Just like people, every company has its own personality. And as such, few blanket assumptions apply across the board. At first glance, most job seekers might think a small company of less than 10 people would likely be more family friendly than a larger organization of 40-50 employees, but that’s not always the case. Some jobs are naturally more collaborative in nature, while others involve minimal supervision. That much you usually can tell from the job description itself, but there’s a lot more to learn if you’re so inclined.

All it takes is mastering a few simple powers of observation.

And, of course, knowing where to look and what to look for.

No doubt standard operating procedure dictates an in-depth visit to the company’s website before you do anything else, but it would be mistake to begin your research there and leave it at that. Rather, we enthusiastically suggest a few other directions you can go in order to dig a bit deeper than what first appears on the surface of an online posting.

  • Find the right fit through Facebook. You can’t always judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can get the gist of what a company’s culture is like by its cover photo. Likely even more instructive is the kind of content the company posts. If the organization values volunteerism and supporting the community it serves, you’ll likely see it. If so, it only stands to reason to bring up your own support of charitable causes during your initial face-to-face. Also, pretty easy to judge how to dress for the big day—if the majority of images you see are of the business-pro variety, it only makes sense to follow suit—literally, if necessary.
  • Adjust your social media calendar accordingly. As you head into your first meeting, it can pay big dividends to take notice of what that company has on its calendar. Say the organization is sponsoring a food drive heading into a particular holiday. Or, perhaps raising money to help victims of natural disasters across the country. It stands to reason that you’d express a desire to contribute if given the opportunity. Doing the right thing is one thing, but doing it alongside co-workers dedicated to the same cause can speak volumes. More importantly, it gives you the opportunity to connect on a personal level.
  • Share in the company’s praise of their highest achieving employees. More often than not, companies will utilize social media platforms to recognize staff members for the work they do. For example, a recent post from an Ohio-based advertising company celebrated two account executives for taking part in an “Art from the Heart” exhibition held in Los Angeles. Making yourself aware of what particular staff members have done provides you with a talking point that shows you take an authentic interest in others. Although it can’t be proven, we believe the willingness to give kudos is directly tied to receiving them.

While you can’t predict the unexpected turns likely to happen in any given interview scenario, preparing yourself with knowledge of the company and its culture beforehand will put you ahead of the curve. These days, if you’re lucky enough to convert your statistically meager ~2% chance of being selected for a sit-down, you’ll need more than just the qualifications that got you there to seal the deal.

Odds are your competitors will share most of them.

The truth is “getting in” takes “getting with” the organization on its terms, not yours.

Find out what those are and you’ll always be in good company.

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