Ensure Your ‘Fit’ With a job Before Applying or Accepting

With a greater supply of applicants available than jobs, how well a candidate fits the culture of an employer is more often being used as a deciding factor in who to hire, especially when their qualifications are roughly equivalent. 

Job-seekers need to be sure they are familiar with the culture of a potential employer – its core values, mission and vision – and determine whether they are a true match and could have a career with them, rather than only a job. 

Lack of cultural fit is one of the biggest contributors to the failure of newly hired employees. Many of those who do not fit in didn’t currently match the culture of the employer when they were hired. Cultural fit usually cannot be developed in employees the same way as job skills they may be lacking. 

Employers are trying to get the “fit” right the first time due to the stagnant economy and the high cost of employees who do not work out. It can cost two or more times a worker’s annual compensation for a failed hire when including costs of recruitment, training, lost business, lost productivity due to other workers filling in, severance and other costs, according to ClearRock. 

To assist them in making the right choices, employers are more often asking behavioral-type questions to uncover whether a candidate’s personality and work style fits their culture. The questions are designed to uncover qualities about a candidate that can’t be determined from a resume. 

These questions include:

  • What type of work environment are you most productive in?
  • Who is the best boss you have ever had and why?
  • What do you like most about your current job? What do you like least?
  • What is the single most important factor necessary in a job in order for you to be successful?


Job-seekers should know – even before an interview – whether they feel they are a match for the company’s culture. If they aren’t absolutely certain by the time they are interviewed, they should be asking questions of their own to discern this. 


ClearRock recommends that job-seekers take these steps to gauge the cultural fit between themselves and prospective employers. 

  1. Conduct a self-audit of your personal values. Familiarity with what is important to you in a job, and what kind of environment you work best in will contribute toward your working out well if hired.
  2. Research the culture of companies to which you are applying. Check out their websites, look at their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, read their profiles on Glassdoor and articles that have been published about them. See if you can talk with someone who works there, used to work there, or can provide an introduction to a current or former employee.
  3. Develop questions you will ask during an interview. If what you have discovered about the employer seems to indicate that you would fit in, prepare questions to ask to ensure there is a fit. Questions can include which qualities they value most in employees, what they consider to be a ‘successful employee’ and how they develop their workers.
  4. Don’t try to force a fit. Having a successful career with an employer means being able to work with people to accomplish the most important objectives for which you were hired. If there is a clash between the company’s culture and your values, workplace behavior and/or management style, this may lead to an early involuntary or even voluntary exit.
  5. Follow up on your fit after being hired. You must fit the culture of your supervisor, direct reports, and colleagues once on board. Ascertain how and how often your supervisor wants to receive updates, how to best build teamwork with co-workers and discover how you can be a resource to colleagues in other departments.