Company Compatibility: How To Pick The Right Company To Work For

Picking the right company is different from making sure that you love your job – it is making sure that you love the brand you are advocating and developing.

This could range from MNCs to SMEs to local startups, and finding the right company probably requires effort on your part to testing waters.

Consider past work experiences you’ve had, and narrow down the ones you like, can tolerate, or absolutely loathe. Narrow down the reasons why you think respectively of each company.

Now, you get a clear idea of what to actively seek for and what to stay away from.

Of course there is more to evaluation and reflection on personal experience when looking for the perfect company. You need to explore enough of the industry that you’re in, understand the spectrum of the type of companies in that environment and so on.

If you want to feel inspired, challenged, fulfilled, and happy with your work – and with the people you work with – you first must find the company you’ll love working for.


No culture is right or wrong – unless it’s right or wrong for you. For example, at HubSpot we have a three-word policy for just about everything: Use good judgment. If you like guidelines and lots of guard-rails, you may not like working at HubSpot. Our “policies” might feel too loose, too vague, or too fluid. That doesn’t mean we’re right or you’re right; all it means is the level of autonomy we provide may not be right for you.

And that’s all that matters.

Here are some ways you can get a great sense of a company’s culture:

1. Check out the leadership team.
A company tends to be a reflection (whether good or bad) of its leaders. Use the LinkedIn search tool to find people who work there. Check out their backgrounds. Take a look at their education, their career paths, their interests…

It’s pretty safe to assume that a leadership team filled with Six Sigma black belts will create a culture incredibly focused on process improvement. It’s safe to assume that a founder and CEO who has started five different companies in the last twelve years will value quick decisions, quick pivots, and an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s safe to assume that a company whose leaders rose through the ranks in a logical progression of roles will expect others to follow a similar career progression.

What we have done in the past informs our expectations and our actions; put yourself in the shoes of a company’s leadership team and think, “If I was one of them… what would I value?”

Then make sure those values align with your values.

2. Check out what its leaders say.

Most company leaders are active in some form of social media. (If they aren’t, that also tells you something about the company; whether that something is positive or negative is up to you to decide.)

Some communicate in a quasi-PR mode, their tweets, updates, and blog posts seemingly written by a corporate communications team. Others are more wide-ranging. (Again, neither is good or bad.)

Take Joel Gascoigne, the founder of Buffer (disclosure: I’m an angel investor in Buffer). His personal blog covers a surprising range of professional and personal perspectives: His thoughts on transparency, on letting people go, on the power of taking time to reflect, on what he does to be happy… if you want to know what it will be like to work at Buffer his blog has many of the answers.

3. Find out what customers say. A company’s culture is ultimately reflected in its employees and its customers; after all, the proof of a culture’s pudding is not just how employees feel but how customers feel about the company.

See what mistakes the company has made, and even more important — what it has done in response. See how customers feel about its overall service. See how it is perceived in the marketplace. All of us want our work to make a difference; make sure the company is making a difference for its customers. A quick way to do a blind reference check is to search Google or twitter for “love <companyname>” or “hate <companyname>” Remember, you’ll often get some extreme positions (in either direction), but reading through a few comments will give you a general sense.

4. Check out employee career paths.

Now look for any employees, current and past. Where did they work before they joined the company? How long do they tend to stay? What jobs did they take when they left?

Spend a little time digging and you’ll quickly get a feel for the kinds of people the company hires, the kinds of people it retains, and for the opportunities and growth potential.

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