How to Know if You’re a Good ‘Cultural Fit’ for an Organisation

Emma Plummer at Anne Corder RecruitmentBeing a good cultural fit for an organisation benefits both you and your employer. You’ll be happier and more satisfied in your work environment and your employer will have an engaged, happy employee who is less likely to leave.

Not only that, but a great cultural fit leads to happier employee, which many argue leads to increased productivity. The University of Warwick led research into the subject in 2014 and the results suggested that “happiness made people around 12 per cent more productive.” (You can read the full research here).

However, the CIPD’s research, Employee Outlook for Spring 2014, highlighted that “55 per cent of employees want to work in an organisation with a ‘family feel’ where leaders are viewed as mentors or parents” but out of those people “46 per cent say they actually work in a formalised and structured place governed by procedures.”

Statistics like these show that a significant proportion of employees aren’t happy with their current work culture – feeling they want a different structure at work.

If you’re looking for a new job and want to decide where you’ll be a good cultural fit, start by establishing what kind of working culture is right for you. List what you consider to be a priority in a workplace and always keep them in mind when you’re job hunting. For example, you may want to think about:

  • Team dynamics: what is the team like that you’ll be working with?
  • Social environment: how important is the social side of work to you?
  • Flexibility: is flexible working offered and would it be a big bonus to you?
  • Structure: as with the CIPD’s research, would you rather more of a ‘family feel’ or does your work ethic suit more of a ‘formalised’ structure?

With those points in mind, have a read of our tips on researching whether an organisation will be the right fit for you:

Pre-application research

Before you even start your job application do some basic research into the organisation you’re interested in. With the Internet at our fingertips it’s surprising how much you can find out about an organisation and what it’s really like to work for them. But it’s equally important to remember that talking to people, colleagues, friends and family, can be just as beneficial when it comes to understanding whether you would be a good cultural fit for an organisation.

Here are our top tips for researching an organisation before putting in an application:

Ask your recruiter for information

Your recruitment agency will be the point of contact between you and an organisation, and a reputable recruitment agency will be able to tell you all you need to know about the organisation.

Ask the recruiter for their opinion, how they see you fitting in and where you can find out more. Recruiters are experts in hiring people for the perfect role, so if they’re putting you forward for a role they should have already considered whether the workplace would be right for you.

Find out more about how we make sure candidates are placed in the right roles in our case study: Finding the right candidates for the right job at the Frontline Group

Beyond your recruiter, ask friends and family if they know the organisation or anyone who has worked there. See if you have any connections in common on LinkedIn. By talking to current employees you’ll be getting first-hand information on the corporate culture.

Using social media to understand corporate cultureMake the most of social media

Social media can tell you a lot about some businesses – from how current employees interact with them through to the tone and how they communicate with their audience.

On Twitter, for example, you may find ‘employee brand advocates’ who have professional accounts to tweet about their work and more. Do a quick search for the brand name and see what profiles come up!

On LinkedIn, you’ll be able to find out more about current employee’s professional backgrounds.

Instagram and Facebook may show you more about the ‘personal’ side of a business – how employees interact with the pages and share the content. The Muse has a really clever article about how one job seeker used Instagram to see what kind of content employees were sharing. Read the article here.

The organisation’s website

A lot of organisations will have a dedicated section for those interested in careers. Have a browse of this section and see what kind of person they’re looking for. Make sure you also have a look at the wider website and find out more about the organisation’s values and maybe even take a look at their current team in any ‘meet the team’ profiles.

Industry news

Search online and in industry magazines for news about the organisation – this could prove to be useful insight into other’s opinions of the organisations and how they position themselves in the market.

In the interview

Once you’ve done your pre-application research and you feel the organisation is right for you, make sure you still ask the right questions when it comes to the interview. This is your chance to hear more about the organisation straight from the decision makers!

Ask about corporate culture

There’s no point avoiding the subject – and employers will often see it as a positive that you want to know more about the organisation’s culture, seeing it as a sign that you’re eager to be a great cultural fit. Ask them:

  • Can you describe the corporate culture to me?
  • What sort of person do you think fits in well with your team?
  • What is your favourite part of working here?

Dig deeper into the job description

Take the opportunity to find out exactly what they meant by the qualities they listed in their job description. For example, if they said they were looking for a team player ask them what they consider to be the most important characteristics of a team player – someone who interacts with the team well on a personal or professional level? Or someone who takes their fair share of the workload?

See how they interact with each other

One of the benefits of having a panel interview (although it may seem more intimidating than a one on one!) is that you’ll have the chance to see how the panel interacts with each other. It will give you some insight into working relationships within the business.

Learn from experience

Finally, remember what you did and didn’t like about organisations you’ve come across in past experience. Keeping such points in mind will guide you towards knowing what your real priorities are.

Inevitably there will always be elements of an organisation that you’re not so keen on, but try to be critical and take into account what you consider most important. After all, being happy in your job is important and a being a great cultural fit is a big part of that!

Do you have any tips on how to find out if you’re a good cultural fit for an organisation? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

Emma Plummer

Emma Plummer

Recruitment Partner

Emma blogs for the ACR jobseekers’ blog covering tips on how to stand out, managing the job-hunting process and more.