Hire for culture and not the resume.

Jane Warwand, Founder of Dermalogica

Good corporate cultureIf there is one thing that I continually harp upon for both hiring managers and those seeking new opportunities, it is this: corporate culture should be the number one factor in your decision-making for hiring a candidate or accepting a job.  If an individual doesn’t flourish in the corporate culture, both the company and the individual will be doing itself a disservice.  I was speaking to an acquaintance this week and pitching someone within his organization for a position that he’s having to fill again after less than 2 years.  He was resistant to the internal candidate since he didn’t quite have all the necessary experience.   I told him that he would be in the same boat again with the candidates he’s targeting since his organization has a corporate culture that can be very rigid, hierarchical, political and militaristic.

This is why the person in the position decided to leave.  She wasn’t happy in that type of working environment and decided to take a job with an organization that was a better fit for her career needs.  While the employee in his department might lack certain job requirements, he has proven himself to be an employee who is a quick learner and can navigate the internal workings to make things happen. Did I convince my acquaintance to speak to the internal candidate to encourage him to apply?  No, he hasn’t learned his lesson and is still enamored with bringing in a high-caliber external candidate who has never worked in a governmental agency.

However, this doesn’t just apply to hiring managers.  I’ve been guilty myself of not investigating the company’s culture before accepting a job and then being very miserable.  We often become excited by the possibility of moving up the career ladder or getting a nice bump in salary that we overlook how we will feel at the end of the day due to the environment we’ll be in day in and day out.  How do you then go about researching corporate culture?

  • Ask both the recruiter and hiring manager.  Get them to tell you in their words what their perception is.  See if their assessment matches up.
  • Check out the organization’s annual report.  Investigate whether the company has a corporate social responsibility commitment.  Also, look to see how much they invest in human capital development.
  • Use your network to connect with employees working there.  Find out how employees feel the employer is faring in its commitment to employees and what type of work environment you’ll encounter.
  • Read up on the company’s employee benefits and policies before the interview.  If you know that you require a flexible work environment or telecommuting and don’t see this listed as a benefit, you’ll know that you might have to negotiate this or that the company won’t be able to meet your needs.
  • Know yourself.  This might sound obvious, but truly know who you are.  Are you laid back and hate a stuffy corporate culture? Then make this a decision factor for what type of company you want to work for.  This means that if you hate wearing a suit to work, don’t go working for a company that hasn’t embraced business casual.

Whether you’re a hiring manager or someone looking for a new opportunity, ask yourself whether there is a good fit within the corporate culture that has taken hold.  Culture doesn’t change overnight.  And 40 hours plus spent in misery isn’t good for the corporate bottomline or personal satisfaction factor.

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P.S.  If you haven’t had a chance, yet, please check out my new online magazine called Aeracura MagazineAeracura Magazine was founded by me with the goal to provide a community and online resource that covers life, business, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, impact, health, food, causes and leadership to call individuals and businesses forth to bring about change in this world in a meaningful and purpose-driven fashion.  Aeracura Magazine’s mission is to help bring soul and purpose back into business and life.  Social, environmental and economic sustainability and corporate social responsibility are at the core of what we focus on.   We’re looking for others to join our community of contributors.  Please head over to Aeracura Magazine’s Write for Us page to see if this might be your venue to allow your creative writing skills flow.