The Culture Fit

It’s hard to imagine much worse than putting in all the time and effort it takes to find a new position, and then realizing too late that the organization is not a cultural fit for you. Each step of your job search process gives you the opportunity to confirm, then reconfirm your goals, and determine how your next role can fulfill them. With so much of your daily life spent at work, finding an environment that will best support your success is critical to career development, productivity and personal happiness.

To make sure you select the right culture, keep these simple checklists in mind in each stage of your search process:

1. As you begin
It’s important to ask yourself some tough questions as a first step so you have clear answers to guide your search.
Have a clear understanding of
• How do you work best?
• What are your values?
• What do you want to achieve from this position?
• How will a specific type of team/company structure/manager help you achieve that?

2. Reach out to your network
Once you have a clear understanding of what you want, reach out to your network to let them know you’re looking for new opportunities. While it’s important not to recycle your same message over and over, you should try to:
• Have a consistent message. Don’t be tempted to change your values just because a different opportunity comes up
• Contact people who understand your vision; their network will probably reflect their values.
• Show your value through actions, not words. Comment on relevant articles, attend events and share or create content that shows your expertise. Don’t just tell people you’re an expert – be one.

3. Interviewing
Once you’ve found a great company and begun the interview process, make sure they live up to your expectations. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about how each level of the company operates. You should leave the interview with a clear understanding of the cultural values of your manager, team and the organization as a whole. During the interview, take note of things like:
• How does your manager communicate?
• How does the team rally around actions and goals?
• How is success measured and communicated?
• What opportunities exist for you to participate in what is important to you?

By first identifying what’s most important to your success, and staying focused on how those elements surface in each stage of the job search, you can avoid the lure of an empty title or lofty salary, and make sure you choose the role that’s right for you.

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