I’ve been offered a job that sounds great. It’s the right location and the right money, but I don’t feel like I would fit into the group. How important is “cultural fit” when considering a new position?

Location, job responsibilities, and money are of course very important when you are deciding whether to accept an offer. You want your family to be as happy as you will be in the new location. Make sure that it is affordable when considering your offered salary. There are websites such as www.salary.com that can give you salary comparisons from one city to another. Use www.realtor.com or www.zillow.com to learn about housing prices. You also want to make sure that you will be challenged in the job you accept so that you will learn something while contributing. But cultural fit is just as important and should be seriously evaluated before accepting an offer. We have had more candidates call us and want to change jobs due to a poor cultural fit than for anything other reason. Think about it. You will be spending at least 8 hours a day working with a new set of peers. Ask yourself, ‘Is this a team of people I could get along with well? Could they be my friends? Do they have the same education level that I do? Do they have the same work ethic as I do? Do they have the same goals of providing the level of excellence as I? Are they happy in their jobs? Is this a competitive group? Do they work well as a team or do they compete against each other?  You can learn this information by asking good questions in your interview. Remember that you will be interviewing them just as they are interviewing you. Ask yourself what is most important to you, and then ask them questions that apply.  Whether you are applying for a scientist role, or a VP role, try to request having an informal breakfast, lunch or dinner with the team or the hiring authority. When people are away from the office, in a casual environment, they tend to let their guard down, (as you probably do), and you will get a better understanding of the culture.  If you have doubts about the “fit”, don’t take the job!

What has been your “Cultural Fit” Experience?

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