The Hidden Job Search Landmine: Corporate Culture Shock

Posted by The Editors on April 26, 2012
The Hidden Job Search Landmine: Corporate Culture Shock
Sometimes you land your dream job with your dream company and then realize “Oh sh*t – this place is more dysfunctional than my family!” You panic: “What the hell do I do now?”

I’ve done this more times than I care to recall. I can find the perfect job, with a great company, only to find the culture is not conducive to you performing your best (to put it delicately).

Here are steps you can take – before the interview or accepting that job offer – to minimize organizational culture shock:

1. Informational Interviews
Informational interviews are increasingly used to identify potential employment opportunities – and a relatively safe environment to ask questions about the organization’s environment and culture without the high-stakes of a real job interview.

2. is a valuable resource for peering behind the curtain at a potential employer. Information is supplied by current and former employees, as well as interview candidates and, yes, the companies themselves.

3. Google
Google makes gathering intelligence on potential bosses, co-workers and employers easier. Run keyword searches related to the company that will provide insight into the company’s behavior, the people who make important decisions and, of course, your potential managers and co-workers.

4. Reporting Sites
Consumer Reports, Better Business Bureau and, in extreme cases, sites such as and  can provide you with a usually objective – sometimes passionate – look at how a company manages their business – and deals with difficult situations.

5. Social Networking
As opposed to an “About Us” page – where you’ll read what a company wants you to think – use social media to learn the “real” culture. How interactive and engaging is the company on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? How swiftly and compassionately do they respond to publicly-displayed issues? How are they perceived as an employer brand? Most important, do all those answers match your “wish list” for acceptable company culture?

Assessing a company’s culture is an important yet often overlooked part of the job hunt process. Taking these extra steps before you interview or accept a job offer will help you avoid the stress and aggravation of a bad culture fit…

And may prevent you from having to deal with corporate culture shock – and having to answer the “What do I do now” question?

About the Author: Joe Gagliano, a founding member of YouTern and its CMO, brings years of start-up management, strategic planning, marketing and market research experience to the team and his blog posts. Joe, who runs our learning center for interns, also brings a passion for start-ups, entrepreneurship and mentorship to our team. Connect with Joe on Twitter!

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