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Understanding company culture

As well as having the skills and experience you need for the job, you also need to fit into the company’s vision and work well with the its employees.

Cultural fit plays an important role in a company’s hiring process as people who fit in tend to be happier in their roles, and therefore are more productive and driven to move the company forward. 

This means that on your CV and in interviews you need to be able to show that you understand the company culture and also can demonstrate how you fit in. But how do you do this?

Understanding a company’s culture

Before applying for the job, you will have spent some time researching and part of this should be spent looking at their company culture. You can find out about this through a number of avenues including: 

Company website 

Does their website show you what they focus on most, whether it’s sleek and stylish design, constant innovation or a social mission? How are their articles and blogs written? What are the backgrounds of their current employees?

Social media

Companies will develop a ‘personality’ on their social media accounts (more so than on their website) which will give you an idea of whether they offer a laid-back environment, or are more structured and corporate. How formal are their tweets? What are they telling their customers about? 

Your network

Do you know anyone who works, has worked at, or works with the company? You can ask them how they’ve found the company and its employees. If you don’t know anyone, you can also investigate the industry in general. Do they know about the company and what is their reputation?

Reviews 

Although you have to take reviews with a pinch of salt, review searches can inform you as to whether clients are happy with the products and services they offer and whether present or past employees enjoyed working there. 

Images and videos search

With images and video you can get an understanding of the environment they work in, what their office looks like, and how people dress. Are the videos/images fun and playful or do they take a more serious and informative angle? What does this tell you about the company and what does it mean for you?

Does the company’s traits and values match up with what you are looking for? Can you see yourself excited to head to the office every day? Can you see yourself working their their office environment? If so, then now’s the time to show the hiring team that you you understand their culture and demonstrate where you’ll fit in. 

Demonstrate your fit

Show that you understand the company’s values

If your research has shown you that the company values a fail fast approach, gather some anecdotes of when you’ve also failed fast and explain what you’ve learnt from these, how you’ve moved forward and what your final results were. If the company looks adventurous and daring to do something different, show the hiring team that you understand this and are also willing to put yourself on the line.   

Be enthusiastic

Let the hiring team know that you understand their mission, goals and values better than any other candidate. One way you could do this is to come with a list of questions tailored to that company which shows off your research and passion for what the company does. 

Build common ground

Reading the blurbs of current employees on the company website can give you an insight into what your hiring team and other members of staff like to do in their spare time. Having similar interests is a great way to show that you will be able to get along with those you are working with and that you can bond in ways beyond the office. It’s also a great ice breaker in an interview, as interviewers love to see someone they can relate to and companies regularly employ people with similar traits as themselves.

Highlight your soft skills

Companies look for some universal traits from their employees as it demonstrates their ability to work with others in the company, drive the business forward and fit in with the work environment. These include being willing to learn, motivated, taking initiative and being a team player, so remember to collate your anecdotes together to show employers that you have these skills and will be an asset to the company on hiring.