Cultural fit in the workplace is just as crucial as job fit, if not more so. After all, it doesn’t matter how qualified you are, if you don’t enjoy working at the company, your chances of success are on the slim side. That’s why it’s so important to not only know what you’re looking for in a company culture, but how to spot it amongst the sea of opportunities currently available in a candidate short market.
Here are five ways to learn how to find a role with the right cultural fit, both in the short and long term.
1. Compile Your Culture Wish List
It’s pretty hard to find the right cultural fit without first understanding your priorities. Spend some time reflecting on the following:
• Leadership style
Are you an autonomous worker, and prefer a manager that lets you get the job done as you see fit? Or do you appreciate collaboration and guidance as you work towards your goals?
• Working conditions
How important is work flexibility? Perhaps you’d like a work from home option, or some freedom around your start or finish times so you can squeeze in a gym session, beat the morning commute or pick up the kids a few times a week.
• Professional development
Where do your rank growth on your scale of ‘things most wanted in a job’? Maybe you want the chance to job shadow the top-performing sales executive in your team to learn some new tricks, or you might be keen to move up the ladder from Marketing Assistant to Marketing Manager. Consider the full range of professional development opportunities you’re after, from on-the-job learning to upskilling through external courses, as well as promotion prospects.
Being recognised for your hard work is essential to keeping your work happiness level high. Reflect on what suits you best – it might be in monetary compensation (such as an increased pay packet or bonus), or it could be your boss thanking you directly, such as by highlighting your top quarter results at a company level. It could very well be a combination of all.
2. Seek Out Some Proof
Now you have a better understanding of what’s most important to you in a company culture, the next move is to pop on your research hat. Here are some avenues to consider:
• Company website and socials
Many companies in Australia today are investing time in cultivating their employer brand. Aside from ensuring their consumer base receives a cohesive (and stronger) message about their business, it also gives potential employees a good taste of what it might be like if they come on board.
Have a browse through the company’s website. Do they clearly state who they are and what they stand for (i.e. their vision, mission and values)? Do they have evidence to show this in action (employee stories, customer testimonials, blog articles, photo gallery etc.)?
Repeat this research task on their social profiles, including LinkedIn. Then a take moment to imagine yourself working there based on what you’ve found.
• Online review sites
Websites such as Great Place to Work and Glassdoor contain plenty of reviews from real employees. It’s worth having a look to get a feel for what the culture is really like from those on the ground. Don’t let a few bad reviews put you off though. Try to take a ‘bird’s eye view’ to gauge the overall sentiment.
• Draw on your professional network
You might know someone who currently works at the company, or have a colleague or friend that does. If so, discreetly reach out to them and ask about the company culture.
Another great avenue for support is a professional recruiter, like us here at WOW Recruitment. As Sales, Marketing, Business Services and Technology recruitment specialists, we’ve helped many candidates find their ideal cultural fit. And along the way, we’ve gleaned a ton of insider info about each company’s culture, so feel free to have a chat with us.
• Attend networking events
Companies host a range of events throughout the year, from product launches to speaking engagements about industry issues, to award ceremonies. You might like to consider attending and then networking afterwards, as it’s yet another way to take their culture pulse.
3. Ask Your Culture Questions at Interview Time
It’s useful to remember that while your top priority is to make a good impression at a job interview, the process is a two-way street. A company that’s proud of its work culture will want to show that off during recruitment, especially as it goes a long way towards helping them secure the best talent with the right cultural fit.
As such, they’ll appreciate you attempting to understand how they tick by asking questions. Here are a few to consider:
1. What’s one thing that helps this company succeed that someone from the outside wouldn’t know?
2. How would you describe your company culture in three words?
3. Why do you like working here?
4. What things wouldn’t you change about this company?
5. How do you recognise employee achievements?
6. How do employees get feedback?
7. What kinds of people succeed here?
8. Is there a lot of collaborative work or is it mainly autonomous?
9. Do you hold social events or activities to build the team?
4. Be an Eagle-Eyed Observer During Your Office Tour
An office tour is a great way to get the lay of the land. Employers may offer to take you on one, but if they don’t, it’s okay to ask if you could see the space where you might potentially work. As you go about the tour, pay attention to your surroundings. Do workers seem content? Is their focus trained on their task or are they interacting with one another? How are the workspaces arranged? Are there break areas, a kitchen and so on? What’s the vibe like – loud, calm etc.?
After your interview, reflect on what you saw and consider whether you’d truly be happy working there.
5. Lean on the Professionals for Support
Picking a role that’s the right cultural fit can be a tricky task, but you needn’t go it alone. You can opt to take the savvy option by partnering with a professional recruiter (yes, us!) who keenly understands the importance of cultural fit between companies and candidates.
We can work with you to uncover your needs and match you with the most appropriate selection of opportunities. We can also help you fine-tune your interview culture questions, as well as support you in weighing up the pros and cons of each role to help you make your decision. Feel free to get in touch or give us a buzz on 02 8320 0683.