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The importance of company culture

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by Catherine Wasilewski | 04 September 2018

Since I joined Sellick Partnership, the Private Practice Legal team has more than doubled in size and more growth is planned throughout the next year (and beyond!). As the team continues to grow in size and different personalities and backgrounds are added to the mix we have taken the opportunity to sit down and discuss our current culture. We have been discussing topics such as what we love about working in our team, what we need to monitor and improve and what we want to portray to new people joining the business. This has been a fantastic exercise for us to reflect on our team and has allowed us to pause and look at our working dynamic and what standards we want to hold ourselves to.

This exercise also made me think about the importance of company culture generally and the important role it plays for both candidates and clients in the recruitment process.

What is company culture?

Company culture can often be difficult to explain but it is essentially a company’s ‘personality’ and how this forms its working environment. It can cover anything from core values and beliefs to expectations on staff and staff behaviour. A company’s culture will inform what it is actually like to work there day-to-day, so it is vitally important to get this right in order to keep employees happy and engaged at work.

Why is culture so important?

Culture has become one of the biggest deciding factors in the recruitment process. Culture and ensuring companies are the right culture fit rank very highly amongst our candidates (and indeed our clients) as it usually determines how comfortable candidates feel in their working environment. It can be the reason why a job doesn’t work out and as a result is often high on the agenda of most candidates seeking new employment. For this reason employers need to ensure they get this right and portray a culture that is favourable to candidates.

Deciding if the company is the right fit for you.

It is crucially important for candidates to ensure that the business they are applying for has the right culture for them, and that they are the right fit for the business they are interviewing for. Finding this out can be very difficult to assess and it is usually very hard to tell until you have a solid understanding of the business and the way it works.

Despite these difficulties there are some ways you can prepare. I have put together a few tips on what candidates can do to try and establish whether a firm will be a good fit for them.

  • Work out what is important to you – firstly sit down and work out what you are looking for in a role; is it flexibility with hours, clear team structures and hierarchy, lack of micromanagement or a combination of different things?
  • Company websites – company websites tend to be a formal portrayal of how that company wants to be seen and may not necessarily give a you complete understanding of what it is like to work there day-to-day. However, they can be useful. Be sure to look out for any staff testimonials and use it to learn about the different backgrounds and structure of your potential team
  • Asking around – speaking with your Recruitment Consultant and people who have worked at the company you are interested in can help you form a picture of what the company is like. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different, what didn’t work for one person might not be the same for you (and vice versa!)
  • External websites such as Glassdoor – external review sites such as Glassdoor can also provide an insight into what it is actually like to work for a company but come with the same warnings as above.
  • Asking questions at interview – in my experience interviews are the best forum for getting a gut feel as to what the culture of a company (and that specific department) is actually like.  Make sure you use this opportunity to ask tailored questions that will help you establish if it will likely be a good fit. We appreciate sometimes this can feel awkward but your Recruitment Consultant will be able to help you if you are worried about how to phrase things.

To discuss this article in more detail or for further information and advice on the recruitment process please get in touch by emailing catherine.wasilewski@hotmail.com. Alternatively, check out more blogs on the Insights section of our website.