While it can be tempting to quickly accept a job offer, it pays to step back and take an objective look at the corporate culture first.  At offer stage, you should already know about the vitals like salary and benefits.  But before you say yes and sign a contract, take the time to look over other key aspects of a company’s culture. Here are a few tips on how you can gain insight into a company’s culture before you decide to become part of the team:

How does the hiring process work?

Taking a moment to consider how a company’s hiring process works is an excellent way to understand what it might be like to work there. Think about who called you to schedule your interview and sat in on your interview. Was it the hiring manager, HR or other managers or employees? Have you had contact with the people that you’ll actually be spending your day-to-day with? Also consider the length of time the hiring process takes. How long did it take for them to make decisions? Who had to be involved? If the process drags out, try to determine whether the company is taking a long time to get back to you because they are disorganized, or if it’s just taking longer than expected to meet and evaluate candidates.

How do they communicate?

One of the key elements you want to assess is how employees communicate and share ideas. As a job seeker, you should ask a potential employer questions about how communication works within the company. Ask if management is receptive to feedback or suggestions from their staff. Also, pay close attention to how employees interact with each other when you arrive at the office for your interview. Do they smile and greet each other in the hall? Do they ignore one another? The way employees interact can offer great insight into how communication works on a daily basis.

What does the office look like?

Take advantage of any opportunity you are given to see what the day to day operations of the office look like. Consider what they employees are wearing as well as what the office itself looks like and how the individual workspaces are arranged. Do employees sit in cubicles, or is there an open-concept layout? Are people using up-to-date technology, or older computers? Can you see groups of people chatting, or do you hear complete silence? Answering all of these questions will allow you to get an idea of whether or not the company’s culture is in line with your own personal social and working styles.

Don’t expect to find your own personal utopia at every workplace.  Even under the best of circumstances, there’s likely to be some elements that you are not totally happy with.  As long as the overall corporate culture promises to be one that provides you with the a happy work environment, support when you need it, and the chance to progress as the years pass, then you can feel more confident signing on that dotted line.