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Fitting Into Corporate Culture

Dec 26, 2007
When searching for a new job, one of the most often overlooked aspects of finding a new job is making sure that you can fit into corporate culture. One of the things that the hirers are looking for is a "good fit", which is their way of saying that you need to be a match for their corporate culture. Nobody wants you to come in and mess up the way that things have always been. In addition, they know that if you do not like the way that the company runs things, then you are likely to leave, costing them time and money.

Being a flexible and adaptable person is important, and it is something that most people can do, but it is something that you cannot often prove to the employer during the interview, where you can often only display one or two sides of your personality before looking like an actor, or a fake. Thus, if you want to be successful at your interview, and you want to show that you can fit in with corporate culture, then you want to take some time to observe the workers there, and their interaction. If you arrive between five and ten minutes early, you might be able to see the current employees at work. Watching their interactions, observing their dress, and taking a passing glance at their workstations should tell you a lot about how the company operates on a day-to-day basis.

Most of the time, you will be lead deep into the company's work area, where you will be interviewed in a conference room, which should give you some opportunity to assess the job site. Keep in mind what you have seen, and if you are tested on your at-work behavior, you can customize your answer to what you have seen. Noticing a laid-back corporate culture, you can answer confidently that you would rather have open deadlines on projects and that the company can count on you to finish projects on time. If you see that things are run on a pretty tight ship, emphasize your ability to work hard on projects without a lot of outside assistance and guidance.

If you are applying for a managerial position, see if you can spot how the people on your team might be. Sometimes you can spot problem employees, and if you are working in close quarters with others, you will need to take a close look at the cleanliness of your co-workers. If you find that you are unable to cope with them later, you'll likely have to find a new position.

You should use your observations to your advantage as well. If you notice that there are messy workstations, suits and ties, and little to no interactions between employees, you can determine that this job will probably swamp you with work, and not allow you too much time to socialize. For many people, that tells them that they may not want to work for this company, while others will love this kind of environment. If you use your head while making assessments of corporate culture, both you and the company will benefit.
About the Author
Robert Watson, author of the new book Job Hunter's Handbook, is a math teacher who learned all about job hunting from his parents, owners of a successful technical consulting firm. Robert's new book is the perfect solution for anyone who is experiencing trouble in their job search.
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