Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

How to fit right in

While your technical skills and experience are important in getting a foot in the door when looking for a new job, it is your ability to sell your alignment to a company's values during an interview that will demonstrate your "cultural fit".

Both employers and employees see cultural fit as the most important criteria when it comes to hiring or joining a company. So why is it so important and what can you do to demonstrate it?

Hiring managers want to know if your actual on-the-job behaviour may be inconsistent with the values and expectations of the organisation you're hoping to join. By assessing your "fit" with such values or ways of working, the hiring manager can determine if you match with the organisation.

To be able to demonstrate your cultural fit, research the organisation to gain an understanding of its values and way of doing business. Then think about examples in your working history that illustrate how your way of operating matches the employer's. Use examples that demonstrate the fit between your own values and attitudes and those of the organisation.

In most cases, employers will assess your cultural fit by using a series of behavioural interview questions. Examples include: "Tell us of a time you exceeded your objectives for a successful result" and "Explain how you have worked towards achieving a common goal in a team." Again, use examples from your working history to show how your own values and attitudes are aligned with those of the organisation.

The key is to be open and flexible in your answers. Try to demonstrate that you are open to learning, are tolerant and welcome positive change.

Christine Wright is managing director of Hays in Aisa