Finding the Right Culture: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAR5AAAAJGI2ODhkMTk3LTFlMmYtNDliNC04NjhjLWE2NGRkNTI3NDc5NgWhen representing a new candidate, one of the first things we discuss is their ideal working environment and what types of industries/cultures they prefer.

In short: we uncover the type of culture where that candidate will excel.

Of course, these answers are usually varied (and should be!) as we are all unique individuals with individualized tastes, preferences and personalities. It takes deep self-awareness to articulate these preferences, and they are important to know prior to searching.

Ideally, candidates are turning inward for the answers to these questions as they listen to their own instincts regarding ideal corporate environments that best match their needs. However, we live in a world with tons of external influences and opinions of what makes an ‘ideal’ culture.

Candidates sometimes feel confusion between what they think they should want (based on what others may want) versus what they truly want in order to be happy…

“Cool” Cultures

Over the years I’ve been in recruitment, I’ve noticed various trends regarding corporate cultures and some are positioned as the ‘coolest’ places to work. These companies have ranged across industries and corporate environments. The common thread is that these corporate cultures often receive great press; they are truly ideal cultures to some, but certainly do not fit the preferences of all. This is a really crucial point to recognize.

A noticeable trend I’ve seen recently is how often HR candidates say to me: “I think I want to work in a start-up Tech Firm…shouldn’t I?”Perhaps they’ve heard from the media or from their friends that these firms are the ‘coolest’ places to work, but they haven’t stopped to think about what’s ideal for them.

Here’s what’s so important to note: Of course, start-up tech firms are, in fact, cool places to work…for some people, just not all! There is no need to succumb to societal/peer pressure and assume certain cultures are meant to be ‘one size fits all’.

Everybody’s Different

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ corporate culture. Quite the contrary! There is only the culture that works best for you! What fits YOU best?!

I can’t stress this enough: Embrace your individual preferences.

In NYC, we are lucky enough to have a huge variety of corporate cultures including Global Investment Banks, European Retail Firms, Boutique Consulting Firms, Start-up Tech Firms, Manufacturing Firms, Media/Entertainment Firms, Law Firms…the list goes on.

This variety in corporate cultures allows individuals to find what works for them. Ask questions such as:

  • Where do I excel?
  • What type of cultures do I prefer?
  • What kind of leaders do I respond to best?
  • What feels right for me?
  • Where can I envision myself succeeding?
  • What environments motivate me?
  • What inspires me?

Know what’s best for you! Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks is ‘the coolest firm ever!’ It may be for them, but not for you.

There are Pros and Cons to All Environments

Some people thrive in structured, corporate cultures. Others need the ambiguity of a start-up culture. Some need more focused/serious environments. Others need places that are more playful and silly. Some need lateral mobility. Others prefer flat organizations with no titles. Some need ping pong tables. Others need corner offices.

Never lose sight of who you are.

Yes, start-up tech firms are cool places to work. But, so are many, many other firms…

What’s really ‘cool’ is when you get to know yourself really well and find a place that fits YOU perfectly!


For this post, YouTern thanks Laura Mazzullo at East Side Staffing!



This entry was posted in Career Advice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.