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Finding The Right Fit

Before you say “yes” to your next job, make sure you click with its culture. Our ECD Luciana Cani offers her insights on how to find happiness and success in your career.

Decline an offer before it's too late.

Before saying "yes" to a new professional challenge, we should consider some things beyond a good salary.

If the company’s values don’t reflect our own, it's unlikely that we will be very successful at that organization.

The company’s culture—the core values that every employee reflects in their attitude and way of working—has a huge impact on the performance and well-being of each professional.

It took me awhile to realize it. During periods of frustration at work, I didn’t understand that the problem wasn’t the profession I had chosen, rather the way we were working at that specific company.

This misunderstanding is very common.

Once, I met a trainee that was coming from another agency. She told me that this was the last chance she was giving the advertising industry. The previous internship had made her so unhappy that she thought she had chosen the wrong profession.

Fortunately, the second internship went well and she continued in the industry. The problem wasn’t the profession, rather the core values of the other agency, which didn’t fit her beliefs.

Sometimes it's difficult to get to know the company culture before beginning work there. But we do have some good examples of companies with a strong culture.

Airbnb is well known for its “Belong Anywhere.” This idea is reflected in every aspect of the organization: work space, benefits, schedules. The company also offers employees an annual stipend of $2,000 to travel and stay at an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.

Another good example of a company with a strong culture is Zappos. More than online sales, the company believes in “Delivering Happiness.” There are no scripts or time limits for call-center employees. The call ends when the client is happy and their problem is solved. Internally, employees have free health insurance as just one of many benefits offered.

Unfortunately, many companies are less transparent, creating a weak culture. It’s not enough to have a pool table in the middle of the office if employees aren't allowed to use their time more freely. The same is true of companies that promote a less hierarchical and more collaborative environment with open work spaces at their offices, but that keep closed rooms for some executives. It’s a partial commitment.

Culture is something deeper and, obviously, goes beyond some space arrangements.

Cultural fit is most important at two crucial moments: when you accept an offer and when you extend one.

The most complex hiring process I experienced was for my current position in the U.S. I had four or five interviews with the EVP and managing director of the agency, plus individual interviews with each department head. At the end of the process, I was also interviewed by the people that would report to me. The process took several months and one full day in Chicago of meetings. The person that later became my boss told me that the most important question he asked those who interviewed me was if I reflected the culture of the agency.

I had another boss that used to say that, if he had to choose between a brilliant and arrogant creative, and one not so brilliant yet humble, he would always choose the latter option. He believed that it is easier to teach someone to be a better creative than changing someone’s personality. I 100% agree.

That's why it’s better to change jobs instead of trying to adapt to a place that has nothing to do with us.

Our personality is key to helping us understand where we can fit better.

The first step is self-knowledge.

Do I prefer flat organizations where the power is decentralized, or do I feel more comfortable with a hierarchical structure?

Do I feel more motivated in a competitive environment, or in a more collaborative one?

Interviewing ourselves before we are interviewed by a company will give us the confidence to say "no" to a supposedly good offer that won’t make us happier or better professionals.

March 15th 2018

Julie P