Culture Crisis: How to Know When It Doesn’t Fit

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Culture fit is a huge topic and emphasis for hiring managers today.

It is nearing the top of the list for the top companies to work for, but what makes a culture tick? And how do you know if you’re a “fit?”


What is your working style? What qualities does your ideal manager have? Are you a self-starter or do you need pointed direction? Are you a team player or a one-(wo)man show? Start by brainstorming questions (and their answers!) like these to figure out what kind of environment you are looking for. If you are very conservative, require a quiet atmosphere to concentrate, and prefer to keep work and personal life separate, maybe an office where there is a tree house in the middle and daily kegs being tapped is not for you.

What Company Culture is not:

  • Anything alcohol related
  • Beanbag chairs (tree houses, etc.)
  • Free lunch
  • Games
  • Physical Attributes

What Company Culture is:

  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Priorities
  • Working Styles

Identifying a Company’s Culture

In an interview, if you ‘click’ well with the manager and others you interview with, you’re off to a good start. Ask questions that lead to the answers as listed above, such as working style, collaboration, management style. You may not always get a 100% truthful or accurate answer (like with a job description – they’re never spot on!) but you will get a sense for the general flow of things.

Ask to see the company’s vision and values. What is their 3-year plan and how will that affect the position you are recruiting for? Asking deeper questions than just “what’s a day in the life of this role” will yield better answers to help you gauge what is important to you and whether this company will serve those interests or not.

Relevant cultural fit questions are about productivity, motivations, accomplishments, working style, and preferred cultural traits.

What NOT to do about culture fit

If you click with a hiring manager and feel the culture fits you, great! But if not, don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Even if the job is perfect, missing the mark on the culture fit could cause you to become unhappy more quickly in your new role. To find that long-term career move, look for the synergy between job responsibilities and culture.

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The featured photo on this post is a derivative of “Stand Out From the Crowd” by Steven Depolo and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Staff Writer

Victor is a resilient and driven lifelong student of technology, with his most recent emphasis on Analytics, Healthcare, Microsoft and Salesforce. His personal mantra is to seek "victory, however long and hard the road may be." Victor is a staff writer committed to staying on top of industry trends and providing expert advice for today's technical world.