Do you fall in line with the 75% of U.S. employees who prefer to operate in a full-time remote or hybrid position? Pursuing these remotely operating positions begs to question how job seekers can effectively evaluate company culture without seeing corporate philosophy in action. What do you do when all your interviews take place over Zoom, and you’ve never stepped foot in the office? The career experts at The Muse understood the validity of this concern and took the time to address it.

Content contributor Kat Boogaard wrote a great piece discussing the vital role that company culture still plays within a remotely operating position and how candidates can adequately assess the culture during the interview process without ever stepping foot in the door. Kat explains how, despite any salary, benefits, or growth expectation the position may meet, the overwhelming factor of company culture will still have a tremendous impact on your experience and satisfaction in the role. She recommends taking these SIX steps before you even consider accepting your next job offer. We highlight two of them here:

1. Know What You’re Looking For

Do you have your must-haves set in place for your next position? Map out your expectations in salary, benefits, and company values you want your employer to prioritize. When your interview process is fully remote, the need for a high level of preparation is magnified.

With video interviews and online research playing the most significant role in your decision, you must key in on the job factors and features most important to you. Is a healthy work-life balance your top priority? While working remotely should, in theory, make this more achievable, you still would want to find an organization that is not continuously operating. Muse Career Coach & Life Coach Annie Nogg recommends filtering down to three ‘non-negotiables’ for your job preferences.

“It’s important to understand a company’s culture because you don’t just want to join an organization where you can do work, you want to join one where you can do your best work.” -Hannah Fleishman, HubSpot.

2. Do Some Independent Research

Despite the remote process, you still have many resources and research techniques available to you. First, you can learn a tremendous deal of company history and cultural standpoints through a company’s website content. Don’t fumble when it comes to thoroughly understanding the company’s origin and core values that are easily identifiable. With your career growth and happiness on the line, you would be doing a tremendous disservice to yourself to visit every page on their website.

Second, visiting their blog will grant you access to their most recent publications, such as recent awards/achievements, a behind-the-scenes look into their corporate handlings, or other key content they want pushed out as a representation of their brand. Third, visiting their social media pages will similarly offer great insight into their company culture, brand presentation, and reputation.

Lastly, platforms where past and present employees can leave company reviews, such as Glassdoor or Indeed, will highlight general aspects of the company you may not have otherwise discovered. Additionally, many employees will provide the job title they held, which can offer specific insight into the company’s handling of your desired role. As you climb down the rabbit hole, remember to keep your three non-negotiables at top-of-mind. Use your computer’s ‘Ctrl-F’ feature to find reviews containing your keywords quickly.

Wrap Up

Understanding a company’s culture from afar adds a level of complexity to an already complicated process, but following through on Kat’s and Hannah’s advice will allow you to stay informed and keep your best foot forward!

“Especially as companies commit to remote or hybrid work for the future, it’s more important than ever for candidates to know that a company’s values, work style, and goals align with their own,” Fleishman says. “Because that’s what shapes the employee experience—whether you’re in an office or remote.”

Check out the remainder of Kat’s SIX steps to uncovering an organization’s culture without entering the office here.

  1. Connect with Current (or Former) Employees
  2. Ask Specific Questions (even if they are difficult)
  3. Observe What You Can
  4. Use the Hiring Process as Your ‘Inside Look’

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