Finding the right cultural fit is incredibly important to employers when interviewing potential candidates. You may have the qualifications and experience to do the job, but what gives you an edge over your competition is how well your interviewer perceives that you will fit in with the existing culture in the office. If you have already secured a role, demonstrating that you fit in well with your company’s culture will stand you in good stead for promotion. But how can you show that you fit in? Read on – we’ve got the tips to help you both fit in and stand out:
Get to know yourself to fit in at the workplace:
How well do you really know yourself and what makes you tick? It’s important before trying to fit in with anyone else that you first know what you like – striving to fit into an office environment that doesn’t suit you just won’t work. Do all you can to learn more about yourself – think psychological and behavioural assessments, meeting with career counsellors and organisational psychologists, and talking with friends and family. Ask yourself what makes you happy at work – for instance, do you prefer a quiet office environment with little contact between colleagues, or a buzzing hive of activity?
Suss out what the current climate is in your office (or potential office):
Now that you know yourself a bit better, it’s time to get to know your surroundings as well as you can. What do you like about your current culture? What do other people like about it? If you don’t know, ask them – they may highlight something you were unaware of. If you’re applying for a new role, what can you find out about that office’s culture? Checking out their online presence will give you a good idea, as will tapping into your network to see if anyone knows anyone already working there.
Now act on it to develop relationships with those in the workplace:
Knowledge is power – if you discover that people who do not attend Friday night drinks are ostracised by the rest of the team, you know that in order to fit in you should head to Friday night drinks. If your boss enjoys hearing about how everyone’s weekend was during Monday morning meetings, you know that sharing a funny story will go down well. Some companies are very into celebrating birthdays with cake and singing, some are into Kris Kringles. Not everything about your company’s culture may necessarily appeal to you – I for one am not a huge fan of everyone knowing when it’s my birthday! – but unless it really bothers you or conflicts with your morals, making the effort to fit in will be really good for your career.
So whether you are hoping to be considered for a future promotion in your current company or are applying for a new role, it is important to have a good grasp of the company culture. Fit really is everything – get it right and your future career will thank you for it!