Have you ever received feedback from a recruiter that you have an excellent CV but are not a good fit for the company? It feels a bit unfair, doesn’t it? After all, you would be willing to adapt to the role and the work environment if it meant getting a good job.
Even though adaptability is a good skill to have, there is merit to an employee being aligned to the company culture and being a good fit.
What is company culture?
A company's culture is comprised of its values and norms. In other words, how the company goes about its work and how they deal with employees, clients and customers.
According to Business Dictionary a company’s values are the shared beliefs that act as a guideline in all situations. Often you will find the company’s espoused values listed on their website. See RecruitAGraduate’s values here. One example of a value from our company is to treat everyone with respect. This means that all of the RecruitAGraduate employees are expected to be respectful towards clients and candidates alike.
Business Dictionary also defines norms as more informal guidelines which are formed on a social level within the company. It is “the way we do things around here.” For example, it can be a way in which the company deals with it’s clients or service providers. A stereotypical example is colleagues going for a drink on a Friday night after work as a norm.
Why companies are looking for a good fit
A company wants to trust their employees to act in line with the company values without having to supervise interactions between its employees and customers or clients. It is less risky to employ a candidate whose values are aligned with the company values, as the candidate will act accordingly regardless of the situation in which they find themselves.
Secondly, when the company employs someone who struggles to fit in with the culture, they might have unhappy employees, and this can result in a high turnover for them.
Why should you care about fitting in
If the company values do not align with your personal values, you can be placed in situations where you feel uncomfortable with what you are required to do. The company might ask something of you that goes against your value system.
If the way you do things is far removed from the way the company does things you will become frustrated. Take the example of the Friday night drinking tradition mentioned earlier. If it is important for you to go to the gym or spend quality time with your family on a Friday after work, you may feel forced into something that is not important to you, ie. socialising with colleagues. When you do not engage with your colleagues in the way they do things, you could be excluded from other work-related activities.
So you are left feeling frustrated, unappreciated and doing something that goes against your personal values. All of these value-clashes will lead to you becoming disinterested in your work. This can put you right back into the job market, looking for something better.
How do you find out what the company culture is before you join?
Look at the company website for their values. Do a Google search on the company to see if there is anything in the news that can lead you to believe that their enacted values are not in line with what they demonstrate on the company website. Furthermore, you can also ask people who have interacted with the company or worked for the company as an employee as to what their experience has been.
Ask your recruiter to give you insight and guidance as to what the company culture is and whether he/she thinks you will fit in well. RecruitAGraduate has highly experienced recruiters who can guide you on this matter.
Ask the interviewer to describe the company culture to you and what some of the formal and informal aspects of this culture may look like.
Every organisation has its own set of cultural norms. You may or not may not fit in with those norms depending on your personal values. Try and find out as much as possible about the organisational culture before leaping into a new job and being disappointed.