As the job seeker, you usually get encouraged when you see a position posted online, or hear of an opportunity that fits your experience and skills very closely. You believe you may have found a viable role to land into.
And you are right… it MAY be the right one.
However, what you often miss at that stage is the following –
To consider whether or not you may be a good fit for the organization, the managerial style, and the team.
As much as employers are looking for someone with the skills and experience to fill a particular role, they are also looking for someone who will be a good fit to their culture.
For the same reason, you should be evaluating and seeking a good fit for yourself as well. It’s not at all unusual for you to land into a new position that’s very well suited for your background, yet fail because there’s a corporate culture mismatch.
Jumping into a new job only to fail quickly is never good for a career.
So, how do you determine, and then express the match effectively? Ask!
Doing research, and additional conversations in advance of an interview is critical. Then, an effective interview should always be a dialog, and not simply a question / answer session going in one direction.
Finding information about the company online that can point to their culture is important.
- What does their own website say?
- Check sites like GlassDoor.com.
- Often employees will comment on finance sites or other forums.
Take what you read with a grain of salt. People are much more likely to vent online when they have a gripe than when they are happily going along in their jobs. However, if you see consistent themes, you can reasonably deduce what may be characteristic of the organization.
Furthermore, reach out to other employees of the company. Meet some for coffee if you can. Ask them questions about their own experience there:
- How their career has progressed there.
- How they view the leadership styles.
- What they like most and what they like least about working there.
- And other questions that occur to you or reflect your concerns (career paths, employee turnover, concern about recycling, women in leadership, etc.).
Those conversations can give you great insight, as well as questions that would be worthwhile to ask in the interview.
Culture Fit Questions During the Interview
In the interview, let the hiring manager know that you have been doing some digging to learn more about the organization. Ask them about:
- Some of the comments you may have heard or read.
- Their view of the organization.
- How they like to lead.
- How the team would describe the leadership style.
- What they like to see from employees to help them determine if they will be successful or not.
If you find that the culture of the organization is a good match to your preferences, be sure to express that to them as well. Using examples is much more effective at making the point than simply stating what you think. Being able to show that you prefer a particular leadership style because that’s what you liked best from a former employer or other relevant situation where you were successful is more powerful than simply stating an opinion.
Although they may not ask many probing questions regarding your fit to the culture, it is always an area of interest and concern. If you can proactively learn and express the fit for them, you will stand out as a much more intuitive and impressive candidate.
Be sure to always consider the culture fit!
For More Information:
See Job Interviews: How to Ask the Right Questions for insight into the two-way aspect of job interviews, plus more questions to ask.
About the author…
Harry Urschel has over 25 years experience as an independent recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @HarryUrschel and on LinkedIn.