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How to Tell if a Company is a Good Culture Fit For You

Employers and job seekers alike are beginning to understand the importance of culture fit during the hiring process. Skills alone may not be enough for a successful match.

For both parties to thrive together, employees and employers need to share the same core values and attitudes toward work. And while some of this alignment can't be predicted during the hiring process, it make senses for both interviewer and interviewee to ask meaningful questions to catch both red flags and signs of a promising connection.

Culture fit: what to expect from your employer

During the selection process, your employer will be looking for candidates who can get along with the established team. Expect and prepare for interview questions such as, "How do you feel about high pressure team deadlines?" and "Can you describe how you typically navigate interpersonal conflict?" If group cohesion is already strong, the new member will ideally fit in quickly. As the candidate, you don't know what this means (since you haven't met the team yet). This brings us to the next point.

Be honest

These questions have no right answer; your personality either fits the culture or it doesn't. Don't guess what your employer wants to hear. Instead, answer as honestly as you can. Keep in mind that if you fudge your responses and try to act like someone you're not, you won't win. Rather, you'll just game your way into a job that makes you miserable. Don't stress, you have control too.

As questions, listen closely to the answers

Contemplate what you want from workplace culture before your interview. Turn the tables at every opportunity. Try asking the following questions, and read between the lines when your interviewer answers.

"How would you describe the culture here?"

"Are you looking for a traditional approach, or a more unconventional style?"

"Are you looking for someone who will shake up things, or are you looking to replace the departing employee?"

"As I mentioned earlier, I'm interested in exploring new opportunities and possibilities in a specific area of this business. Will I be able to do that here?"  

Look around

In addition to listening, look around. When you walked into the workplace to attend this interview, what did you see? Be mindful of details, such as how you were greeted when you entered. Did the approach jive with your personality? Look at the current employees. Is this place populated by burned-out, anxious employees, or do your future coworkers seem happy, friendly, and thriving? Check out the space as well. Is it safe and clean? What vibe do you get from this room, your interviewer, and the building in general? Don't ignore the cultural clues and cues that are in place all around you.

For more on how to get the most out your interview session and accurately assess if this position is right for you, turn to the guidelines and tips on MyPerfectResume.

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