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Poor fit to an organization and its culture are some of the biggest work stressors an individual can face. Today, we share our tips on how to figure out your cultural dealbreakers to help you find the right fit when looking for that next role. 

Extensive research has been done on the impact of a person’s fit to an organization. Results show that employees that have a good fit tend to be more satisfied and committed and less likely to leave. Research also shows that you can accurately predict your own fit to an organization during the interview process. This leads to higher levels of satisfaction if you pick a company that matches your values and cultural preferences. So what can you do to make sure you are picking a company that’s the right for you?

Evaluate Your Preferences

In order to understand how you would fit to a company culture or a specific team, you need to understand your own preferences and values. Below are a some questions to ask yourself to figure out the type of organization you want to work in. Take some notes as you walk through the following section to remind yourself of what you want when going through the interview process.

Do you like brainstorming with a team? Think about your preferences in the workplace to help you find the right fit!

1. Innovation and risk taking

Are you interested in innovating and taking risks at work? Do you want the flexibility to test new processes or procedures when you think there’s a chance for improvement? Are you comfortable taking those types of risks at work? Or do you prefer an environment where you don’t have to take risks?

2. Management focus on people

When making decisions, do you want management to take the impact on the people into account or focus more on business outcomes? Do you like to focus on the bottom-line?

3. Working in teams

Do you prefer to work in teams or work on your own? Do you like being independent in your tasks? Do you like brainstorming with a team when working on a project?

4. Competition

Do you enjoy working in an environment where you are competing with others? Do you like competition in achieving goals or completing tasks? Or do you prefer a collaborative environment where your win is everyone’s win?

5. Stability

Do you like to work in an environment where there’s continuous change and adaptation in order to grow the business? Do you prefer stability where any changes are implemented slowly and thoughtfully?

6. Structure

Do you enjoy having a specific job description and knowing exactly what’s expected of you? Or do you prefer having a more ambiguous role? Do you enjoy a clear hierarchy and structure – where you know everyone’s roles and who to go to for specific things? Or do you like a more flat organization?

7. Management Style

Do you thrive being left alone to complete your work, only reaching out to your manager for questions? Or do you prefer a manager that is more hands-on and involved in your tasks and projects?

8. Career Growth

Do you want leadership that coaches and develops you to the next level or to meet your career goals? Or do you prefer to manage your professional development on your own? Do you want to be able to change job titles often or prefer to stay stable in one role for a longer period of time?

These are just some of the things to consider when figuring out the type of company culture you want. Think about your own experiences too. What did you like at your previous jobs? What didn’t you like?

Ask Lots of Questions

Now that you understand what you want out of a culture, take that information into your next job hunt. Make sure you are asking a lot of questions throughout your interview process about a company’s culture and work environment. Ensure your questions are specific, addressing the areas discussed above. Also, ask everyone you talk to! You want to hear various perspectives to make sure you have a full picture of what it is like to work there.

Make sure you have a good grasp of the company culture before agreeing to take a job!

I would also recommend you take lots of notes. It’ll help you sort through what was said when you are in the decision making process. It’s easy to go on your gut feelings when making a job decision but being able to compare answers across interviews can help give you more concrete data to use.

Next Steps

If you have the luxury to turn down a job due to possible poor fit, take advantage! It is much less stressful to continue in your current role and look for that ideal fit than switch jobs multiple times.

If you don’t have that luxury, take note of your disconnects and make a plan! How can you reduce the impact those issues might have? For example, if your manager is less involved than you’d like them to be, speak up. When you have your first one-on-one with your new manager, tell them that you prefer having guidance and a hands-on manager. Ask them if you can brainstorm on ways to help provide you that guidance to make you feel more comfortable in your new role. If you think this new role will create a lot of stress and aren’t sure how to fix the issues, plan on ways to help you manage that stress outside of work. Check out our content on managing stress, such as our articles on mindfulness, yoga, and journaling. Also, keep an eye out on future content diving deeper into cultural fit!

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you! Have you found a company culture that you enjoy? What makes it so special? If not, what are you looking for in your next company? Comment below! We’d love to hear from you!



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