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Company culture

  1. Sep 3, 2011 #1


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    In the last few days I have read some horror stories of employees being abused by companies (extremely long hours and hire-and-fire etc).

    I do like to question of reliability of some of those stories but then instead of reading of random stuff off some random websites on the internet, i would like to know:

    Is there any reliable source for information on company cultures?
    I'm especially interested in the working environments of high-tech companies like some of the ones in silicon valley etc...
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2011 #2


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    I can't help you but remember, you always hear about the bad experiences people have when it comes to pretty much everything in life and rarely about good experiences :).
  4. Sep 4, 2011 #3


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    In many cases you have two interviews: one is a technical one that makes sure you are good enough for the job, and the other is a personal one to see if you fit in with the culture.

    If you end up getting to the second interview (or past the technical stuff), you should be asked about questions relating to your thoughts and values, and in conjunction with that the panel says, this should give you a good idea of what their culture is like.

    If you need to know more, just ask. It's better to have everything on the table and make sure everyone is on the same page (both for yourself and for them). It saves you time so you can apply for other jobs, and it saves them a lot of their resources to find someone that is a good fit, so don't feel bad about it: (I guarantee they will appreciate you being upfront earlier than finding out the hard way 4 months into you working).

    Apart from actually talking to people in the company (or maybe reading something that an employee has written/said/etc), the interview is probably the best way if you make it that far. The company website may not really give you an idea of what it is like to actually "work" there, but it may give a lot of hints.

    So to answer your question, people that work there or have worked there in another capacity (like say a contractor for example) are your best bet. If you make it to interview, use that time to find out for yourself.
  5. Sep 4, 2011 #4
    The best source is common sense when you go to the interview. The interview is a two way process and you should be listening as much as you are talking. You can likely get a sense of the culture from the people that you talk to.

    The good and bad thing is that the corporate culture can be very, very different between different groups within a company, and can change very quickly. Near my work area are several teams and the micro-culture in there is very, very different because you have different people there. Also in a team of five people, you can feel the culture change very quickly as people get added or leave, and when there is any sort of senior management change, you can feel the culture change (either in a good way or a bad way).
  6. Sep 5, 2011 #5
    I agree with Twofish and would add that if an interview suggests that you may have to put in some 80 hour weeks every now and then, that you ask if there are some corresponding weeks when you put in only 20 hours? If they say no, then thank them for their time and quietly run away as fast as you can. This is the sort of place that will burn you out.

    Every job has an occasional 80 to 100 hour week. The point is that it can't go on indefinitely. If I go through an 80 hour week, I can just about guarantee that I won't be worth much on the following week. If they are unwilling to let you relax to recover from the extra work, then you can be sure this is one of those burn-out houses you've heard about.

    No amount of money is worth your mental health. I really like the people I work with, but when the day is over, I want to be somewhere else with different people. Having a life outside of work is essential. Don't overlook it.
  7. Sep 6, 2011 #6


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    Thanks folks, these info are enlightening to say the least ;)
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