During your job hunt, you might have come across the notion of “cultural fit” when it comes to choosing a company for which you want to work. It’s certainly true that you’ll have a better chance of getting hired if your values closely align with that of the employer. Plus, you’ll be happier working within a company culture you believe in.
The trick is figuring out how to convey to your potential employers that you would be a natural fit for their culture. Start by taking a look at these basic culture types, as defined by a Bank of America Small Business Community article, so you know what to emphasize on the job interview.
Appreciative Culture: Look for evidence of strong employee perks, and happy, satisfied employees on the company’s website and social media profiles.
How to fit in: Being positive throughout the hiring process is a great start. Appreciative culture companies are looking for passion, but not necessarily someone who is over-confident or very hung up on playing hard ball with salary negotiations.
How to fit in: Being able to demonstrate your dedication to customer service will serve you well, even if you were in a behind-the-scenes role. If you can connect the dots between your work and skills, and how it can benefit the end customer, you will make a great impression.
Family Business Culture: Family run businesses tend to take pride in their long-standing traditions, low employee turnover, and familial atmosphere.
How to fit in: It’s tough to join the “inner circle of trust” in an organization that prides itself on having the same core of workers for a long period of time, but it can be done. Interviewers will show preference to candidates who have a work history of learning and growing with minimal job hopping, so be prepared to explain the various steps in your journey, and why you chose to leave past jobs.
Innovative Culture: If you’re eager to join an energetic staff that is encouraged to take risks and develop new products and ideas, an innovative company is for you. But that could mean long work hours, possibly at the expense of work/life balance.
How to fit in: Expect a lot of wacky job interview questions that really test how your brain works. Innovative companies want to know how you think and how you solve problems, more so than what you did at your last job or where you went to school.
Trust-Based Culture: Companies that care about transparency will probably be very forthcoming about their open positions, even disclosing salary offerings right up front.
How to fit in: Such a company cares about your hopes, dreams, and values, so be ready to talk about where you see yourself in five years, and other aspirational questions. The key here is to be completely honest (which you should be anyway), as far as your achievements, job history, and other claims you make, because if you seem untrustworthy in any way, you can forget about a job offer.
Knowing about company culture before you head to a job interview can give you an advantage, or at least a clue as to what the employer might be most interested in. If nothing else, it can help you identify which positions are even worth applying to.