There are few worse feelings than acing an interview for your dream job, only to be turned down because you aren’t “the right cultural fit”.
Failing a job application is always a blow, but it can be especially depressing when the reasons for your rejection seem so personal. The unlucky candidate is usually left wondering what’s wrong with them: Did I come across sour and dour at interview? Should I have cracked a few jokes – or been more serious?
Don’t be disheartened. “Cultural fit” might be a nebulous, entirely subjective concept, but it’s key to your future happiness in a new job. Culture isn’t just about banter, office in-jokes and extra-curricula jollies to the pub: it’s about forging a team that works to the best of its capabilities; where each individual complements the others.
It’s about you, too. A good salary and perks are nice enough, but they are just gild on the lily of job satisfaction. You want to work somewhere that shares your own ethos, whether it is serious, career-oriented striving, or a more relaxed atmosphere of “one-for-all” camaraderie. Or it could be a question of ethics: you might have reservations for working on, say, Big Oil or tobacco accounts – and this is a cultural question even more important than whether workers have a laugh at the water cooler.
So, before your next job interview, don’t allow yourself to be seduced by the financial rewards and opportunities for job progression (important though these are!), but take the time to think about the culture you’ll be immersed in over the next five years or more.
We’ve put together a short checklist of things to consider:
Understand what you want
Spend time before your interview deciding what’s important to you in a job, and what sort of culture you feel you’ll thrive in. Think about team ethos, collaboration, social activities, how you prefer to work (and play!) with clients and colleagues – and put together a couple of questions that will draw this out from your interviewers.
Check the website
The company website is naturally your first port of call when researching a new job, so while you’re there have a look to see if they make a big thing of their corporate culture. Remember to take everything with a pinch of salt, especially if they sound like they’re trying too hard to sound fun ‘n funky – but it’s a good starting point.
Research their social feeds
Social media is often a better window into a company’s soul than its website. Have a look at how the business and its employees present themselves on their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. A little cyberstalking can shed a lot of light on whether your prospective employers are the type of people you want to work for.
Don’t be afraid to ask
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, this is the perfect time to delve into the corporate culture. Obviously they’re not going to admit it’s a dull place to work, but questions like “What do you look for in a new hire?” and “What do you think makes a great team?” will draw the interviewer into describing their cultural vision.
Meet and greet
Culture is all about people, so why not ask if you can meet some of the people you’ll be working with? First impressions count, so you’ll more than likely get a much better impression of the company culture in five minutes with future colleagues than an hour in interview.
We take the time understand our candidates as people first, and workers second. Drop us a line to discuss how we can find the right working culture for you.