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How to find the perfect cultural fit

Going from interview to offer happens very quickly in our industry. Agencies operate at a lightning fast pace and need great people fast.

Therefore, it can be tempting to say yes to a job offer quickly so you can hit the ground running without taking the time to make sure it’s the right fit for you long term.

Here’s a few tactics to get a bigger picture of what you can expect come your first day: before signing the contract.

Ask your network if anyone you know works at the place you’re looking to land a job. How would they describe the company culture? Getting some outside perspective can give you a good indication of what to expect once you join the team.

Ask to spend a few hours in the potential workplace, either at informal drinks, or having coffee with decision makers their direct reports before landing on a deal. You’ll be able to test the waters and get a feel for their management style as well as company culture from both sides of the fence.

Time permitting, it can be a good idea to ask for a small project to work on as a proof of concept or simply joining in a creative brainstorm for a major client. This way, you can potentially spend a few hours in the workplace to observe your to-be colleagues while identifying whether the workplace is a good fit. Equally, the employer gets to see how you fit in with the team and deliver on a brief.

It’s important to feel as though you can be your most authentic self in your potential workplace, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity or whether you have children. Look around. Do you see people like you in the workplace? Or, is it full just one demographic? Do you see people being able to express themselves or does everyone look the same?

If you’re looking to have children, or have children, consider how flexible the employer will be to your life requirements. Do they have examples of other parents balancing work and childcare commitments while delivering great work? A great way of tackling this question is to ask your potential employer for examples where they have supported an employee through a major change, or promotion. Look for tactical examples where they’ve been flexible to an employee’s needs.

Agency life can be high pressure, responding to the needs of clients and big deadlines, meaning often there’ll be times you’ll need to pitch in to deliver a project on time. It’s really important you feel supported as a team to achieve a big ask and that you’re surrounded by a group of individuals who help one another out.

Look around the workplace on interview. Do employees look genuinely happy and engrossed in their work? Do they look tired, worn out and potentially at risk of overworking? Or do they look busy, energised and supported to succeed?

That’s the workplace you should be looking for.

As a job seeker, just remember: you are interviewing your potential workplace just as much they are interviewing you. Once a contract is signed, it can be incredibly stressful for both parties if it is not a good cultural fit. By taking a few precautionary measures, you’ll be able to sign that contract with confidence, leaving you plenty of time to settle on your debut outfit.

 

Image courtesy of Stocksnap.io.