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Does the Culture Fit?

Job seekers usually get encouraged when they see a position posted online, or hear of an opportunity that fits their experience and skills very closely. They believe they may have found a viable role to land into.

And they’re right… it MAY be the right one.

However, what they often miss at that stage, is to consider whether they may be a good fit for the organization, the managerial style, and the team.

As much as employers are looking for someone with the skills and experience to fill a particular role, they are also looking for someone that will be a good fit to their culture.

It’s not at all unusual for someone to land into a new position that’s very well suited for their background, yet fail because there’s a corporate culture mismatch.

For the same reason, candidates should be evaluating and seeking a good fit for themselves as well. Jumping into a new job only to fail quickly is never good for a career.

So how do you determine, and then express the match effectively? Ask!

Doing research, and additional conversations in advance of an interview is critical. Then, an effective interview should always be a dialog, and not simply a question / answer session going in one direction.

Finding information about the company online that can point to their culture is important. What does their own website say? Check sites like GlassDoor.com. Often employees will comment on finance sites or other forums. Take what you read with a grain of salt. People are much more likely to vent online when they have a gripe than when they are happily going along in their jobs. However, if you see consistent themes, you can reasonably deduce that may be characteristic of the organization.

Furthermore, reach out to other employees of the company. Meet some for coffee if you can. Ask them questions about their own experience there. Ask them about how their career has progressed there, how they view the leadership styles, what they like most and what they like least about working there, and other questions. Those conversations can give you great insight, as well as questions that would be worthwhile to ask in the interview.

In the interview, let the hiring manager know that you have been doing some digging to learn more about the organization. Ask them about some of the comments you may have heard or read. Ask them their view of the organization, how they like to lead, how the team would describe the leadership style, and what they like to see from employees to help them determine if they will be successful or not.

If you find that the culture of the organization is a good match to your preferences, be sure to express that to them as well. Using examples is much more effective at making the point than simply stating what you think. Being able to show that you prefer a particular leadership style because that’s what you liked best from a former employer or other relevant situation where you were successful is more powerful than simply stating an opinion.

Although they may not ask many probing questions regarding your fit to the culture, it is always an area of interest and concern. If you can proactively learn and express the fit, you will stand out as a much more intuitive and impressive candidate.

Be sure to always consider the culture fit!


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Laura Kristina Stringer said...

I fully agree with you. There is no other way to find out about a potential company than asking and then asking again. And it is quite easy...using social media for instance. I send personal messages and I ask a helping hand. Needless to say I send a lot of thank you notes too.

Anonymous said...

Very good if you have time. AND... if you have time, go to networking groups related to the industry. Companies have reputations that are often widely known.

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