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Do It for the Culture

By July 27, 2017 No Comments

Do It for the Culture

For the month of July, Jackrabbit is partnering with Austin Digital Jobs – one of the largest networks of Austin professionals with 30K members – to share our insights on landing a job in the Austin startup community. This 4-part series is called Why Austin Tech Startups Aren’t Hiring You: Counter-Intuitive Insights to Land Your Next Job and can be found on our blog or by subscribing to ADJ’s TGIF newsletter – a thoughtfully curated list of links relevant to job seekers, career refiners, and hiring folks alike.

Do It for the Culture is the last blog post in this series.

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Culture isn’t about ping pong tables in the break room or a fridge filled with beer.

Don’t get me wrong, those perks can be nice and I’m a huge supporter of Taco Tuesdays, but culture should be focused on the relationships, environment (including psychological safety), and mindsets of an organization. You spend the majority of your days at work. Why not find a team you enjoy being around and feel good about going to work everyday?

Here are 3 healthy perspectives to have that’ll help you find the company culture that’s right for you.

1. Know yourself

The first step to finding cultural alignment with any organization is to understand your personal values and goals. Starting a new job is a major life milestone, so take this time to self-reflect. View it as an opportunity to check in on what gives you meaning and what you value the most when working for a company. Use these insights to define what your ideal job and work-life balance could look like. Here are some questions that serve as good starting points.

At your ideal job….

  • … Do you work more with a team or as an individual?
  • … Are you able to work remotely?
  • … What time do people normally get to the office?
  • … What’s the daily attire?
  • … Are you in a position where you would like more mentorship? Or are you ready to lead and provide that for others?

While it may sound obvious, having clarity on what you want will help you find what you want, so give yourself the time and space to reflect. Once you have parameters for your ideal job and start interviewing, be sure to directly inquire about a company’s culture. What are some rituals an organization performs that doesn’t immediately impact their business model? For example, does the company do something to incentive outside learning, giving back to the community, or just being playful and not taking themselves too seriously?

At Jackrabbit, we believe in creating an environment where people feel psychologically safe to be themselves. We talk about bringing your “whole self” to work – your interests, hobbies, and quirks. Some ways that we foster this environment include “Team Spotlights” (a parody MTV Cribs style video featuring a new employee every week) and Friday “Lunch-n-Learns” where an employee teaches the rest of the team a new skill – from Google Analytics 101 to personal finance hacks.

2. It’s a two-way street 

Companies are hiring for a reason – they need you! Finding the right job is like both parties swiping right on each other, but keep in mind that companies are also on the hunt for a long-term relationship. Hiring is a highly involved process for any company, and finding the right person to invest in is a major task. The time and commitment it takes to hire and the cost of losing a team member or filling a new role are all factors that an organization takes into consideration. Despite the enormity of the task, once they find the right fit, trust me, companies are ready to put a ring on it! 😉

As an example, the hiring process at Jackrabbit is super involved, and we’re intentional about how we creatively interview candidates. For our Client Communication Lead, we put candidates through a series of email exercises that test their emotional intelligence like responding to a mock angry client email or watching a movie clip and talking through how they would navigate that social situation. Furthermore, we always pull in at least three members from different departments to be a part of our in-person interviews.

In the hiring process, it’s not just one party doing the wanting, so go into to that interview feeling empowered by both the clarity you have in knowing what you want and the confidence that the company you’re interviewing with is considering investing in you long-term.

3. Be yourself, be chill 

Not only are employers scoping out how qualified you are for a position, they’re also looking for how well you’ll fit in with the rest of the team and company culture. No one wants to work with someone they don’t like. Your résumé is your ticket in, but being personable and genuine are what will get you to that next step, especially in the startup world where leveraging relationships are how things get accomplished. So relax and be yourself. If, for some reason, the company doesn’t like who you are, that’s a good indicator that you probably wouldn’t be happy with them either. Remember, two-way street.

On a related note, be “extra” yourself. Whenever I (Vanessa Navarro) am in the process of looking for a new job, the piece of advice that always frustrates me is make yourself stand out. Well duh! But while it’s obvious, it’s also true. Find ways to show your personality by sprucing up your résumé or including additional materials that give more insights into your work and you as a person.

For Jackrabbit candidates, we ask people to make a video of themselves answering a few questions. It helps us get a better feel for who they are, and if they’ll fit into our culture. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your next job application – even if it’s not asked for. You can check out my video above as an example.

Pro Tip: If you can, try to have an in-person conversation with someone from that company. Take a look to see what meetups or networking events the company is involved with, and get out there and just start talking to people. Being you is definitely enough, but try be “you” in front of that company. Put yourself in a position to meet some of the team, then relax and be yourself. It can be offputting for hiring managers to be bombarded by a potential candidate aggressively wielding their qualifications. Relax! We love it when someone approaches us in a calm manner, is personable, and weaves their skills, interests, or industry topics into the conversation in a way that flows naturally. Be chill.    

Key Takeaways  

You spend a lot of time at work, so be intentional in finding a company culture that will make you happy. Some helpful lens to have in your quest for cultural alignment are knowing what your goals and values are, understanding that hiring and job searching are two sides of the same coin (both parties need each other), and being yourself and relaxing will get you far.

If you haven’t already, check out the previous blog posts from our collaboration with Austin Digital Jobs on Why Austin Tech Startups Aren’t Hiring You: Counter-Intuitive Insights to Help You Land Your Next Job:

The Entrepreneur Paradox: Why Startups Actually Care About Your Side Hustle

Full-Time Isn’t Right All The Time

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

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Author: Vanessa Navarro is part of our Outcomes team at Jackrabbit Mobile. You can always find her on an Austin adventure with her hubby and two precious pups Beasty and Luna Bean or hanging out at home crafting her heart out.