Fitting In: How Important Is Company Culture?
It seems like a pretty simple question to me now, but up until just a few months ago, after a brief stint working for a recruiting agency, I had no idea just how much company culture mattered to everyone involved in the workforce.
One of the common things that we did as recruiters was get to know another person’s personality. We would find out what they loved and hated about their current or last job. What did they want and what could they absolutely not stand for? Were there specific companies they did or did not want to work for; if so, why? I remember speaking to some candidates who had obviously never been asked these questions before, so they’d never had time to think about them properly. After listening for a few minutes as they talked themselves through the question, you could hear the light bulb turning on, much like it had in my situation: I do get a say in my workplace. I don’t just need a job. I do notice things I don’t like in my past work history. I don’t want to be in an environment like that again.
Tony Hsieh of Zappos speaks to this very important concept in a video found on Inc.com. It doesn’t matter how smart the candidate is, how talented they might be, just how much money they could bring the company up front. If their personality, their mind, does not fit the company culture, Hsieh doesn’t hire them. On the same token, if someone is already working there and is found to not fit that culture, they’re terminated.
Sounds pretty harsh. As a matter of fact, there’s an element to it that can feel like high school again. The pressure of having to try to fit in with everyone can be daunting, especially if you’re anything like me and just want to work at work and not necessarily be friends with the entire staff. But that particular idea that I just described — working without needing personal relationships at work — is also a type of company culture, and one that may be a fantastic fit for some of us.
Ask yourself: where do I fit in my company culture? Perhaps more importantly: where does my company culture fit with me and my own personal ideas about work, life, etc? It’s extremely vital to find a good fit for you and your personality — it’s where you’ll be able to accomplish the most, be the most productive, and bring the most to the table. If you’re not there, perhaps it’s time to look for that unicorn that really does exist somewhere. If you are already there, congrats to you — you’ve hit the jackpot in many ways, my friend. Either way, don’t be nervous about fitting in — when you are in the right work environment for you, you won’t have to think about it at all.
What do you think? Should company culture be an important factor in hiring decisions or is it limiting? Let us know in our comments section!