There is nothing more frustrating for a candidate than being told you’re not a good culture fit for a job. It’s the worst kind of post-interview feedback a hiring manager can give. Firstly, it gives you nothing to improve upon for your next job interview. More than that, it’s also a bit disheartening to be told, “We don’t think you’ll fit in here”. So should candidates worry about being a good culture fit in their next job interview? Read on to find out why you shouldn’t dwell on it. We’ll also take a look at how you can significantly improve your chances of getting the position you want.
What is Culture Fit in Staffing?
Whether or not hiring for culture fit is good practice is open for debate. Nevertheless, when hiring people, some managers assess individuals suitability for a role based on whether they are a good fit for their workplace culture.
There are situations where hiring for culture fit works well. This is where managers look for individuals who display the same values and beliefs as their business. The theory is that employing people who fit in well with the existing team contribute to a long-term harmonious work environment. When properly managed, this leads to improved employee retention and job satisfaction within the current team.
Although, many less experienced managers often base hiring decisions on how similar applicants are to themselves or existing team members. Or to bring it down to a more basic level; Is this the kind of person we would like to go for Friday night drinks with after work?
Employers who assess candidates on this basis run the risk of discrimination throughout the hiring process. Regardless, many inexperienced hiring managers find it difficult to see past an interviewees personality. Where this is the case, no matter how well-qualified they are, unless a candidate’s personality fits their ideal, they won’t receive an offer.
Fortunately, most larger organisations have human resources and talent acquisition teams to keep the interview process in check.
Reasons a Company’s Culture Might Not Be Right For You
Regardless of what an employer thinks of you, you must consider whether their corporate culture fits you. For example, let’s say you’re someone who likes to keep their head down and concentrate on work. If so, you might not enjoy working in a lively IT sales environment.
Conversely, if you’re a creative, hands-on type who likes to get stuck in, you would probably be unhappy in an office where people very rarely speak to one another.
Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Culture Fit
It’s tough to be told by an employer you want to work for that you won’t fit in, but let’s consider the alternative for a moment. Let’s say you want to work for a particular company because they pay higher than average salaries. However, you can tell from their website that to work there would require pushing yourself way beyond your comfort zone.
Nevertheless, you prepare answers for interview questions that are not untrue, but portray you as more outgoing than you are. You attend a job interview, the interviewers buy into what you have to say, and you receive a job offer.
Then three months down the line, you’re unhappy at work because you’re finding it difficult to settle in. The rest of your team are lively and outgoing, and you find them hard to relate to. You soon realise that the high salary is not worth the stress you have to go through to earn it.
Now you’re right back to square one, looking for a new job. Only this time, you have to convince a new employer that you won’t leave after three months if they hire you.
If you found yourself in this situation, wouldn’t you wish you’d been more yourself in the interview, knowing that the company culture wasn’t a good fit for your personality? Surely being turned down for a job offer would be preferable to working in an environment that’s not right for you?
How to Assess Whether an Organisation’s Culture Fits You
Before entering any job interview room, you must do your research. A look at the company’s website will only tell you what they want you to know about them. Therefore, you should also look at their social media feeds and read other employee reviews on Glassdoor.
Once you get invited to an interview, make sure you ask questions about their workplace culture. For example, what do the interviewers like most about the company culture? After all, they are employees of the business.
It can also help to work with a reputable recruitment agency. Recruitment consultants will endeavour to match you with employers whose culture is a good match for your personality.
How to Give the Impression You’ll Fit
You never know when you meet anyone for the first time whether or not you will get along. The same is true when meeting any new employer. However, there are certain soft skills, or character traits that every hiring manager loves and which good culture fit people possess. They are:
- A keenness for learning and developing your skills
- Teamworking skills
- Communication skills
- Creative thinking and problem solving
Think of examples where you have displayed these qualities in your current role, and consider how you can work them into your responses to interview questions.
A Few Final Thoughts on Culture Fit
If an employer doesn’t progress your job application for cultural reasons, maybe you should consider it a blessing. This advice may sound harsh, but not receiving an offer from a discriminatory manager will probably be preferable to working with them. Just imagine the daily friction and stress you would have to endure working with people you don’t get along with.
Although, just because you don’t fit in here, it doesn’t mean you won’t fit in anywhere. There’s a perfect job match out there for everyone, so there’s no sense trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
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