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Are you currently job searching but are concerned that you will again end up in the wrong place for you even if you thought it would be the perfect one?  Do you feel that no matter what you do you will never really know what you are getting into until it is too late to turn back?  If so, then you are probably not approaching your search from the right angle, the “culture angle”.

The Culture Angle

While researching employers, you are sure to have come upon claims of unique and superior cultures; cultures that can provide you, as a job seeker, with a platform to do your best work, realise your career aspirations and achieve your full professional potential.

But what exactly is a company’s culture and how does it impact you as a job searcher? 

And I must begin by clarifying what culture is not!  It is absolutely not an all-you-can-eat style cafeteria or gaming room with bean bags, neither is it an in-house or on-demand masseuse or whatever other crazy fads are out there!  It is so much more than that.

A company’s culture is its personality.  It is the shared values, beliefs and attitudes that characterise members of an organisation and determine how employees and management deal with and handle internal and external business transactions.  It is a key contributor to a company’s success or failure.

Which takes me to the subject of this blog, the “Culture Fit”.  What is culture fit and why is it important?  Culture fit refers to the alignment between an organisation’s culture and an individual’s values, beliefs, and attitudes.  The greater the alignment the better the culture fit.

Business and HR leaders are increasingly recognising the importance of hiring people that are a good cultural fit for their organisations.  Research has shown that it reduces turnover and improves productivity, employee engagement, cohesion, and communication. 

Culture fit is also important for an employee.   Studies have revealed that employees who are a good cultural fit with their organisations tend to fit better with their co-workers as well and generally have greater job satisfaction and better performance and are more likely to remain with their organisations longer. 

How to find a culture that fits?

How do you navigate aculture fit?  How do you go about pursuing your dream job at your dream company? 

What it comes down to is a 3-step process as follows: [i]

  1. What do you want – Look within

The first step is to identify what kind of culture you want to be in.  This may sound simple but really it is the most difficult and most important step, because it requires you to look within, and to reflect on your past experiences (professional and personal) to identify what environments work for you and what environments you like (sometimes those are not the same and it is important to understand why).  What are the values, beliefs, and attitudes that you need to surround yourself with to do your best work and feel fulfilled and satisfied?

  1. Learn what Culture the Company has – Do your research

But how do you do that?  Basically, use the myriad of resources available to you to get a 360-degree view of the company.  Check out their website, employee testimonials and reviews, news articles and press announcements, etc. Anything you can find that will draw a picture that is as accurate as possible of the company and its culture is fair game.  Learn about their mission and vision, their core values, what their employees are saying about them and whatever other information you can get your hands on.  After all, knowledge is power and that is just as true in this context.

  1. Align – And that goes both ways

Armed with your newfound knowledge about your dream company and your certainty of what you want and need to thrive, it is now time to act.  This step consists of two parts, first you need to be sure that the culture is indeed what you deduced and is a good fit for you.  One way to do this is by asking your own questions during your interview, some suggestions include:

  • How does the company support individual career growth and professional development?
  • Do you encourage risk-taking? What happens if that risk fails?
  • How do people give and receive feedback?
  • What does success look like at this company, and how is it recognized?
  • What’s the best thing about working here?[ii]

Listen carefully to the answers and don’t hesitate to dig deeper.  Those responses can tell you whether this is the place for you or not.

Next you need to sell yourself to the company and show them that you are their ideal candidate.  That while many others may be similar to you in terms of functional skills, the skills needed to do the job, you also happen to be an excellent cultural fit.  Convince them that you did your research, you understand their mission and vision and can get behind it 100%.  Give them examples of achievements and incidents that show that your values, goals, and beliefs are aligned with theirs. Put it in your resume or cover letter then be prepared to elaborate on it in your interview. 

While this may sound overwhelming and maybe even complicated, what it comes down to is knowing what you want and going after it with everything you have.

Now Happy Hunting and Good Luck!

[i] As found on https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hiring-job-searching-importance-culture-fit-peter-perez/

last viewed on 08/09/2021

[ii] As found on https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/show-cultural-fit-job-application/ last viewed on 08/09/2021

Hunt a Culture, not a Job!