What does being a ‘cultural fit’ actually mean?

Cultural fit is supposed to indicate whether your working preferences and values match the company you’re applying to join. If you want to work from home, for example, you’d fit well in a company with a work-from-home policy. If you’re a staunch environmentalist, you won’t be a cultural fit for a pro-coal-mining lobby. And if you’re keen to preserve work-life balance, then a just-finding-its-feet start-up likely isn’t a great fit.

In reality, however, the definition of cultural fit can vary widely. For some recruiters, it can mean simply: will we get along? Wanting to socialise with new colleagues isn’t a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when your opinion of an applicant becomes the deciding factor.

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