Saturday, May 28, 2011

company culture fit as a job decision factor

I've noticed that when I decide whether to join a company, culture fit has usually been pretty far down the list of priorities. Many of my friends are this way too. Usually we think about:

- the company's vision
- the type of work we'd be doing day-to-day
- whether we respect / like the coworkers
- compensation

Company culture fit does play a subconscious role, but I didn't explicitly count it as a decision-making factor. I rarely talked about it when going over my decision with others. But it is actually so important!

When you fit well with the company culture, you can just be yourself and success will come naturally. If you don't fit well, people will keep suggesting that you mold yourself, but it'll always be slightly off.

Luckily it is easy to tell whether you fit well or not. I use the litmus test of, "Let's say I were to start working here tomorrow at 9am. How do I feel about this?" Usually I have either a feeling of elated excitement, or a sense of dread.

Recently one of my graphic design colleagues at Minted told me a story of how he started working at Minted. He applied during the height of the holiday season, when traffic was at a peak. Halfway through the interview, as he was showing his portfolio, his interviewer said, "Ok, that's good." and asked him to immediately go into the next room, sit down at a computer, and start working. He has been with the company ever since, and is really happy with it. But he said that he had arranged his portfolio so that the best piece was last, and was disappointed that the interview was cut short and he never got to show the best piece.

That is an even stronger emotional test than my test of "working here tomorrow at 9am".

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be sure, some of the factors you list:

- the company's vision
- the type of work we'd be doing day-to-day
- whether we respect / like the coworkers
- compensation

do overlap with culture.

For example, if you work at a place where you don't respect or like any of your coworkers, it's unlikely (though possible) for you to really enjoy the company culture.

Similarly, if one company's vision is to push out a marginally-okay product as fast as possible so that they can be acquired and move on to the next thing, they'll probably have a different culture than another company whose vision is to make the world a better place, even if they have to do it at a financial loss.

Wei Lou said...

Company culture is pretty important. I find almost 99.99% web companies in Mainland China only wanna earn much money. United now, I only know one web company in Mainland China which wants to create good products. I think there are 5 web companies at most in Mainland China which wants to create good products.