Culture Fit 101 – What to Look for During the Job Search

Dear Jess,

I am starting a stealth job search and could use some advice.

The company I work for isn’t a good fit for me–I realize this now. It’s never been  the right match.

It’s always felt like I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I thought I was coming to a great company, well liked in the community with a great reputation. Instead I stepped into a negative place where my ideas constantly get turned down, it’s gotten to the point I have stopped giving my suggestions. I go to work, “punch in” do my work and go home. I am not happy, but I don’t want to step into the same culture again.

Thank you!

Steph

 

Dear Steph,

Thank you for your note. I am so sorry to hear your company doesn’t value your input. Your superiors are too involved in their own challenges—perhaps owners, shareholders, board members, etc.—to miss the fact you are miserable. Your supervisor has the influence to keep you in the company or send you running. They aren’t keeping you engaged and challenged. It’s time for you to thrive somewhere else.

As you mentioned in your note, one of the major reasons you accepted the job is the reputation of the company. So, you are wondering how you got “duped” by these negative nay sayers in a culture mis-match!

Seven Tips for Job Seekers Craving Culture Fit  

  1. Job Posting – Some position postings are very straight forward in the basic requirements and duties. Other positions descriptions read as if two or three different jobs are within the same title. This type of job is lovingly referred to as a “Franken-job”. If the position seems impossible to accomplish, trust your gut. These positions pull from other overworked co-workers to create an odd position that has no direction.
  2. Organization Size – If you have experience working in large, mid-size or non-profit organizations, write down your likes and dislikes of each size organization. Do you work best in a non-profit setting with more autonomy or is a corporate hierarchy your perfect scenario? As you narrow down these organizational characteristics, it will help in the long term to know your ideal work space.
  3. Interview Process – Applying for a new position as an external candidate is a process for most, having to send a cover letter, resume, CV, college transcripts and other documentation. Just the application alone is cumbersome. If you find yourself in limbo for months, the company might be having larger internal battles. Just say thanks, but no thanks.
  4. Mission/Vision/Values – Does the organization proudly display their Mission/Vision/Values in their communication pieces, website, etc. and is it easy to understand? Mission statements shouldn’t be overly diluted or grandiose. If the company appears to be working towards a larger common goal, they are a keeper! Many organizations now encourage employees to be “passion fueled” to align with the company mission such as fitness, outdoors, health food, etc. this can also help narrow down your interest level with the company.
  5. Coworkers – Do coworkers smile at each other in the office, is there a general feeling of mutual respect as you are waiting in the lobby or conversing in the interview? It’s difficult to put your nerves out of the picture during an in-person interview, but try to keep your emotions in check when meeting your future co-workers for the first time. Are they excited and on time to meet you or are they scattered, late and confused during the interview? Paying attention to social cues, you will know if it is the right environment for you.
  6. Support – Flextime and the ability to work from home one or more days a week are among the most highly sought after benefit of the workforce. Before the interview, you might have access to the benefits guidelines on the company website to check flexible scheduling policies. Companies giving their employees the ability to work from home or have flexible hours, demonstrates trust and faith in workers and a culture that expects the best from employees.
  7. Trust- Trust comes from open communication. Do you feel like you can be open and honest with your current boss/leader? Career Love Collective has taken feedback from women all around the world to create our program plans. If you find yourself in a job you love, but leadership is overloaded and you are fed up–don’t leave. Just talk with us and we will help you put together a plan in an unbiased way. Contact us for a free 30 minute assessment.

Steph—good luck on your job search. You will find a new workplace that values your creative light. Take your time and don’t rush—you won’t be disappointed. Open floor plans, fancy coffee shops, jeans on Friday, full fitness centers, 401(k) benefits—all of these perks are amazing to anyone initially joining a company but there is more to a company than meets the eye.

Do you have a career related question? Contact me to be featured on “Ask Jess” or to get your own 30 minute assessment.

XOXOXO,

Jess