Successful business growth used to be about hiring the top graduates from top schools and plugging them in like a cog in a machine. Tasks were well defined as were key performance indicators. Individuality and creativity were not even on the table so understanding how an employee fit wasn’t an issue.
Google, Apple, and a host of innovative start-ups have redefined the employee/employer role and now businesses are looking for candidates who draw outside the lines and kick sand outside the sandbox. But hiring for innovation is not about hiring rebels, it’s about finding creative, innovative people who still fit with the company culture. Every company has its own culture, and the differences can make a massive disparity in work experience.
So how do you prepare for a Values or Culture interview?
In three steps!
Understand the company culture and values as best as you can. Many companies will outline culture and values on the job detail or may provide prospective employees with a booklet or presentation stack. If this is not available, then the website is usually a good source of information on how the company views itself and how it wants to be viewed by the world. Check social media as well. Company’s agenda forms value based interview questions. Now this is not necessarily the actual company culture so reflect on all your interactions to assess the core values by which the company operates.
Understand your own values and what you want from your work and professional experience. We are all different and our differences in values are reflected by our view of the world. Please keep in mind that a huge part of our life is taken up by work and if we feel like part of positive, empowering culture it can make a massive difference in our lives. So, ask yourself, ‘what is important?’ and, ‘what work experiences is have made your life better and which have made it hell.’ There lay your interview answers on values.
Ask yourself if the company’s values match your own. If they do, then think about experiences you have had in your life that support the fit between the company and your personal values. This common thread is what you should be prepared to demonstrate and discuss in the values or culture portion of your interview. If the company doesn’t have a formal culture interview, then the ‘why do you want to work here?’ interview question is the perfect time to launch your statement on how you have reviewed both the company and your personal values, and you’re thrilled at the fit!
Remember there are absolutely no right answers when it comes to culture or values – it is 100% about fit!