As I’ve gone through the last five years of my career, my job search has stayed relatively the same. When I’m searching for writing jobs, it doesn’t matter what the industry is, the job descriptions are all virtually the same. Except that, over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of companies squeezing in witty little remarks, hidden questions, and seemingly ridiculous proclamations about what goes on in their office every day. [Example: I just read one that mentions bike races in the office…how does that even happen?]


Have offices always been this fun and crazy? Am I just working in the wrong ones? Why don’t we have a fully stocked kitchen or scooters to buzz through the hallways in my office? How do I get to work at one of those places?


You’ve got an opportunity to create a company culture and an employment brand that differentiates your organization, attracts smart, innovative, and energetic candidates, and keeps the ones you already have interested, happy, and excited. In an economy that is on the recovery track, people can start being choosy about where they work. And I don’t know about you, but if I’m looking at the same job description over and over and one of them mentions they have an adult ball pit for a conference room, where do you think I’m going to apply?


Here are some really important things to remember when it comes to your employment brand:


Even if I don’t work there, I can find out what it’s like there. It’s SO easy to gauge company culture these days. Whether I reach out to a friend of a friend on LinkedIn who used to work there, search on Glassdoor or Indeed, there is probably some kind of record of how awesome, or how crappy, it is to work at your company. Bad press in this space is 100% not good press. Unless you’re trying to hire people who love being miserable.


I may give you a shot, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stay. I’ve stayed in jobs I didn’t like because I loved the people I was around and had a great time while I was at work. It kept my productivity up even though I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the tasks I was doing. But let me tell you, it’s a lot harder to love and continue doing a job if you hate everything around you.


Practice what you preach. A lot of times, I’ll see companies who boast this fun, innovative, highly-productive culture, but when I’ve gone to interview, everyone in the office seems miserable and the follow up is wretched. Or, I’ll see a company who wants to differentiate, yet always retracts to the safe bet. Stay true to the brand you set forth and if you must divert, do it for the right reasons and not out of fear.


Be yourself. If you and your organization thrive in a more formal office setting, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. But consider what types of people do best in your company culture and keep that in mind when you’re reviewing and hiring candidates. One of the most important filters a candidate should pay attention to when choosing to accept or decline a job offer is if the office culture will work for them.


What are some of the AWESOME things you do in your office? How would you describe your company culture? Tell us in the comments!