Despite the competitive advantage that organisations gain when they employ people with different attitudes and varying backgrounds, some employers prefer to recruit in their own image. They feel more comfortable with ‘a face that fits’, effectively building a business where everyone thinks and acts the same.
A good place to work?
If you are offered a job at a place like this, on the basis that you are a good match for their culture, it pays to reflect on the downsides:
- A predictable business culture may lead to boredom
- Creativity will be stifled
- There will be fewer challenges for you to get your teeth into
- You may feel the ‘real you’ is being suppressed
On the other hand, there are upsides to this kind of workplace:
- You know what to expect
- You can meet the standards
- There will be no big surprises
- Your new colleagues will readily accept you
How will you play it?
So, if you have been invited for an interview and see a fairly uniform culture with little diversity, how do you play it? Do you let your own personality shine through, or try to reflect the culture as you perceive it from your research and the interviewers?
Whichever way you sell yourself, if you are successful and land the job, your performance at interview has set the expectations for how you will be expected to work.
It is very tempting to see the selection process as a challenge, where the only successful outcome is to get the job. However, if you feel pressure to be the person you think they want to hire, everyone could miss out on the true potential that you offer.
If you don’t like the thought of compliance and of uniformity, do not behave as if you were someone else. Use this as an opportunity to sell your diverse talents, to demonstrate how you will bring new perspectives and, in the right way, challenge the norms. If this means the job goes to someone else, don’t see it as rejection, but as a statement of the conservative culture and staid behaviours in that organisation. However, imagine the possibilities for you and the new company if they like your independence, your thoughts and your talents.
Compatibility, not fit
Rather than talking about a good fit, let’s think about compatibility. In any relationship we have our differences, but it is compatibility that makes for great marriages, friendships and work environments. Everyone is different, but we recommend that you embrace the diversity, set out to enjoy your work and make a significant contribution.