In 2014, a massive survey of hiring managers, companies, and HR professionals found that more than 40% of companies think “culture fit” should be the deciding factor when hiring a job candidate. Although times and hiring practices change and many argue hiring for culture fit is a bad idea, we explain how you can prove you are a company culture fit.
Important note: In any case where a job seeker tries too hard to fit the culture, the opposite effect is achieved. So, here is how to prove you are a culture fit without trying so hard.
1. Make your similar values and passion clear
Professing your love for a company in a job interview can go too far, especially when it fails to explain how this “love” makes you a great culture fit for the company. Your love for the company leaves out important factors like “workplace environment” and “the value you bring to the team".
It is great to have a passion for wanting to work at a company but this passion does not always equate to “whether or not you can handle working there every day”. Simply put, just because you are a “fan” of a company does not mean you should be an “employee".
Try this: Research the company. Read its mission statement, company info, and the type of content the company posts. Find out if what they care aligns with your own career experience. If you know it does, you can make an impression by showing your values are similar and explaining what you know. It is great to say you love a company and its services. But finish that with, “I noticed your company’s site mentions the importance of passion while providing service. This really connected with me. I very much enjoyed your latest marketing campaign, especially how [insert your statements].
Point: Do not be a shmooze. Research to see if you are actually a fit and explain why.
2. Appear well-informed, not obsessed
Maybe you have learned by now that it may be a waste of time to claim you are a culture fit if this is not true. In order to prove you are a culture fit, you must believe in the company’s mission and values.
If you know you are not and decide to show an extreme obsession with the company, the effects will be more damaging than showing no interest at all.
To give you an example, a job candidate interviewed for a job at Disney. The job candidate begins to tell a story about going to Disney World as a child and starts ranting about how much he loved this one roller coaster. During the interview, the job candidate keeps referring back to his childhood visits to the park, almost to the point where the hiring manager thinks, “This guy is obsessed with our theme park. He does know there is a job involved, right?”
Try this: Get noticed for your passion without revealing strange information. Get noticed in a positive way by showing your desire to create a plan for what you would do if you got the job. Discuss goals and challenges you think you might face. Ask questions. You will show the hiring manager you’re interested in the brand and working to possibly improve it.
Point: Do not make someone uncomfortable with your obsession with a company. It is great to be a fan of a brand. Just do not look like you cannot control yourself.
3. Properly follow up at the right times
Avoid reaching out too much especially if you are not talking about job-related things. You may have the desire to be a culture fit but all you are doing is chasing people away by being annoying.
Try this: Write a “thank you” note. Thank the interviewer for his or her time. Emphasize how much you enjoyed the job interview. Then, offer something. For example:
“It was a pleasure to speak with you about the position for Customer Service Director. I thank you for your time today.”
“Your thoughts on Customer Success made me think of this book I think you would appreciate called [insert]. May I send you a copy?”
Point: You are being respectable, friendly, and talking business without being annoying. It works really well because it does not feel forced, opportunistic, or fake. It is just two people making each others’ lives and jobs better!