Are You a Cultural Fit??

Posted March 22, 2017 in Job Hunting Tips by Elizabeth Tischer


We all know that company culture is big news. For better or worse, it is how companies define themselves.

 Most companies have a culture that  is relatively closed minded and isn’t open to interpretation. You’d better be very sure that you’re a good fit for that culture, because it isn’t going to change any time soon---even—as some tell us—if it’s wrong.

Particularly tech companies seem to be trying to outdo each other in terms of having the coolest and most liberal culture and a workplace that is full of things like pool/ping-pong tables and open offices.

Before you allow yourself to get sucked into that job because of the awesome chair, it behooves you to find out if the company culture is something you can live with.

Do Your Homework

Finding out what kind of company culture exists. Is it  wildly political or simply middle of the road is in  your best interests. Is it very conservative or very liberal—and where do you land on those things.

The culture and more—how it is expressed --is something that you absolutely need to know prior to accepting a job offer.

If you’re primarily fiscally conservative, it’s something that will show in what you do. Many newer companies don’t advocate any type of conservative behavior.  If you are a skeet shooter and the company culture is rabidly anti-gun, as some executives have found out, it’s cause for dismissal that you don’t fit into that culture or environment. Conversely, if you are a green living advocate and the culture seems to be an old-school wasteful one, is that something you can live with?

What is Motivating to You?

In some cases that ping pong table or the floor to ceiling windows will do the job. You’ll be wildly productive and be happy there, no matter what the culture may be. You may not even notice your surroundings so long as you have intelligent people to stimulate your mind. On the other hand, that tiny cubicle may seem restrictive to you.

Do you seen an open office environment and you know that you work best without distractions? Do you like to bounce ideas so that big single office isn’t going to be helpful? Try to pinpoint what helps you to do your best work and what makes you do your worst work and figure out what kind of environment you can expect here.

If you’ve gone through the entire hiring process and come far enough to get an offer, presumably the company and the hiring manager see you as a good fit for the company culture. The question is, do you?

Ask Questions

There are some questions that you can ask that will give you clues as to the company culture. Just one or two questions may be all that you need to know to tell you whether you do or do not fit into the company. Here are some examples of questoins to ask the interviewer:

  • How would you describe the company culture that exists here?
  • Does your company seem to embrace  those who may not think precisely as they do? Is diversity welcomed?
  • What would you say are the biggest challenges for newcomers unaccustomed to the company's culture?

These are not difficult questions to answer, nor are they in any way confrontational, but they are important in that you'll know whether you may be a good fit.

Take a Closer Look at the Company Employees on Your Way Out.

What you see as you enter and leave can tell a big part of the story.

Take time to look around and see whether the company is full of people engaged and animated or whether most peple seem to be engaged  in their jobs.

It’s easy to be lured in by a private washroom, on tap ale and a catered lunch, but that doesn’t’ mean you’re going to be productive, or even overly happy in the new job. Take the time to explore the company and what their employees love—and hate—before you take the leap into the new job.

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