people convey when discussing their employer will be a good indication if you might experience the same feelings down the road.
- The workplace environment
Taking a tour of the office will not only give you a feel for the physical layout of the workplace, but it will also afford you the opportunity to observe the work culture. For example, high, closed off cubicles might speak to a more self-driven environment, while an open floor plan may imply a more collaborative culture. In addition, the décor of employees’ desks (e.g., framed photos, certificates, insightful quotes, etc.) may let you know that people have invested a lot of time with that employer. These items can indicate if employees are generally comfortable in their work environment.
- The company’s philanthropic endeavors
While company culture and workplace structure are easy to observe in person, doing a bit of research to get a glimpse into the company’s philanthropic endeavors can also help to pinpoint a great place to work. Take a look at their record of charitable donations or sponsoring social causes, as well as efforts to give back to the community (or its employees) through mentorship programs or company-wide events. Studies show that employers that practice greater corporate social responsibility tend to have greater success in retaining employees.
- The company’s mission
The mission of an organization is often overlooked by prospective candidates as a factor for deciding if an employer would be a great company to work for. Are the company’s business objectives driven by a strong mission statement? Companies with a clear mission engrained in their company culture help employees feel like they are part of something larger than themselves by the work that they do. Learning more about their mission and the general outlook of the company can give you a better idea of how your particular role will help to push the company’s mission forward as well as guide the types of discussions and questions you may have.