culture fit
Evaluating Cultural Fit

We’ve all been on job interviews and for the most part, here’s how it goes:

  1. You search for jobs that appeal to you or fit your qualifications.
  2. You prep for the interview, memorize the key buzzwords and phrases to artfully weave into your rhetoric while trying desperately to predict what questions will be thrown your way.
  3. After the interview, you agonize over your responses to the interview questions and wonder if the company believes you are the right fit. 

Upon receiving a job offer, you jump at the opportunity and accept. You start your new job, entirely unaware of the company culture that you are about to become an integral part of.  There’s not necessarily anything wrong with the above scenario, after all, a major aspect of the job search process is preparing for the interview and subsequently selling yourself in order to land a job. The problem that we often see however, and which consequently leads to unhappiness down the line, is that job seekers fail to research and evaluate the cultural fit of the company they are interviewing with. It’s a common mistake, but also one that can be easily avoided with a little extra leg work.


This seems like a no-brainer, but oftentimes jobs seekers only research the aspects of the company that they feel might be relevant during an interview, i.e. what they can use to impress interviewers. Take the time to research the company culture as well, including the work environment, office setup, after-hours events and activities, philanthropic endeavors, etc…


Once you have a better understanding of how a company operates, take the time to asses the type of worker you are, including the environments and managerial style that you respond best to. Ask yourself what’s important to you? For example, research continues to show that millennials are interested in working for companies that strive to make a difference in the community, so for millennials, finding a company that dedicates significant time and money to causes will be a strong fit.


A great way to gauge the company culture is to reflect on the interview process. Did they reschedule your interview multiple times? Was the interview setting and overall tone uptight or more relaxed? Was there a level of intimidation or openness? The interview process is not entirely indicative of a company’s culture but it will provide you with a few key insights.


Don’t just focus on the people you meet during the interview process; rather, look to all members of the team and all levels of the organization. If you have the chance, ask a few simple questions about how long they’ve been employed and what the company culture is like. Former employees are another resource. Not all former employees have an ax to grind, in fact, many will be open and forthright about their experience and why they chose to leave. Staff members are the key component of company culture, utilize them to discover more.

It’s important to remember that once you’ve joined a company, you will be spending 40+ hours a week spending your time immersed in the culture. It’s a large chunk of your life and as such should be considered carefully. Pinpoint what it is you are looking for and follow the proper steps to ensure that you are placing yourself in a company culture that not only makes you happy, but also helps you to thrive and reach your professional potential.

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