How Important is Corporate Culture When Looking for A New Job?

When it comes to open positions, both employers and candidates come to the table with a list of desirables. Where candidates usually focus on compensation, benefits, role, growth, and a great place to work, businesses typically focus on skill, flexibility, work acumen, drive, passion, intelligence, teamwork, and talent. But in both scenarios, there is one aspect of work that rarely makes the list: company culture. Does it really matter? One might argue it very much does.



Company culture drives retention

Company culture is one of the most important aspects of a business, and it’s typically right up there with compensation when it comes to retention of employees. Most candidates have a sense of it through their initial interviewing investigation of the company: they know how they like to work and how they wish to be motivated. It may seem tempting as a company with an open position to graze over this culture fit section of the interview in lieu of harder skill drills and simple teamwork assessments, but I urge you to make short-and-long-term culture fit a great aspect of your hiring decision, and to encourage your candidates to do the same. Otherwise, that seat may be open again sooner than you’d like or, worse yet: you’re saddled with a bad fit.

Know which kind of company you wish to create

Inevitably, as an employer, you should know exactly what kind of company you wish to create and what kind of people and work environment will accomplish those goals. If you make these decisions deliberately, you can then best seek the individuals who make sense for the culture that will bring you to the Profit Promised Land. If your culture is filled with hard drivers and high energy individuals, it makes sense that you would seek individuals who complement that culture. If you have a thoughtful, collaborative culture, you would not seek individuals who become irritated if they’re not able to work autonomously. It doesn’t mean you have to hire cookie cutter prototypes of the same employee all the time: that becomes monotonous and it stunts growth. But anyone brought into your culture should embody your values and be attracted to the type of environment you’re seeking to create. It’s why the culture fit questions are just as critical as skill and experience questions in an interview. If you find the right person for your culture, you’ll both thrive. Ignore the signs that it’s not a right fit for either of you, and you’re about to enter into a long-term relationship at your own risk.

Be honest

It cannot be stressed enough that any hire that does not fit should not happen. Candidates and employers alike should be completely honest when it comes to the important questions of cultural assimilation that lead to success for both parties: Does the environment fit your personalities and work styles? Is there an opportunity for great impact? Will the candidate learn something new and can the company benefit from this growth? Does the work schedule fit the candidate’s lifestyle and personal goals? Can the team benefit from the addition of this individual? Do you both see the situation working for a long time? If so, it’s a great fit. If not, well…it’s not.

Corporate culture is important for both the candidate and the employer because it’s the key to the inevitable success of both the individual in that role and the company which hires them. If the new hire wins, the company wins. When the new hire fails, the corporation has to make do around them. Therefore, it’s important to assess proper cultural fit on both sides prior to employment.

Culture fit is critical to the long-term success of the company and the individuals who work within its ranks. Do not make the costly mistake of ignoring its importance. You might not be able to afford the high price of the wrong hire.

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