Finding the right creative workplace culture

Tweet your questions about how to land your dream design job—or just how to get your foot in the door—to our resident career expert @thegiantthinker. We’ll publish his answers here each month and keep the conversation going on Twitter @AIGAdesign.

What’s the best approach to getting to know the culture of a company and how they work as a team?—@ruzzyx

The only true way of getting the answers you want on company culture is to do two things:

1. Write down a list of what makes an appealing, enjoyable, and fulfilling company culture that you’d like to work with (the more detailed the better). Then, compare your criteria with the public knowledge available to you of the company you’re interested in. Have a stroll through all their social media channels. That will give you some insight. But that’s only half of it. And as we know, social media can often be a very ‘polished’ execution to make sure the public perceives their company and brand in high regard.

2. The most important thing to do is, really, this second point; ask them questions of concern towards the end of the interview. If you’re really considering working for them, you should actually have a list of questions ready. After all, it’s a partnership and they’ll value your questions, as it’s a sign of commitment. You will, 99 percent of the time, be asked towards the end of the interview, “have you got any questions for us?” Yes, yes you do.

This two-part process will inform you then validate whether your research on them is indeed true. More importantly, you’re making sure that the company’s culture is in line with your values and your potential for growth. Rightfully so, as your version of the ‘perfect’ cultural fit can be very different to the next person.

If you find that it’s not the type of culture you’d like to work in, really weigh up the pros and cons of what matters to you most. They may have amazing culture from flexible hours to subsidized breakfast/fruit (very common) to remote based working, but creatively, it could be shocking! Do your personal analysis and go from there.

About the Author:

If you'd like to be a designer, read Ram's internationally industry acclaimed book here:


Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker, Instructor and Author of the internationally acclaimed book 'How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, and Apple. 


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