In the modern workplace, there is more emphasis on company culture than ever before. Both professionals and employers recognize that a positive culture fosters better communication, higher retention rates, and even greater productivity. In a recent study by CultureIQ, employees who work at companies with strong cultures report 20 percent higher rates of collaboration, along with more alignment between missions and values.

You Share Values

No brand is going to openly tout values like dishonesty and close-mindedness. That’s why it’s important to look closer to determine which values a brand truly exhibits – not just what it claims to value. In addition, you may value the same things as a brand but have different expectations. For example, you both may value teamwork, but you are expected to work independently most of the time. Make sure there are no misunderstandings in how you will live out your values.

You Share Their Communication Style

Some brands take a more casual approach to communication, which is evident in their job postings, on social media channels, and on their website. Others take a more reserved, professional approach and expect the same of their employees. While tone alone can’t tell you whether or not you’ll fit a company’s culture, it’s a good starting place for assessment. If the job description, emails, or other communications seem too stuffy or somehow uncomfortable for you, take this into consideration.

Benefits Match Expectations

Whether you’re an entry-level professional or a seasoned veteran in an industry, a company’s compensation package should roughly match your expectations. Consider your deal-breakers ahead of time – Do you need a healthy culture that offers a gym? A 401(k) for retirement? Don’t compromise on the things that matter most to you.

You Like the Job Description

While it may seem odd to enjoy the idea of work, companies with sound cultures will have job descriptions that resonate with you. You understand the terms, can see yourself doing the work, and the tasks don’t seem too overwhelming. In other words, you and the company have a similar opinion of what the job should encompass.

You Don’t Have to Act

If you interview with a company in person, this is a great opportunity to assess the cultural fit. While you’ll likely be nervous at an interview, you shouldn’t feel wildly out of place. In addition, you shouldn’t feel that you have to lie or behave differently to fit in. Remember that you won’t be able to keep up an act forever, so it’s best to ask questions and try to gain a better understanding of their culture right away.

You’re As Busy As You Want to Be

Different companies have different perspectives on what “busy” really means. It’s important to know going into a job how busy you’ll be – and whether you’re OK with that. Ask about overtime or a company’s busiest season to get an idea of the employees’ work-life balance.

The Environment Is Comfortable

Again, this is something you can best assess in person. Do you prefer privacy or an open concept office? If you’ll be working remotely, ask whether team members meet in person and where meetings are held. Learning where the team is comfortable (e.g., a boardroom, chain restaurant, etc) will give you a sneak peek into their culture. In addition, observing how tidy each employee’s workspace is can reveal the company’s standards and level of organization.

While there is no surefire way to determine whether you’ll like a job or not, you can collect clues that will point you in the direction of a healthy cultural fit. For more information on your career and job search, check out The Resume Builder!