Study Culture of Prospective Employer

Agency culture will be the deciding factor for a friend who has been interviewing for a new position with several agencies.  Feeling he made a mistake in chosing his current firm, he now lazers in on the all-important corporate culture.  He’s also found that it’s a two-way street since a couple of employers are equally interested in his fit within their particular cultures.

After having just discussed the importance of the right cultural fit with my friend, I was intrigued to read the Corner Office interview with CEO Dawn Lepore in today’s New York Times.  In discussing hiring, Lepore mentions some of the subjective (a.k.a. intuitive) factors of hiring decisions.  It’s more than what’s on the resume.  Here’s how Lepore describes her hiring decision-making process and the importance of culture fit:

“I’m a very intuitive interviewer, so I want to get to know people. I always ask them to tell me their background.  I can read it on the résumé, but I always want them to describe their background to me, because it’s interesting to see what people choose to tell you about themselves, how they describe the moves they’ve made, the changes they’ve made.

I’m looking for intellect, I’m looking for experience level, I’m looking for cultural fit, which is hard to describe.  It’s more of a soft thing.  And then I am looking for this whole commitment thing. Are they willing to stick it out during hard things?  How have they handled setbacks?  How have they handled tough times?  If you ask them about things they’re most proud of, are they things they’ve done themselves or are they things where they’ve helped a team do more than they ever thought they could?”

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