How to Determine a Cultural Fit (Hint: It Starts With You!)

Your job is more than just a paycheck. It’s a place where you spend the nearly 50 (or perhaps more) hours of your week. It’s office politics. It’s a place to socialize and collaborate with like-minded individuals. It’s a place for you to grow (or not grow!). According to a Gallup report, 63% of employees are not engaged at work, and 24% of employees are actively disengaged. This leaves a shocking 13% of workers who are engaged in the work that they do. In part, this is the fault of the employers, the fault of the industry, or the fault of the management… but let’s not pass the buck on this one. It’s time to ask yourself, are you a cultural fit for your company?

Determining a cultural fit starts with knowing yourself.

Self-awareness is key in determining whether a company is a cultural fit. Knowing what motivates you, what you’re good at, what type of people you like, and what your employer “deal-breakers” are will serve as the foundation for finding the perfect fit. One exercise that works to identify your employer framework is outlined in the famous book “What Color is Your Parachute?” Here’s how the exercise goes:

  1. Make a chart for yourself that has four columns
  2. In the first column, write down all of your previous employers (even your high school/college jobs)
  3. In the second column, write down everything that irritated you in each of those jobs
  4. In the third column, rank each of those irritating attributes in accordance with how much you dislike them
  5. In the fourth column, write the opposite of each attribute you wrote in the third column

This leaves you with a ranked list of the attributes that are most important to you in a company, and will assist you in articulating your non-negotiable's.

After you know yourself, get to know the company.

You’d be surprised how little research people do on the companies which they interview for. At the very least, peruse the company’s website, focusing on things like their mission, vision, and values. While most every company will have these components somewhere on their site, it may be hard to tell if they’re practicing what they preach from the website alone.

So, take it a step further. Look up employees who work at the company on LinkedIn. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” can’t really apply here. Are these people significantly older/younger than you? What is their summary like? Their experience? Knowing who works there will better help you picture yourself in the thick of the company’s culture. 

And yes, there’s always Glassdoor. Definitely go to Glassdoor and view the ratings for your company, but try to put some blinders on, as many of these reviews will be from angry former employees. Instead of reading and believing every review, scan the reviews for patterns. Do a lot of people complain about the management? Do the positive reviews seem a little too “fluffy” to be true? Take note.

Knowing whether a company is a cultural fit for you takes research and time. But at the same time, being a part of something you believe in will drive growth within yourself. Find a company that you can “drink the Kool-Aid” from, and don’t look back.

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About the author

Kate Jacoutot is a marketing consultant for Spire Workforce Solutions. To learn more about Kate, visit her website.

Kate Jacoutot

Spire Workforce Solutions, 5575 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Northeast, Building C, Suite 240, Sandy Springs, GA, 30342, United States