5 ways to find the right culture fit for you!

Since founding Inspired Mums in 2006, I have worked with hundreds of mums to help them find fulfilling and flexible careers. One of the career tools I use with my clients is to help them identify their personal values so that they can consider these carefully when thinking about the best environment to work in. So many mums overlook the importance of finding the right ‘fit’ in their search for flexible jobs, when in reality this is one of key things to consider when returning to work or changing careers. For example, if you are someone who loves teamwork and harmony, it would feel very uncomfortable to work somewhere that is very competitive and unsupportive.

Whatever industry you work in, whether you’re a teacher, a lawyer or a marketer, follow my 5 ways to find the right culture fit for you….

1. Be clear on what values matter to you

Before you rush on-line to look for jobs in your chosen field, take the time to write down what type of behaviour and culture matters to you. Draw on your experience of past roles – both positive and negative - to help you get a clear picture of what working environment you want in your future career. For example, if teamwork, respect and equality are important to you then seek out companies that prioritise these values. 

2. Do your research

So you’ve worked out what values are important to you in your work but how do you find an organisation that shares them?  This is where research plays a powerful role. Check out different companies website – they will articulate their corporate values.  Look at their corporate responsibility programmes and see whether they actually live according to these values. Set Google alerts so you receive the latest news about the organisations you are interested in.

3. Use your network 

Although researching online can give you great clues as to the nature of the firm you want to work for, nothing beats hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth by speaking to someone who has actually worked there.

Harness the power of LinkedIn to find contacts who can give you the inside story and explain the culture to you in greater detail.  Whether it’s a friend of a friend, or an ex-colleague, most people are happy to share their experiences with you and this can be an invaluable way of getting a true picture of an organisation. You can then follow up on the information you’ve gathered here at the interview stage.

4. Make your job interview work for you

You’ve targeted a list of companies and managed to secure a job interview.  Don’t forget that the interview is a two way process and you’re chance to ask more searching questions about the culture

For example, you could ask:

‘I see from your website that you feel you are a family friendly organisation – please can you tell me more what you do on a practical level to support working parents?’ or

‘Your recruitment brochure mentioned that a high quality of service is what sets you apart from your competitors – I’d be interested to understand what specific initiatives you have in place to do this.’

5.  Meet the team

Your interview seems to have gone well and you think they’ll offer you the job – before you sign on the dotted line don’t be afraid to ask if you can meet the wider team or any other managers you’ll be dealing with on a regular basis.  Meeting your prospective colleagues face-to-face will give you a good feel for the organisaton and whether it is a culture in which you will thrive and flourish!


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