November 8, 2017: Organizational Culture and Personal Fit

2016-2017 Issue 1

IMG_3981“Do you have any questions for us?” As much as we like to remind ourselves that interviews are a two-way street, the majority of our preparation still goes into being ready to answer, rather than ask questions to the recruiter and hiring manager. And yet, a disproportionate focus on saying the right thing can mean a missed opportunity to genuinely assess fit, and that is an unwelcome risk for both parties.

Our next series in this column will explore organizational culture and personal fit, identify some of our deeper-ingrained preferences and lay out scenarios you can use in your job prospect discussions. Beyond the typical inquiries into the day-to-day, goals and priorities of the job, the questions you reserve for the interviewers should reflect what matters to you. There is no right or wrong answer here, your performance is not in question and adaptability will always work in your favour, but you also want to ensure, to the extent possible before taking the job, that you will thrive and excel.

Insight 1: Team vs. Individual Accountability

Whether you are collectively or individually minded will play a major role in how comfortable you feel in executing, submitting and reporting on your accomplishments in your new role. We can, of course, all work both independently and in a team, but we tend to have a preference in how to strike this balance so that we feel at once a sense of agency and belonging.

To an extroverted individual inspired and energized by teamwork, too much solitude in front of a screen can spell loneliness and disenfranchisement, and when extended into a routine, be even perceived by him or her as carelessness on the part of management. If you have previously felt this way, perhaps it is the proximity and tight collaboration with your immediate coworkers that you were lacking.

Conversely, if you prefer to work alone and report at specific milestones, imagine finding yourself instead in an open workstation with seemingly endless check-ins and needlessly fractioned project responsibilities. You would perceive the work environment as interruptive rather than the collective stimulation it was intended to create.

If either of these scenarios rings a bell, you should make it a priority to inquire into the teamwork expectations at the interview stage. A simple question about the breakdown of independent vs. group work or the frequency of meetings should clarify this facet of your cultural fit.

Join us in two weeks for our next insight into Organizational Culture and Personal Fit.

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.

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