Culture Club

How important is the culture fit when you are considering a new role?

Written by: Sue Palmer
2 Minute read
Image: Culture club

How important is the culture fit when you are considering a new role? 

As a recruiter, I have had the opportunity to meet with many people over the years at varying levels of their career path and have discussed their reasons for being attracted to and for leaving companies. As a result, it is clear the importance of culture fit moves higher up our wish list as we mature and develop our career I can personally relate to this when reflecting back to my early 20’sconsidering the culture of a business would not have been a determining factor back then.  My slightly naïve wish list was led by the opportunity to developthe reward I would reap and the people I would be working with. I was slightly oblivious to culture and the impact it would have on my way of working and future career opportunities.   

As life moves on, we constantly reviewassess, and reassess, we learn what is important to us in terms of the external influences and the environment we work in, what we like and what we don’t like.  The ‘culture fit has become vitally important to me over the years, knowing I can operate as myself, in an environment I feel comfortable withcan be motivated bybe proud of and achieve that sense of belonging.    

As a recruiter, the question of culture is often posed to our clients and its interesting how different hiring managers in the same business can describe the culture in different ways which obviously leads to some confusion and poses the question of how much emphasis is placed on the culture.  Is it fair to say that some business cultures differ from team to team depending upon the leader and the nature of the work?  Quite possibly.  

Can you have a team culture within a business culture? Almost certainly. 

In many cases, people will interpret how they personally feel at work and define this as the culture of the business.  

“Determine what behaviours and beliefs you value as a company and have everyone live true to them. These behaviours and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as culture.”  Brittany Forsyth, VP of Human Relations, Shopify  

There is no right or wrong culture of courseit will be specific to the organisation for valid reasons and hence help to define and attract the right people attributes, styles and ethics.  What is fundamentally important when considering a move into a new business is being able to identify the culture you fit so you can enjoy the environment and excel in what you do.  How do you assess the culture of a business, as part of your candidate journey you can glean information from your recruiter, review company feedback online and connect with people already at the business to find out more.  Some companies have an obvious culture whilst others are more subtle.  Do your due diligence and consider incorporating a question regarding company culture into your interview the answer given will provide you with a good feel as to how defined and important the culture is within the business. 

Its fair to say cultures will evolveyou will change too, the right culture fit in your 20’s is likely to change over the decades, you may seek something a little more driven, with higher expectations to push and test yourself or possibly want to slow down a little in a softer culture.   

“Our culture is friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove, we’ll settle for intense.  Jeff Bezos, Founder, CEO, Amazon  

I consider myself very fortunate that by luck, rather than judgement when I started my recruitment career I landed in a business that had a culture with a team mentality an environment whereby mistakes could be made and learnt from, people worked hard, were loyal and supported each other – a non-egotistical team with a common goal.  This was perfect for me and I flourished, however, some of the more salesy aggressive recruiters just didn’t enjoy it, they missed the typical ‘80’s recruitment culture, they wanted to come to work for a fight (metaphorically speaking).  Some moved on and some saw the benefits to such a refreshing culture, refined their style and grew as a result. As the culture became more embedded and the business started to grow a hiring strategy and interview process was honed to ensure new hires ‘fitted’ the business culture.  

Over the years having met many recruiters and candidates I feel fortunate that I stumbled across a business in the earlier part of my career that gave me the opportunity to ‘enjoy’ working in a ‘safe’ and productive environment.  The most successful companies are aware their success depends on their employees and create cultures that encourage their people to grow and develop. 

Nicely summed up by Richard …… 

“There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group