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Getting the right organizational culture fit is a top priority in any hiring process – regardless of the job opportunity available. According to recent statistics, 90% of top organizations use culture fit to monitor and analyze attrition rates with their company, demonstrating how the concept of “culture fit” has been elevated in the eyes of employers in recent years. Today, a job applicant’s cultural fit can even trump his or her qualifications in terms of eligibility for a role.
 
According to top executive search firm, Russell Reynolds, “the success or failure of a newly hired senior executive hinges on how well that individual understands and fits with the organization’s culture – an issue of compatibility rather than ability and experience.”
 
Why culture fit is important to your organization.
Organizational CultureIn today’s employment market, many employees have relocated for work, or spend the majority of the waking hours at work, turning offices into surrogate friend-groups and social communities. In cases where this has occurred, it is increasingly important for employers to hire someone who will be the right fit.
 
A strong cultural fit has been known to achieve a number of highly positive outcomes. From the beginning, candidates who are the right fit are able to make a smoother transition into their new role are more productive, more engaged and can have an increased opportunity to become high performers. They are also likely to stay longer at the organization, saving the company further expenses. 
 
Conversely, a poor cultural fit can result in a slower transition period for new candidates, less productivity and engagement, less future opportunities within the company AND they have the potential to cause serious issues for the company, both internally and externally. Due to this, it is no surprise that companies are now taking the topic of culture fit more seriously and investing more time to make sure they get it right the first time.
 
Where do companies draw the line?
The news has been inundated with reports of companies who have taken their search for the right candidate cultural fit to extremity. Perhaps the most well-known was the case of Zappos, whose candidate search has been likened to a fraternity hazing. Zappos’ head of HR, Rebecca Ratner, commented that in order to prove that she was the right cultural fit, she “had three vodka shots with [the CEO] during [her] interview.”
 
Of course, not all companies take such measures, and in moderation, culture fit consideration has its advantage for both the candidate and the hiring company. And so, candidates striving for career success should take time to explore what work environments would meet their needs and allow them to excel.
 
How to make sure a company’s culture is right for you:

1. Do your due diligence on the company website: Does it mention their corporate culture or values? This is usually found on an ‘About Us’ page. See if it matches with your preferences.
 
2. Be your own detective: As you walk through the office during an interview, you can pick up on the company culture from your surroundings. Are their photos of employees’ children or personal items on the desks? After the interview, you could also ask the receptionist for a recommended place to grab lunch. If he/she tells you about a great place that “everybody goes to,” it might be a social office. If he/she tells you that people tend to bring lunch and eat at their desks, that will tell you something else about the work environment.
 
3. Learn from the source: Check out other employee reviews at sites like Glassdoor.com. Some of the reviews may not be entirely accurate, but look out for common themes that appear from posts by different people and see which might hold some truth.
 
4. Check out their social networks: Social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, tend to give more of an insight into a company’s culture, as the platform allows for more informal content so it can be a great way of getting to know the firm.
If you would like to hear more about this topic, and other issues relating to self-awareness for success, register now for our next complimentary BlueSteps  webinar, Identifying Your Strengths for Executive Career Success and join career psychometric expert, Paul Basile, and leading professional career advisor Louise Kursmark as they share their knowledge.
About BlueSteps
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in more than 75 countries. Be visible, and be considered for over 90,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.
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