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Finding the right work culture

If making sure the corporate culture is right for you sits low on your job-hunting list, it’s time to take a fresh look. Read our tips on how to identify your ideal culture.

There are as many ways of working as there are organisations, and 10 years in digital, design, marketing and communications recruitment has taught us that matching job-seekers with the right working environment is every bit as important as making sure they have the right skills and experience for a role.

Because we get to know our clients properly we can judge when on paper a candidate looks perfect, but their personality will not match the organisation. Read on for some useful pointers on how to work out what you want from an employer.

Work portfolio: with an in-house job you can immediately see what industry you’ll be focussing on, but if it’s an agency job you want, make sure the agency’s client portfolio floats your boat.  If your heart lies in helping to promote good causes or working with the third sector, a business that specialises in the financial services sector may not be a great fit for you.

Leadership and management style: do you like to work within a hierarchical or flat reporting structure?  Will you be happiest where ideas and initiative are genuinely encouraged, and problems or conflict are handled without drama or door slamming? Think about whether your best work is done up against challenging deadlines in a noisy, buzzing studio, or in a steady, calm environment where you are given the head space to think.

Life balance:  While presenteeism is losing ground in favour of a focus on results rather than the clock face, the creative sector is well known for times when a last minute pitch or pressure of work means all hands on deck for as long as it takes. Most companies balance that out with perks such as Pizza Fridays, some early finishes and your birthday off, but watch out for businesses where ‘early in late out’ have gradually become the norm, and everyone looks as if they never see daylight.

Dress code:  Do you work best when you are smart but casual, or is your style more suited and booted?  If you’re proud of your tattoos and piercings and they are in publicly visible places, some organisations might expect you to cover up, at least for client-facing meetings.

Public versus private sector:  the public sector tends to be highly structured and procedure-driven, with clearly defined career progression. The private sector might offer more instant career rewards but tends to suffer first from economic dips and client budget cuts.  Flexi-time used to be a big draw for the public sector, but together with remote working it’s now popular in the private sector too.

I need my space:  Some people are comfortable in an open plan layout where people can discuss work issues and chat over background music, while others like smaller offices or their own work pod.

Respect:   We humans are not all the same, but that’s a good thing. Every business needs a mix of personalities, from in your face extrovert creatives to the steady troopers who know the business inside out and keep the back office functions running smoothly.  If you’re the latter and you feel pressured to go out on long partying sessions or take part in mini ‘It’s a Knockout’ competitions, you’re likely to be miserable. And as well as being bad for you, it will show in your work.

Making the ideal match between job role and personality results in a better experience for everyone.  We will never put you up for a job somewhere that’s not right for you, because one of the first things we do when you register with us is to help you identify what sort of culture will suit you best.

When you’re in the right job in the right place you feel more in control and less stressed, which means you are happier and more productive.

And at the risk of sounding like your Mum we want you to be happy. That’s why we work hard to help you find a job that works for both sides of the payslip.


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