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How to Find Your Work Culture Fit

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Culture fit. Everyone wants it—you, your potential employer, your recruiter. Nearly 85% of recruiters agree that cultural fit is more important than cost and trainable skill sets, and nine out of 10 have passed on applicants who didn’t feel aligned with their companies’ cultures. It’s a big deal—so how can you find it?

Some employers assess culture fit through the questions they ask. To prepare for these types of interview questions, review the company’s mission, vision, and core values. They are the blueprint for what the employer considers a culture fit. When you’re asked why you’re interested in the position, what your leadership style is, how co-workers would describe you, or how you’ve handled certain challenges before, answer them in a way that will nod back to those key phrases. “I love to help others …” “I value honesty above all else…” “I’m a problem solver …” Choose the values that resonate with you and find ways to highlight them through your answers to questions like these.

Other employers will use pre-employment assessments to quantify how well you fit their culture. There are dozens of tests including the Berke Assessment, Saberr, and Wonderlic’s Wonscore. Many combine personality, behavior and cognitive testing to find the best fit. You can check out Hire View’s guide to pre-employment assessments and even take a few specific sample tests through JobTestPrep, but don’t overprepare. Gaming the system by answering the way you think the employer would want you to respond will only sabotage your chances of finding your ideal job.

And when it comes down to it, trust your gut. It’s common for employers to mistake the culture they aspire to with what their culture actually is. If you find out that you passed an employer’s cultural assessment with flying colors or breezed through their interview process like a rock star but noticed culture-related red flags, take a moment to consider those discrepancies. Look at the company’s core values again and compare them to your first-hand experiences during the interview process. Do they line up? If you worked with an outside recruiter, discuss your concerns with them. Maybe the company as a whole is a great fit, but the manager or the team isn’t, for instance. Your recruiter can help you decide whether the chance is worth taking.