What Marketers Should Evaluate in a New Job to Assess Culture Fit

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Most marketers today expect more from a job than just a paycheck. They want to add value and have a sense of belonging within an organization.

Truthfully, a marketer with even the sharpest skills cannot perform to their best ability if they’re not in the right workplace environment. As a marketing talent agency, we know that the corporate culture of a company should be one of the most important factors when considering a new opportunity or career change.

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If a brand’s core message doesn’t mesh well with your personal values, or if you don’t get along well with the people you’re working with, you’re going to find yourself struggling to perform well in a new position.

When marketing recruiting firms approach you with a new opportunity, it’s important to think beyond just the job title and salary. Before committing to a major career move, take your time to thoroughly evaluate and consider your prospective employer’s values, organizational branding, and workplace.

These are all key considerations that can either make or break your performance in a new job:

Pre-Determine Your Ideal Work Environment

It’s important to first know what you want in a job. Before you go in for an interview or initiate a new job search, evaluate the kind of culture that is best for you. You don’t necessarily have to find the perfect culture match in order to be successful in a new role. However, having a general understanding of what motivates and fulfills you as a marketing professional will help you avoid a job where you are set up to fail.

Consider past work environments where you have thrived – what about the company culture made you successful? Perhaps it was supportive management that was committed to your constant learning and growth, or extremely helpful peers, or a company-wide standard of individual accountability. These are all key attributes to consider in your future employers and will set the core standards for the ideal workplace and environment you’re going after.

Additionally, consider past work environments where you struggled to perform well or didn’t look forward to go into every day. What did you dread about that specific job? What obstacles stood between you and fulfillment? You’ll want to avoid companies with similar traits.

There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Research

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Whether it’s through the web or in person, discover the culture of your potential employer before you go into an interview through your own proactive research.

Perhaps the most reliable source of information on a company’s culture is directly from the mouths of the people who currently or have recently worked there. If you have a friend or acquaintance with experience working at the company, ask them for their opinions on the culture. You’ll get even better insights if this connection has or has had a role in a similar function.

An alternative way to check out opinions on the culture is through anonymous employer review sites like Glassdoor. These platforms empower professionals to provide feedback on the work environment and employee experience at a given company. However, take the information available on sites like this with a big grain of salt. Like most review platforms, responses are likely to be skewed by very positive or negative experiences, while more moderate and neutral perspectives are less likely to get shared.

The Interview Is a Goldmine for Insights

It may be difficult to grasp the full culture of an organization just from an interview. However, as someone who’s looking to grow their career, it’s important to actively understand the culture of a potentially new employer. Or else, it could be a recipe for disaster.

The interview for a new job is one of your best chances to get a glimpse into a company’s culture. In addition to selling your skills and competence as a marketer, use this time to ask questions inquiring about the organizational culture. This will make you seem genuinely interested and invested in the role.

About half of the questions you ask during the interview should be based around the culture of the company, with the other half on the particular role and its expectations. You can directly ask the interviewer what the culture is like at the organization. But if you want to get more in-depth insights, consider asking questions like:

  • Can I see your administrative policies and standards?
  • What character traits would a successful person in this position have?
  • How does management communicate and receive constructive feedback? Is it more open or bureaucratic?
  • What do you appreciate and value most about the culture in this organization?
  • What makes you excited to come into work?

By asking specific questions, you should be able to form a realistic perspective and comprehensive understanding of the organization.

If you have an on-site interview, take the opportunity to check the pulse of the workplace. Is it buzzing with activity? Are people hard at work at their desks? Can you see yourself working in that environment? While, you shouldn’t base your perception on a fleeting first impression, your instinctive read of an environment can be very telling.

Once you’re in the interview, don’t hesitate to ask the employer for an employee handbook. This can be a great way to get yourself aware and understanding of the organizational culture early on. It can reveal a lot about the culture of the company; everything from dress code, to rules and etiquette should be included in the handbook. This further shows your excitement and interest in the opportunity.

Don’t Ignore the Red Flags

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Don’t ignore the red flags. Acknowledge every warning you encounter in the job search process for a particular role, no matter how minor it may seem. Don’t wait for the offer or the interview to realize that a company may not be an ideal place for you to work at.

For instance, you can tell a lot about the organization based on how HR interacts with you when they’re setting up interviews, and how urgent it seems to them. Marketing recruiting firms know if particular roles aren’t valuable to an organization, candidates won’t be treated well in the process. And if you’re treated poorly throughout the entire interview process, don’t expect for things to change dramatically once you start the job.

Unfortunately, many people encounter warning signs that point to a bad cultural fit that they should have paid attention to. However, it’s important to trust your instinct that says a job isn’t a good fit for you to prevent yourself from getting yourself involved with an organization you can’t see yourself working for long term.

Parting Words

In addition to finding a job based on your skill set and career path, it’s important to find an organization whose culture best fits with your own personal values and personality. Take a step back and objectively consider the kind of environment your mind is most focused and happy in. You will find yourself the most successful here.

If you’re working with a marketing talent agency, don’t hesitate to ask them about the culture of an organization early in the process. This will save you the risk of wasting time and effort on your job search, and will help boost your marketing career in the right path.

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