culture fit: what is it and where do you fit in?

culture fit: what is it and where do you fit in?
You may have heard the phrase “culture fit” used throughout your job search. It might have appeared in job descriptions, applications, during an interview and even as part of a rejection from a job. But what does it really mean?

The first thing to know is that if you do not have the right “culture fit” for a particular business, it doesn’t mean that you won't fit in anywhere. In fact, it probably just means that you haven’t found your match with that employer.

Employers base “culture fit” on a number of factors, and every employer has different expectations for their business – put it this way, it’s impossible to "fit" into everyone’s culture.

Culture fit is as impossible to define, as it is to adhere to. 

Employers might be looking for a number of things when they look for the right culture fit – it could be based on values, belief, outlook and behaviour. 

Most of these elements, however, cannot be taught and will not be found in your list of qualifications. Here are some of the key factors employers look for in a good culture fit:

good team fit

Fitting in with the company might actually be more about the existing members of the team than it is about you. 

ability to connect with people 

The ability to connect with people is often a key part of “culture fit”. If you do not connect with you interviewer, then you may struggle to connect and thrive within the company.

leadership

Depending on the plan for the business, many employers will look for leadership qualities in potential employees. They may want to see how you would lead a team and evolve into a leadership role.

aspirations and goals

Many companies who are concerned with culture fit will ask you about your aspirations and goals for the future. This is something you cannot prepare for; your goals are central to you and you can only be honest about them.

care

This is important for a number of roles across a number of industries. “Care” can mean how much attention you pay to the little things, like your CV, or how well you take care of yourself or more importantly how you care for your community and surroundings. Different companies will have different levels of care required to meet their culture fit, but it always pays to care.

resilience 

Being tough and able to work through problems is a key trait of many successful leaders, and so employers will often ask questions around how you have successfully problem-solved in previous roles or even in your personal life. 

how can you fit in?

The simple answer is you can’t always fit in. Be yourself, there’s no use in pretending to be someone else in order to land a role and fit in with the business. If you do not fit in, then it’s something that cannot be faked. This doesn’t mean you have a personality deficiency or are unemployable, it just means you were not right for the company.

It’s also important to remember that culture fit is a two-way street – you may not want to work for a company because of their culture as much as they may not want you to work for them.
Posted: Thursday, 10 August 2017 - 8:00 AM