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Career Corner: Three Ways to Investigate a Hiring Organization’s Office Culture

By Kent Yuen, Assistant Director of Career Services, New York Institute of Technology

Finding the right match for your next job often go beyond compensation and responsibilities.  An organization’s office culture can play an important role in your decision to accept an offer as well as your level of happiness and productivity.  You should know yourself and what you want in a company when considering an offer.  Uncovering company culture may require more research than reading Glassdoor reviews or taking note of the dress code.  Here are 3 Ways to investigate a hiring organization’s office culture.

Observe Office Interaction
From the moment you arrive for your interview until the time you leave, look around and take note of how employees interact with one another.  If you don’t have the opportunity to walk through the entire office, see if you can take a quick tour with the person who is interviewing you.

Are people talking and laughing with one another, or are they placed firmly at their stations and desks?  Are they discussing work and projects or sharing details about activities outside of the office?

Some companies claim to have a fun work environment because of certain social and entertainment amenities like a ping pong table or video games.  If people are using these features, it’s probably a good sign that the culture is relaxed and fun.  If the ping pong table looks “flat” or for display only, the same can probably be said about the office culture.

Social Events
Do employees wait all year for their holiday party to let loose?  Companies that have an active social atmosphere often hold weekly events such as happy hour in addition to holiday themed parties.

It doesn’t have to just involve partying and drinking.  Companies also hold regular team building outings such as volunteering and charity work through organizations like New York Cares.   A common interest in a sport or exercising can also be the spark that leads to a company softball team or office wide fitness challenges.

These initiatives often promote a positive attitude, productive lifestyle and most importantly employee engagement.

Ask your interviewer about these possibilities and follow up by investigating a company’s social media accounts.

A place for innovation

One common characteristic shared by many successful companies is their level of innovation.  The root of product and service innovation can be found in the level of investment in employees.  You may have an idea that can help the company provide a higher level of efficiency and want to bring it to fruition.  Will management support your work and passion for this project through funding and resources?  A company that invests in their employees is one that values its growth and culture.  Find out if your company fits this mold and ask about recent employee led initiatives.

Taking the next step in your career goes beyond a normal work day.  Office culture plays as much of a role in this as any company characteristic and if you can find one that integrates interaction and innovation in a social environment, you will have a productive and happy environment.

Last year, Ceros opened their new office in New York’s NoMad neighborhood which was described as a “space that is unique in that it was designed and built with many of Ceros’ own employees, and is a true representation of Ceros’ corporate mission to unlock creativity and caters to their unique needs…..born from Creative Director Jack Dixon and CEO Simon Berg, who believe design is at the center of everything, the office is a place of inspiration that facilities a fun and collaborative work environment.”

Kent is an Assistant Director with NYIT and provides career advisement to students and alumni. He holds a B.A. in History from Goucher College & an MBA from Fordham University. He has worked in admissions and advising for Fordham University, NYU-SCPS, NYU-Poly and Goucher College. He enjoys working with students on their career and educational goals. In addition to his experience in higher education, Kent has worked as a Project Manager in the advertising and restaurant industries.




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