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Job Search Tip of the Week #8 (2019)

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Job Search Tip of the Week #8 (2019)

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What Makes a Company Stand Out from the Pack?


What makes a company unique? Many might argue that its products, logo, or branding are what makes an organization stand out. However, the true distinguishing factor — at least, for the people who spend each workday there — is the corporate culture. What makes up a company’s culture, and why should potential employees care?

What creates culture

A company’s culture comprises the tangible and intangible characteristics that make that company unique:

  • Core values — What values does the company hold dear? More important, what does it expect employees to care about? A company that believes in driven innovation isn’t likely to be a good fit for someone who wants to leave at 5 p.m. to get home to family.
  • Environment — Work environments vary greatly — for example, one company may offer a relaxed scenario with shared workspaces and “bring your dog to work” days, while another company has a much more formal atmosphere with cubicles and private offices.
  • Communication — How do company leaders convey strategies, policies, and company changes to employees? Is communication transparent, or on a need-to-know basis?
  • Dress code — Related to environment, dress codes indicate how strict or relaxed the culture is.
  • Perks — Does the company offer team-building, training, and recreational events for employees? Sponsor continuing education programs or professional development opportunities? Perks show what the company thinks (or expects) employees care about.
  • Respect — Does the company embrace diversity? Is there mutual respect between company leaders and staff?
  • Team spirit — A strong team mentality might translate into willingness to put in extra hours, or create a more family-like atmosphere.

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Job Search Tip of the Week #13 (2017)

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Cultural Fit vs. Qualifications & Experience

When Hiring, Which Comes Out on Top?




While researchers Dokko, Wilk, and Rothbard were investigating how career history affects job performance, a senior human resource manager told them, “We tried to hire from our competitors and paid a premium for the experience but [those hires] were the least successful.”

How could this be? Dokko et. al determined that culture varied so vastly across companies, that some of the most experienced hires seemed to require retraining to complete previously mastered tasks. In fact, poor cultural fit appeared to completely eliminate all the good that came from having the ideal skill set. That HR manager found out the hard way that prior experience doesn’t necessarily predict future job performance.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Why do some tech firms prefer to hire software developers who have a history of job hopping over those who’ve been using the same technologies in the same environment for a long time? Perhaps it’s because job hopping is an indicator of social skill and cultural adaptability.

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