• Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

How often have you heard the phrase “Not a cultural fit”? Sometimes, when you prepare well for an interview and everything seems under control, you face that unexpected  and dreadful phrase. There is really no way to prepare for this one, unless you have prior inside information on the cultural environment and what the hiring manager is really looking for.  However, there are things you can do, during the interview, that might change the outcome.

During a behavioral interview, the hiring manager asks questions that are not technical and are not directly related to the job requirements. The purpose of these questions is to see how well you fit within the team and how you act under certain situations. (I know, some of these questions are so vague and hypothetical that they probably will never happen in the first place!)

What you need to do is develop an adaptive strategy. Learn as much as possible on what the hiring manager expects, how big/small the company is, and what the team looks like. You may ask some questions before they hit you with these questions, or preferably have your questions answered by HR first. Once you have an idea of how the environment looks like, you can develop your answers to fit the situations.

For example, if it is a start-up company, discuss your individual contributions and small team management. Show them that you can roll-up your sleeve and do whatever it takes to get the job done. On the other hand, if it is a large company, talk about using available resources, reports, and difficult situations that required your leadership skills…

Adapt during the interview and picture yourself at the company. The answers will be easily accessible.

Let us know how your behavioral interview went and if you were ever deemed not a cultural fit to an organization!

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