Sometimes there can be a drastic difference between the culture you’re exposed to when you’re being recruited vs the actual organization’s culture once you’re hired. It’s not unusual for companies to present themselves as ideal when they’re trying to lure high-quality candidates.

If a company wines and dines you, and tells you how terrific their work environment is, take into account their recruitment goals when deciding whether or not to accept an offer. Ask to speak with existing employees – similar to how employers seek references. If you’re looking for something specific like flexible hours or growth opportunities, ask people who already work there if what you desire is in keeping with how the organization actually runs.

There will almost always be a gap – large or small – between what you expect and what really is. In some instances you’ll be pleasantly surprised – delighted even. What you want to avoid is feeling like you stepped off the elevator into purgatory.