I once applied for an opportunity to be a regional sales rep for a company based out of state. As part of the process, they flew the last few candidates to their headquarters in Maryland, and we proceeded to interview with everyone in the chain of leadership within the organization. Everyone was positive and professional except the woman who would be my immediate supervisor.
In the first five minutes of my interview (the 5th in that day), she took a phone call from another regional field rep. The very position I would be in – but in another territory. I attempted to excuse myself as the conversation got a bit heated but the woman signaled that it was alright, to stay and that she’d just be a minute.
There was no way to escape the conversation and yet I wasn’t even a part of it really. As I began thinking about the awkwardness of the situation I was in, I began to see that her management style was not going to be one I could thrive in. It was evident from her choice of words to the person on the phone there was no mutual respect, no guidance or servant-leadership happening here.
She maneuvered the call with something akin to disdain, and it was clear to everyone in earshot that she was unhappy with the performance of the rep on the line. Now I realize I don’t have the full story here – including how many occasions she might have mentored or assisted the rep in solving obstacles in his/her daily work to meet personal and professional goals. What I do know is, that interview, at that very moment in time, was uncomfortable for me, and I was embarrassed for the person on the call with the manager and embarrassed for myself that I’d been a secret witness to the belittling of a human being.
As a young professional, I also noted that I didn’t ever want to be that kind of manager or leader; you know the one who leads by intimidation and fear!
I didn’t take the job even though I was the candidate of choice for the group. In those days, jobs were more plentiful, and because I was already employed and had the privilege of a job waiting for me in Dallas, I could say no without hurting my finances. I also think it taught me a lesson that I had forgotten until I read a recent article that brought it all back.
It’s MY interview! It’s a two-way deal. Selling them on me is only part of the equation. I need to buy into why I want to work with OR for them. If you’ve ever been a part of a company culture that you knew wasn’t right for you and you just felt the negativity, like a misfit, then you’ll understand why whenever I read this recent article from Glassdoor.com I wanted to share it with you.
It’s clear that Ms. Biro has thought a lot about the effect of culture fit whenever job seekers are looking for places they’ll put a lot of effort into getting hired to work for.
It’s the same principle experienced recruiters use when sizing up candidates for placement at their clients’ companies.
1. If the culture is formal and structured, a person who has all the right experience and credentials but little adherence to structure, or the informal style of this employee is going to experience tremendous stress and also will frustrate their peers and supervisor. The walls will always feel like they are closing in and the formal professional types are going to drive this relaxed person crazy!
2. A free-spirited environment that has come as you are and do what you know needs doing kind of atmosphere will not work for someone who needs more structure or standard operating rules or clearly articulated goals and responsibilities outlined in procedures to accomplish their work. They will always wonder if they are doing enough and this amoeba-like environment will be stressful for this type of individual. It would be demoralizing to think you are never sure of your place within a work culture.
There is tremendous confidence when you feel you’re in the right place! The article suggests a culture audit to see if this is the sort of place that matches the values and ethical behavior you think and feel are a reflection of your own. Again, for your reference, see the link below.
Have you ever experienced being or hiring a misfit? Did you have someone who was a great producer but they were just not a good fit with the corporate culture? How did you try to help them be a better fit? Did they end up deciding or did the culture decide for them that they needed to move on to a better culture fit? Post your comments below.