You probably have heard that companies hire for cultural fit but what are you looking for when you job hunt for cultural fit? Nothing drains your energy more than not being yourself. It is exhausting, so it is important than when you are somewhere for up to eight hours a day that it feels like it is somewhere you belong and can contribute too.
Here are a few things you need to think about.
1. Flexibility – Some organization can and are very flexible with work schedule, hours, location, etc. Is this something that is important to you? Other organization are not and there are probably business needs for that. Just determine how big a factor this is for you. Generally, (at the risk of sounding sexist) this is more important to women because like it or not even in 2021 “most” still bare the brunt of childcare issues which can be challenging. Some people are early morning people, some not so if an organization allows some flexibility it really is a big benefit to them. They get their employees at their most productive. Do you know when you are the most productive?
2. Control / Autonomy – Is it important to you that you decide how some of your workday is structured and that you have some ability to decide what gets done and when and even to some degree how that gets done. This is important, all level of employees need some of this, but some people have a low need and some a higher need, but it is something you need to think about.
3. Organizational Structure – If you are someone that likes to “get shit done” an organization that has a very complex and a number of levels within an organization it “may” hamper how decisions are made and the speed at which those decisions get made. However, smaller organization can be just as slow and decision making may all land on one person who is not a person who loves change. It is important to look at what the organization has accomplished in the last year and what growth/development mode they are in and that will help you determine if this is somewhere you are going to fit.
4. Team work – This is such a personal area. Are you good at working with people on a project and can take a small portion of that and complete and be satisfied with your contribution? Can you see the value of other contributions and embrace changes that you didn’t anticipate on a project? Consensus is necessary for highly team-based organizations.
5. Work Space – Well we will see what the pandemic does to the whole “open work space” concept but likely this is going to disappear, in my opinion. Also, the “work from home” has been spring boarded 1000%. I had been working for home since 2007 when we moved to Canmore and I had to figure out how to make that work. The first couple of years it was incredibly challenging but once I proved to my clients and the community that I was still able to be a part of the area things got better. Some people can work very well on their own, others just cannot and even if they think that is what they want they just are not productive as there are too many distractions. Be honest with yourself and know you work ability. Being productive is extremely important. Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have the proper workspace to accomplish that.
6. Direction/Mentorship/Leadership – Again another personal preference here. Do you need / want a lot of direction? Most times this is experience based, so junior or less experienced people want more involvement from their leader. However, one of the things you might encounter is that you need to prove to your leader that you can do well on your own. This usually can be accomplished in a few months and you have some history and credit in your performance bank but if it annoys you that someone is checking your work and seems to be always on you this can be two-fold:
a. One, they have performance concerns about you.
b. Two, your supervisor may have been told they have performance concerns, so they are double downing on everything.
Either way communicating with your supervisor is a must do.
7. Growth – Depending on where you are in your career, you may want to move up the corporate ladder and the easiest way is to find an organization that is growing and/or has been awarded a lot of work. If you are not looking to move up the ladder you can still find great work in organizations that are growing but you will likely have some opportunities. Companies in growth and change mode will have turnover people either like the changes coming down the pipe or they do not and some simply don’t like change. Do not get thrown off by people leaving an organization during these stages. Some great opportunities are available when an organization is changing, and I use you get some great experience during these times. Be open to change, it is a constant and learning to thrive in that is a career boost 90% of the time.
8. Ethics/Values – again another very personal preference. Do not accept a position that is with an organization that does work you do not personally agree with. The end!
Sometimes, you just need a job, I get that. If that is the case, go in with your eyes wide open. Know the areas that are not going to be perfect and have your expectations in line. Most high performers can easily change the role significantly, within a year to something that is a fit. Performance is in your control; effort is in your control; use these to show what you can bring to the table.