Career Advice for the Smart Job Seeker

Insights on elevating your resume, job search and personal growth

‹ JobLeads Career Blog Home
Avatar by Jan Hendrik von Ahlen
Share on
Facebook Linkedin Twitter Mail

What is Culture Fit & Why It Matters in Your Job Search

Culture Fit

What is culture fit - and why is everyone talking about it?

Culture fit is the idea that the ‘ideal’ employee possesses a set of behaviors, values, and beliefs that align with the organization’s own.

If both have similar preferences, then employees typically perform better and stay longer.

This is why many companies put a lot of effort into defining their culture, showcasing their values, and attracting like-minded people. Finding great fits can slash their long-term hiring budget and help retain loyal, motivated workers.

If you’ve ever heard a business describing itself as fast-paced, transparent, inclusive, challenging, progressive, and so on – that’s corporate culture. Closely linked is the image we have of a typical employee there.

To test this concept, let’s play a little game.

  • Google
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Chrysler
  • Tesla &
  • NASA
  • KPMG

When you read each of the names above, a mental image of the stereotypical ‘employee’ probably sprang to mind.

For example, if I say NASA, you might picture a nerdy, driven, collaborative person used to working hard and being passionate about very long-term end goals. Google? You’re probably imagining a brainy, youthful, casually dressed ‘Googler’ solving complex digital challenges in between ping pong and massages.

It’s not enough to assume one-culture-fits-all

When you’re looking for a new job, most people apply to anything and everything. They leave the guesswork about the company’s culture to the interview stage or beyond. Or never think of it at all.

Time and time again, it’s been proven that productivity and performance generally increase when everyone’s on the same page. You’re also more likely to stay longer if you’re working in an environment that reflects what’s important to you.

That’s why you need to assess the company’s culture before applying. What’s the point of considering a business that has a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality if you value a more relaxed approach?

Now that it’s clear why culture fit is crucial in your job search, how do you figure out which companies you’re a great fit for?

3 ways to identify the company’s true culture

1. Asses their values

Most companies publish these on their website, usually in the career portal or ‘About’ section. Their values give loads of insight into what type of culture they promote.

For example, Amazon is well-known for pushing its people to be super productive and take risks. Just doing what you were hired to do isn’t going to fly. You have to be constantly thinking about the next big idea. When you take a look at their values, it’s all there.

They are:

  • Customer Obsession
  • Ownership
  • Invent and Simplify
  • Learn and Be Curious
  • Hire the Best
  • The Highest Standards
  • Think Big
  • Bias for Action
  • Earn Trust; and
  • Deliver Results

Amazon’s values scream loud and clear that they demand hard work and big results. If you’re looking for a laid-back workplace, this probably isn’t it.

2. Check out employee review sites such as Glassdoor.

These are great platforms to learn what it’s really like to work there. Of course, take the most negative and positive reviews with a pinch of salt. Look at the majority experience to get an overall feel.

For example, ask “From your perspective, what’s it like to work here?” or “How would you describe the company’s culture?”. If the interviewer tell you, “We all work hard here, but we also play hard”, that probably means they pull long hours in a tense environment, then party hard on Friday night. Is that a great fit for you? Or would you run the other way?

By learning more about the company’s culture before applying, you could save yourself months or even years spent in an environment that won’t deliver career satisfaction.

Interested in learning more? Check out these fantastic resources by JobLeads:

JobLeads MasterClasses

For more insights, tips and strategies related to this topic, be sure to read our other articles: 7 Ways to Build Your Professional Brand & Stand Out to Employers & How to Prepare for Job Interviews with AI - Questions & Prompts

Related questions

How do companies measure or evaluate culture fit during the hiring process?

Companies evaluate culture fit during the hiring process using specific language in job postings and asking questions during interviews about values, behaviors, and work style alignment. Behavioral interview questions, hypothetical workplace scenarios, and questions about past work experiences are common methods used to gauge culture fit. Some companies involve multiple team members in the interview process for a broad perspective on candidate integration.

Can a company's culture change over time, and how does this affect employees who were initially a good fit?

A company's culture can indeed change over time due to various factors such as leadership changes, significant growth or downsizing, or shifts in the external business environment. Such changes may affect employees who were initially a good culture fit, potentially leading to reduced job satisfaction or alignment with the company's new direction. Companies can undertake change management strategies to help employees adapt to the new culture, emphasizing communication, training, and support to facilitate the transition.

Are there any potential downsides to prioritizing culture fit in the hiring process?

Prioritizing cultural compatibility in hiring can lead to a lack of diversity and unconscious bias. While aligning with the company's values is important, being too strict with cultural fit can exclude valuable candidates. Balancing cultural compatibility with a commitment to diversity is crucial for a dynamic and inclusive workplace.

Explore more articles