If you’re looking for a job match ‘made in heaven,’ first investigate company culture.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. All over the world, couples will express their affection in the form of cards and gifts, while many singletons will set out in search of that special someone. In dating and in the job search, it’s all about finding that perfect match. You’re looking for a partner who not only shares your values, but also brings out the best in you.
It should be no surprise then, that cultural fit is a key factor in successful candidate placement. Recruiters often refer to an ‘80/20 rule’ of talent acquisition, meaning that only a fifth of their time is dedicated to evaluating a candidate’s skills, while the majority is spent determining if the candidate is the right fit for the team.
You could have the best skill set in the world, but if you don’t mesh well with the organization, then you won’t be successful. That’s why it’s so important to learn as much as you can about a company’s culture before you step foot in the interview room. Use these five tips to find a company that you’ll love.
Do a little soul-searching
In order to evaluate an organization, you first have to decide what’s most important to you. In other words, what are you looking for? Consider the opportunities throughout your career where you’ve thrived – how would you describe those companies’ core values? Was the environment entrepreneurial and fast-paced, or slower but controlled? Was the company large or small, privately-owned, or public? Identify what company culture works best for you and incorporate this information into your job goals.
Get some help online
The online dating industry has become $2 billion market in the US alone – and with good reason. A Match.com research study found that 1 in 6 married couples now meet online. Job seekers can also take advantage of the web to find the right job match. A quick online search will lead you to lists of companies known for certain qualities such as innovation or work-life balance. Readily check these companies’ websites for open opportunities, and use these parameters to set up saved searches on sites like TheLadders.
Ask for your friends’ opinions
How many couples that you know met each other through a mutual friend? While many people are using technology to find one another, there’s still a large percentage who meet through an introduction. The same applies to the job search. It’s no coincidence that you are ten times more likely to land a job when your application is coupled with an employee referral. Always check your network to see if you know someone before you apply. Your connection can provide you with insight into the company culture and hiring process to (a) make sure it’s a good fit for you and, (b) better prepare you for interviews.
Cyber stalk before you meet
While it might be creepy to check out your date’s Facebook profile before you meet, it’s imperative to research a company online before an interview. Visit Glassdoor and Vault to read employee reviews on an organization. Start following the company on Twitter, and take a look at their Facebook page and Pinterest boards – these often give you great insight into the company’s culture and will help you develop questions for the interview process.
Talk…and listen on the first date
When you’re on a first date, it’s important that you listen just as much as you talk. The same can be said about interviewing. Ask thoughtful questions that will help you better understand the company. Find out how the interviewer would describe the culture, what kinds of people are most successful in the organization, and why. This will help you determine if the company is right for you, and show the interviewer that you’re interested in the role and have done your homework.
Carefully consider a company’s culture before accepting an opportunity to ensure this relationship stands the test of time.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.