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    The importance of culture in an organization cannot be overemphasized — especially when you are looking for a new job. Ideally, you want to work for a company where your preferences are reflective of the company’s larger values and mission statement. 

    The importance of organizational culture relates to various factors including communication standards, leadership models, collaboration and teamwork standards, organization and efficiency, employee expectations, the level of workplace formality (or informality), and the common attitudes and work habits among employees. Ideally, you also want to feel proud of the work you do. 

    A good culture fit is advantageous for employees and employers alike. This is because a cohesive company culture can increase workplace satisfaction, lead to high-level job performance, decrease turnover, offer a work environment with lower stress levels, and help cultivate employee loyalty.

    In this article, we will review the importance of culture in the workplace, as well as the nuances of experiencing a “culture fit” in the workplace. That said, if you are wondering “what is a cultural fit?” this article is for you! Read on to gain valuable insight into culture fit company standards, expectations, and hiring practices. 

    What does culture fit mean?

    So what is “culture fit”?

    Let’s take a look at a culture fit definition. Basically, cultural fit is the likelihood that a job applicant will fit in with the rest of the company — especially in regard to the company’s core values and its standard practices and expectations in the workplace.  

    Why work culture is important

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    Without a positive work environment and work culture, it can be difficult to know how to stay motivated at work. It is also important to note that work culture can impact your self-esteem, sense of purpose, work-life balance, physical and emotional health, and sense of safety. Ultimately, this is why you should focus on the importance of work culture during your job search and job interviews. 

    Employees who don’t feel in alignment with the company’s overall values are more likely to consider finding a new career or seeking alternative work opportunities. 

    Here are some factors that contribute to a company’s overall culture:

    • Communication standards
    • Leadership models
    • Collaboration and teamwork standards
    • Organization and efficiency
    • Employee expectations
    • The level of workplace formality 
    • Common attitudes and work habits among employees

    Culture fit hiring

    Companies often conduct culture-fit hiring practices. Essentially, this means that hiring managers are interested in which job candidate will be most likely to work well with the company’s existing team. This is why it’s important to brush up on your interview skills and learn how to answer the strengths and weaknesses question during an interview

    You will also want to practice talking about your “soft job skills.” Soft job skills refer to personal skills, such as creativity, resourcefulness, and communication skills. Here are some popular “soft job skills” to include in your resume and during your job interviews:

    1. Time Management
    2. Organization Skills
    3. Attention to Detail
    4. Responsibility
    5. Problem-Solving Skills
    6. Creativity
    7. Critical Thinking Skills
    8. Communication skills
    1. Emotional Intelligence
    2. Teamwork
    3. Flexibility
    4. Leadership
    5. Collaboration
    6. Active Listening
    7. Decision Making

    Remember, a job interview is just as much for you as it is for the company. Do your best to try to get a feeling for the company’s values and workplace culture by asking thoughtful questions. Don’t be afraid to look around the workplace and introduce yourself to some of the employees while you’re there. You might also want to consider reaching out to former employees through LinkedIn.

    Culture fit vs. culture add

    So what’s the difference between “culture fit” and “culture add.” A company culture fit is when a job candidate fits in really well with the existing company. “Culture add,” however, refers to when a job candidate enhances or adds something to the existing work culture. 

    Culture fit questions and answers

    What is a culture fit interview? A culture fit interview focuses on culture fit questions, such as: 

    1. What is your ideal work environment?
    2. Do you work well on a team? 
    3. Describe a time when you demonstrated leadership abilities. 
    4. What would you want to accomplish in your first 30 days at this company?
    5. Why do you want this position?
    6. What kind of company do you want to work for?
    7. What do you value in a co-worker?
    8. How do you respond to stressful work environments?
    9. Tell me about a time you made a mistake and how you corrected it.
    10. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker. How did you respond?

    Oftentimes, culture fit questions are similar to common second-round interview questions

    Be aware of culture fit discrimination

    While culture fit hiring practices are often well-intentioned, it is important to be aware of culture fit discrimination. For example, a hiring manager shouldn’t pass on a qualified candidate merely because they are older or younger than the rest of their potential coworkers.

    According to federal law, a company should never disqualify a job candidate (or treat them differently in the workplace) based on their: age, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. As a worker, it’s important to be aware of your legal workplace rights, as well as common signs of a toxic work environment

    For hiring managers, it’s important not to prioritize culture-fit hiring practices at the expense of other factors. Culture fit standards should help managers decide between two otherwise equally qualified candidates. 

    Ideally, a workplace community should strive to foster cultural diversity. This is why the importance of cultural competence cannot be overemphasized, especially for hiring managers. Communities don’t have to be homogenous to be harmonious!

    Key takeaways

    During your initial job search and interview process, it’s important to evaluate the company’s workplace culture. Everyone has different preferences and priorities. Reflect carefully on yours by asking yourself questions such as: What do I value in a company? What does my ideal work environment look like? Can I picture myself feeling fulfilled and growing professionally here? 

    Our career counselors are trained to help you answer these questions while providing comprehensive plans to help you reach all of your career goals. If you feel like you could benefit from professional guidance, reach out to learn more about our services.