Culture Fit: A Graduate’s Guide
In your days leading up to your job interview with a prospective recruiter, you’ve already perfected an excellent personal pitch and rehearsed your answers to common interview questions.
Your résumé highlighted your skills and qualifications well. Or at least well enough to impress the recruiter who invited you to a job interview. Is a killer elevator speech and showcasing your strengths enough, though?
To seal the deal, you will need to have one trick up your sleeve – you need to demonstrate that you fit into the company culture.
What is cultural fit and why is it important?
Cultural fit in a workplace is how a job candidate would fit in with the culture of an organisation. Employers look for candidates whose values and beliefs fit well with the organisational culture.
When it comes to hiring, cultural fit is important because employees who mesh well with the company culture leads to increased job satisfaction. This also makes them productive and driven.
Showcasing your fit
Your résumé will do little to showcase your personal values and personality. As such, employers will assess your cultural fit by evaluating if your values align with theirs during a job interview.
Hence, when it comes to preparing for your job interview, you have to bear in mind that you will need to showcase positive traits and values – not just any of them, but qualities that would appeal to your recruiter.
How do you go about this?
1. Discover your prospective employer’s organisational culture
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; research is imperative during your job application process.
You may already have done your research to discover more about the job role and what skills to highlight in your résumé – but your research should also encompass the culture of the organisation.
Some employers have their core values spelled out explicitly in their company profile or in their vision and mission. But there are other ways you can learn more about their culture, which may not be overtly stated.
You can leverage your network by looking for contacts who are current or past employees of the company you are applying to. They can give you an insider’s overview of the organisation.
Alternatively, you can check out the organisation’s social media pages on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Take note of the particular value statements or keywords used in their posts.
Are they all about team culture and teamwork? Do they post about innovation and creativity a lot? Or do they highlight their corporate social responsibility by promoting their charitable initiatives on social media?
2. Connect the dots
With all of the above information you’ve gathered through your research, think about how it matches with what you are looking for in an employer. Does it align with your personal values and beliefs?
If your answer is yes, great! But you will have to be prepared to demonstrate your cultural fit by tailoring your interview answers to the culture of the organisation.
A common interview question, which will be your golden opportunity to showcase your fit, is ‘Why do you want to work in this company?’
Show that you’ve done your research about the company’s culture and values, and link them to your own. Go to the interview prepared with examples and anecdotes that link your experience and interests that align with the company’s values.
For instance, if they are big on giving back to society, you can talk about your experience of volunteering at a homeless shelter, or your stint at an animal welfare center.
What you say has to be true, of course. Don’t fabricate a story just to impress your recruiters. If you are caught lying, you’ll risk your getting the job all together!
If you don’t have any relevant experiences to mention, that’s okay. You can talk about a specific aspect of the company’s culture that interests you, which will also demonstrate that you’ve done your research.
For example, you can say “I enjoyed reading the team’s monthly performance reports published publicly on your company’s website. I want to work for a company that is open and transparent to both its employees and clients, and it is clear that this company practise these values.”