Personality and Corporate Culture: Where’s a Person to Fit?

We’ve all heard it – ‘she/he/you has a great resume and seems to have a good personality for the team, but I don’t see the fit with the organization’.

How is a career seeker to make sense of that statement? We’re looking at three possible contexts for evaluating one person – resume/skills, personality and ‘fit’ criteria, and each plays a part in securing or retaining meaningful, rewarding employment.

It’s arguable that personality is a key factor because it is immutable. Many self-assessment tools are available that can help us understand how our personality shapes how we present ourselves to potential employers – Myers-Briggs, DISC, Big 5, for example. While not everyone is comfortable with using these tests, they can be very useful as general guides in certain cases. Take Myers-Briggs, with its large-scale cues to what motivates or inhibits you. The results aren’t all there is to know about your personality or how you might fit, but the self-assessment process itself may reveal not only personality attributes to leverage, or manage, in a job search; it can provide the information necessary to evaluate ‘fit’, even before the first conversation with a recruiter, HR person, or hiring executive.

In the multidimensional process of finding the right career fit, I advise clients to work beyond understanding personality type to an evaluation of their personal brand, which is then measured against a target company’s corporate culture and the actual role. It may seem like a lot of variables, but here are a few points that can aid you in assessing true ‘fit’ for a role/company– a blend of skills, experience, personality/personal brand and corporate culture that can be crucial to success.

  1. First, know who you are: If you take three different personality tests and they all come up INTP, take comfort. This may be an indicator you’re intuitive, an architect of meaning, someone who thinks deeply and acts rationally. Congratulations! You may not be cut out for sales, or for a company with a corporate culture that values flash over substance – but you’ve got plenty to work with.
  2. Second, work on establishing a personal brand. Your brand is your personality, plus the attributes that make you a good prospect for the job in this particular context. Build a personal vocabulary to describe yourself in action verbs and definitive nouns. Break out a bit here – we’re not talking ‘creative’ or the dreaded ‘seasoned’, but words that speak to your unique brand. Use that vocabulary in your resume, in your interactions with friends, and in consultation with advisors. Test each word until you’re comfortable with your brand. It’s who you are, and what you present to others. Strive to be authentic in your presentation.
  3. Third, use what you’ve learned from personality assessments, what you know about yourself at a gut level, and what your closest counselors tell you to determine what your next career move should be. Are you strong-willed or flexible? Argumentative or a peace-maker? Dogmatic or flexible? Assess your personality attributes through the lens of the market and you have the beginnings of organizational fit.
  4. Once you’ve reached a comfort level with who you are, your personal brand, and identified targets that match – that offer some degree of cultural fit – it’s time to test your assumptions with research. Find out:• What do employees think about the target company? Check blogs and message boards, and network to get the inside scoop.
    • What are the stated values of the organization? Mission statements are a start; check news coverage and press releases to see how the company presents itself to the world, investors and customers.
    • Understand where the company is going, not just where it’s been. Scour the news for analyst comments to glean information about the company’s intent and see where you, and your personal brand, can help the company realize its goals.
    • Use your network to set up informational interviews.
    • Prepare a narrative that blends what you’ve learned about the target company, what your personality strengths are, and where your personal brand can be an asset.
    • Test, test, and recalculate. Your personality won’t change, but you can apply what you’ve learned to refine your personal brand.
    • When you find a job where you fit, record the highs – and the lows – in memory. There’s ebb and flow in every job; learn to control the course.

Matching your personality to a company’s culture and role may just yield a better fit. It’s an interesting, challenging, and fun process, one that will teach you a lot about yourself, help you build a personal brand, and help you figure out where you want to go with your career. After all, who doesn’t want to know more about what makes them tick?

What are the things you do to determine ‘fit’ for a potential role/company?


Guest Expert:

Meghan M. Biro, founder of TalentCulture, is a globally-recognized expert in talent acquisition, creative personal and corporate branding and new media strategies that accelerate talent acquisition. Meghan’s recruitment, coaching, and branding organization is built on her extensive experience in executive search and talent acquisition for clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to start-ups and mid-size organizations. Her background encompasses over 250 successful searches for clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to start ups and mid-size organizations. These searches range from C-level executives to matches made with recent college graduates, and are driven by her unique fusion of search strategy proficiency and fundamental belief in the importance of corporate culture and candidate personality. A career strategist,Meghan guides her clients to build distinctive corporate, employer and personalbrands-both on and offline.

Based in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, TalentCulture partners with clients, corporations and individuals to ensure a match between hiring needs, brand and culture/personality.

Reach at mbiro@talentculture.com
Twitter: @MeghanMBiro, @TalentCulture
LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/meghanmbiro

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