on 20/09/2015 by admin



I read somewhere that in 2012, among the 50 most common questions asked in interviews were questions about favorite movies, favorite websites, and the last book a candidate had read in order to determine cultural fit.


But do these things really narrow it down when it comes to cultural fit? Do they really point to the most important aspects of it?


The general definition of company culture is the personality of a company and defines what a company, from an employee perspective, is like to work for. Company culture includes the company mission, values, ethics, expectations, goals, and work environment.


Out of these, values are one of the most important ones to investigate, as they are the fundamental beliefs of a person or a company.


Are you looking for complete job autonomy?


They are the ones settled deepest in who we are and the hardest to change or compromise on. If the values of a company and an employee are not aligned you might find the person struggles to find purpose in what they do, and feel unsatisfied with their job situation. Most companies have their core values outlined, so to incorporate them into the recruitment process and interviews should be a short step as long as the company is living them in the day to day operations.


If you are a candidate, you can benefit from understanding your own values when it comes to work before you assess if a company is the right one for you. You can do that by asking yourself questions around what is important to you in a job, how you want to work together with others, what is important for you to feel purpose and appreciation? Things like for example Integrity, Diversity, Change, Money, Influence Contribution, Personal development or Teamwork might surface and you will start to understand which fundamental prerequisites need to be in place for you to feel satisfied in a work place.


When it comes to the work environment, this is another aspect worth looking closer into. As a job seeker, you can look back at your previous experience to understand what kind of work environment you thrive in. Think about the best manager you had under which you performed to your best potential. What was it about that manager’s style that made you thrive under their leadership?


Were they structured? Open communicators? Did they challenge you and your ideas? Did they give you lots of encouragement along the way? Were you friendly or was it strictly professional? Did they regularly follow up on what you were doing and your results? Or did they let you do your thing and leave you alone?


Then think about a company where you’ve worked where you really felt at home. Where you felt engaged and committed and loyal. What was it about the company you really liked? Was it their passion for their product? Was it how they were keen on innovation and always open to new ideas and ways of doing things? Was it that there were procedures for everything so you always knew what to do and how? Was it that you always knew what was expected of you? Was it that everyone was approachable, even senior management?


…or for a team player who is great under pressure?


Then you can flip the cake and think about a management style you’ve been exposed to where you didn’t feel comfortable, and a company which you didn’t look forward to going every morning.


If you dig a little bit into questions like these you will soon get a good idea about what kind of culture that works for you. Once you have these defined you can take them into the interview and ask questions around them to your future employer to understand what that company is all about.


If you are an employer, the steps are similar. What kind of management style does the company have? How do you make decisions? How approachable is management? How open is the communication climate? How does feedback work in the organization? How rigid or flexible are the roles when it comes to content, responsibilities and authorities? How open is the organization to change?


These are some of the things you want to be looking at when you search for the right fit. Someone who is entrepreneurial who thrives by finding new opportunities around every corner, will only be fulfilled in a company where given certain leeway to work outside the given framework and go with their passion. Someone who needs a lot of structure and procedures will not feel safe in a startup environment where nothing is given and changes are constant. If your company values differences you do best in assessing whether your successful candidates are open minded and respect other individuals.