4 Steps to Make Culture Win You Job Opportunities



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Your first day at school.

Moving to a new country.

The first thing you encounter is a new cultural environment.


And it’s the same when you attempt to enter into a company. And companies know the importance of culture. People that fit in will achieve more, and learn easily when a cultural match is found.


Are you leveraging culture to your benefit in your job hunt?


Culture trumps everything, most certainly in Zappos case. Not only did they make it their own, but CEO Tony Hsieh has made the renowned book Tribal Leadership a trend. He even wrote a new intro for the latest copy.

Like many companies, what works and has proven results becomes standard. Companies adopt culture as a big, if not a major factor in choosing who to hire. Employees that fit into culture benefit themselves and the company in a few core ways:

Work synergy: Everyone works harmoniously together, as interpersonal friction decreases. Fear and stress percentages go down.

Health: Everyone is relatively less sick. They have fewer sick and have fewer accidents at work.
Everyone feels pumped: They feel alive and are having fun.

Learning becomes effortless: Employees teach each other the latest thinking and practices, driving up productivity.

Talent vacuum: Everyone wants to work for you. You retain talent, doing a heavy blow against the battle of retaining talent and lowering recruitment costs.


It works. And it is a growing business practice, where the recruitment process hinges around this key question: Are you a fit for our culture?

Young millennials often think the degree they had to slave over matters. Culture matters as much, if not more.

Below are steps to find out and convince companies you are a snug fit.


1. Research what they are about

‘About us’

Most company pages have a page talking about how they started. It also tends to outline their core values. Other things to look out for are: Mission Statement, Core Values and company policies.

These things may seem over the top and common, but it’s a start.

LinkedIn connections paint a picture

What kind of connections do employees have in a company? Look at how well connected the upper and lower level employees are.

Strong relationships with upper and lower employees: An open and less formal hierarchical structure. The culture of these companies would place communication and relationships high.

Relationships in clumps: Managers and upper-level employees are a group, with lower level employees being clumped together. The culture here is more formal, with top-down communication and decision making.


How well connected is the company with think tanks, creative groups?

Strong relationships with various groups and leaders: Innovation and creativity is important. Companies with these relationships are more open minded and value uniqueness.


Traditional associations and industry-specific connections

Companies with high levels of connections here are more traditional. They tend to fall back on age-old practices that have won the test of time. Change only happens slowly, and only when things spiral into all sorts of shenanigans.


The way they talk social

What social media platforms do they use?

Twitter: Twitter is a place where you can have a more casual ‘convo’ with others. Culturally, they are more open to talking and expressing ideas in less formal settings.

Facebook: Close family like connections come to mind. If they talk on Facebook more than other platforms, then they are close knit and look to each other as friends.


Sites that talk culture

Glassdoor: This is a great way to get to know the gist of what it’s like working at that company. Yes, many companies do their own reviews, but try and find:

Patterns: Recurring topics are indicators that you are on the right track.


2. What ‘About You’?

The above steps should give you a glimpse of what it’s like working in that company.

Key to your strategy: Are you comfortable? Can you picture yourself being liked and enjoying that culture?

Often, we all try and fit in with the crowd. Critical is what you want–and what is already established.


Look for these areas as indicators:

For your desired company, did the research draw them closer to you?

You have to to enjoy the culture and your professional life. Lying your way through will not only make life miserable but will leave both you and the company at odds. Relationships that can kick your career in amazing directions will be lost.

Can you find examples and evidence to link your fit to that company?

Stories are great in pushing across values and beliefs. It’s a real winner in illustrating your authentic self to listeners.


Evidence makes it compelling.

Example: For a close knit team bring a portfolio of work done in an old job where you were the same. Have detailed descriptions of what you did, and if you took photos, use them to give life to your story.


3. Prepare for culture questions during interviews

It all comes down to the interview. After convincing your dream company to speak to you, in highlighting your compatibility through your CV and resume (using key examples that link their culture to yourself), the questions must be answered.

Trivial questions

What movie do you like? Any club sports or leisure activities?

Questions like these are not ice breaker ones but aim to see what sort of person you are. They want face to face confirmation in what you said on the phone and in your CV.

Think about how you can answer these questions.

I loved Avatar. Not only was it a great movie, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about how they came up with the whole concept! From imagining an alien planet to those amazing graphics. The creativity and innovative use of 3D graphics made me a big fan. (Creative Culture Company)

When answering direct questions, angle the examples you found in 2. What ‘About You’? Tailor it to specific situations that left a lasting impact on you, as it is easy to be compelling and honest about your story.


Bring to the interview:

A laptop: If you have visuals or online profiles that cement what you say.

Written documents: If they support your story with detail, i.e. figures, details of specific dates and projects.


4. Review and don’t regret

Interviews are like practice runs. Find companies that are not quite sky high. But use them as practice runs, as you will get used to the formal interviewing atmosphere.

Key tip: Ask questions relating to their own experiences working at the company. Interviewers will be more than willing to answer, but will probably sound too good to be true. They are selling a job, you are trying to sell yourself.

Aim to: See if you can use their stories as content to slide into your own story.

Find out if you really want to be there: Remember, interviews are there to answer questions of your own. Find out if what they say matches what you found. Does it meet your expectations?

Revise what worked and what pulled you down. A great way of finding out is by asking for feedback.

Not all companies will get back to you, but send a thank you note and email them after. Professional feedback is vital, so ask why you didn’t ‘fit in’.


Final Tip

Practice each step for companies that match what you want in a career. It will be time-consuming and takes commitment. But you need to know what they want, to match who you are to their needs and corporate culture.

How do you approach culture in your job hunt? What resonated with you?

Please share your examples and insight in the comments below.

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