How to Explain Your Company Culture (Correctly!)
By Kylee McIntyre07-Mar-2019Views 1549

company culture

Photo credit: Pexels.

Ah, yes. Company culture. The aspect that separates a passable tech job from roles at the Netflixes and LinkedIns of the world. Company culture is going to be part of every tech interview, just like hard tech skills and conversations about the company's tech stack.

Of course, that also means that company culture also risks becoming a trite interview topic. How many times can one talk about the same buzzwords over and over? We've all heard these before:

  • Flexibility
  • Ambitious
  • Self-Starter
  • Transparency
  • Diversity
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Flat Structure

Even “company culture" itself becomes a bit of a buzzword. So keep in mind that while you love and may believe in your company with all your heart, a lot of your company culture pitch (because you are always pitching and selling when you are talking to candidates, they've probably heard all of this before.

So, how can you be heard in a cacophony of a lot of the same?

1. Branding

via GIPHY

You know that RuPaul Charles catchphrase: if you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else? You can apply that to your company. If you as a company don't know who you are, how can you convey that idea to someone else?

If you have a marketing team, sit down with them and figure out your company's mission and values. Then, figure out what already is great about the team - are they collaborative? Efficient? From there, you just have to figure out how to convey that through all of your hiring and marketing materials.

If you find that your mission and values sound a lot like other companies' do, don't worry too much - we'll deal with that in the next point.

2. Sell your perfume

company culture 2

Photo credit: Pexels.

Not every company has to be Google. Maybe you're not getting served gourmet meals in office every day, but perhaps much of the team chooses where to go to lunch together. Either of those can be good culture points, if you sell them correctly.

Selling a product is easy - you can show people what it does and talk about tangible outcomes. Company culture is a little more difficult - how do you sell an experience?

You have no idea what the perfume smells like, but the commercial sells romance.

Perfume is a good example. We've all seen the ads - a woman wearing some kind of flowy, cloudlike dress runs through a field of wheat. A suave-looking guy adjusts his tie and exudes class. A man and a woman, enraptured with each other, touch hands longingly on a deserted beach with a breeze just right for optimal hair flutter.

When the ad ends, you have no idea what the perfume smells like (and if you check your phone before the commercial ends, you might not even know that's what the commercial was selling), but the commercial sells romance.

Find the meeting point between your branding and storytelling style. Several top tech companies have similar cultures, but they all have slightly different ways of spinning their stories. Find your voice - there's room for a whole range of voices, from assertive to kooky - and stick with it.

3. What do candidates want?

It's not all about working from home and Friday office parties. Sell the work as much as you sell the “life balance." Candidates are driven. They want to progress and succeed, and if you're like a lot of other tech companies, you look for that drive in potential employees. Don't forget to include learning and leadership opportunities, chances to expand team members' skill sets, and possible travel experiences.

4. It's in the packaging

You shouldn't judge books by their covers, but there's something to be said for an appearance that makes a reader pull the book off a shelf to see what it's about in the first place.

Wrap your story up in a fun way. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but a slideshow with text and pictures that convey general benefits as well as day-to-day life at the company is fun and helpful to read, as well as easy on the eyes.

Since your audience is probably a bunch of tech developers, make it a little more interesting than a paper handout.

5. Show, don't tell

Several companies make at least part of the interview happen in person. That's a chance for candidates to get more of a feel for the way day-to-day operations at a company run.

There's no way to truly prepare for a candidate visit - except to notify employees that new people might ask them where the toilet is...and maybe some other information about the company. But just make sure that all of the culture information you put down is truthful, so that the visit doesn't come as a complete surprise.

Remember, your company culture probably already exists - it's just up to you to convey it in fun, attractive terms so that candidates can get on the same page that you are (thinking your company is fantastic).


If you need a leg up on attracting candidates over to your tech team, give 100offer a try. Our platform helps you shape your narrative the way you want to tell it so that you can find the start candidates you really need.

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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
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