The term “company culture” has quickly gone from a business buzzword to an essential business strategy over the past several years. More companies are shifting their attention to company culture due to the overwhelming benefits a strong one offers (for instance, greater profitability).
For businesses, finding employees that fit perfectly into their cultural puzzle is critically important. In fact, 43 percent of HR professionals said that “cultural fit” was the single most important determining factor when making a new hire, according to a joint study by Millennial Brand and Beyond.com.
This means that simply having the right tactical skills and experience doesn’t cut it anymore. In order to stand out amongst a large number of similar candidates, you must show that your personality aligns with the company’s missions, values, ethics and goals. Use these ideas to demonstrate culture fit in your next interview.
Do Your Research
Before your interview, research the company’s culture to ensure you’re well prepared to speak about it. Start with the company’s “About Us” page on their website. Typically, this is where you’ll find information about how the company was founded, its mission statement and core values.
For example, the Glassdoor About Us page shares a clear mission, along with critical milestones for the company — both of which would be wise to know before interviewing with them.
Make sure to also check a company's Glassdoor profile — there, you'll find information on the company's mission, industry, culture and more. You can also check out the company’s blog and browse their social media accounts — see how Hootsuite and TripAdvisor dedicate their Instagram accounts to company culture.
During your research, you may notice statements or phrases that are frequently used. During your interview, weave keywords and statements into your answers to show that you’re well aligned with this area of their business to demonstrate culture fit.
Connect Your Personal Passions & Previous Wins With Their Culture
When asked, “What do you like to do in your free time?” show how your personal values align with the company’s by connecting the answer with what you found during research.
For example, if the company prides itself on giving back to the local community, talk about some of the local charities or volunteer events you’re currently a part of, or have been a part of, in the past. Remember: never lie in an interview. If something is an important part of their culture, but you’ve never done it before, use the question as a chance to show your interest, rather than making up an experience that didn’t happen.
Other interview questions that present an opportunity to align with their company culture include:
- Tell me about an accomplishment you’re most proud of.
- Describe yourself.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
- Give a time when you went above and beyond for X.
- What gets you up in the morning?
If you know the company values collaboration, staying healthy or sharing with the community, prepare ahead of time to share how you care about those things too — or how you’d like to get involved.
Ask More Questions
Companies want to hire people who are excited about what they do. A great way to show your enthusiasm is to ask questions. Not to mention, "If you don't ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like,” explains Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, to BusinessInsider.
Use this opportunity to show that you’re interested and want to be part of the company culture. For example, if you discovered that the company participates in monthly beach cleanups, you could ask a question like: “I saw that the company participates in monthly beach cleanups — can you talk a little more about the company’s sustainability mission?”
By asking this question, you show that you’ve done your homework, while also demonstrating an interest in the company’s culture and core values.
Demonstrate Culture Fit to Be the Ideal Candidate
Companies care about finding the best cultural fit now more than ever. Luckily, you can show that you’re a great fit for the company culture during your interview. Use this time to answer questions in a way that aligns with what you’ve found during research. Don’t forget to ask questions that show you care about their company culture and are ready to be involved. If you can do that, your next big interview may be the one that gets you the job.