What Does It Really Mean When They Say You’re Not a “Cultural Fit?”
You really thought you were a shoe-in for that job. You possessed the skills, got along with the hiring managers, and did all the right things. So why were you told you were not a “fit” for the job? What does that actually mean in terms of the workplace? To shed some light on cultural fit and your job search, here are some things that can help you move forward as you keep hunting.
What is cultural fit?
Every place of employment has its own inherent personality. It’s made up of their company mission statement and corporate values, their environment, and the personalities of everyone else in the company. When the reason for hiring is “fit,” this means that based on the personality they saw in the interviewing process, they don’t believe that you will fit in with the culture they have already established. They may feel like your personality would clash with others in the department. Or that you seem more laid back than their conservative office, or vice versa.
So what can you do about it?
Before you interview, do these three things to help you better understand the corporate culture and position yourself as a better fit for their environment.
- Research the company. It’s always important to do your homework before you apply for a job. Imagine a company like Google. Their corporate culture is easily distinguishable by their branding and social media presence. It isn’t difficult to find out more about how you might fit in with their organization. But even if the company isn’t Google, you can do some digging to uncover what their culture really is and tailor your experience to show your strengths.
- Network online and in person. Another great way to learn more about the company culture is to network with the actual employees. You can attend local and industry networking events to talk to others who have had experience with your target companies. LinkedIn is also a top tool to help you connect with others and learn more about the backstage experience within these organizations.
- Improve interviewing skills. Lastly, spend some time improving your interviewing skills to better answer questions that are designed to learn about your cultural fit. The most engaging technique is storytelling. When we tell or listen to narratives, we are much more attentive to the story and the details. Don’t just answer a question, tell a story about a time when this was applicable to you and your experience.