Applying For A Job? How To Know If You're A Culture Fit
By: Vanderbloemen March 19, 2018
One of the most difficult parts of searching for a new position is determining whether an organization will be a good culture fit for you (and vice versa). Just because an organization is in the same location, size, or denomination as your previous roles, there’s no guarantee that you will instantly feel at home on the staff team.
Starting a new job will always be difficult, but if the existing culture lines up with your values, work ethic, and interests, the transition will be much smoother. Here are 6 questions to assess if an organization is a good fit for you.
1. Have you looked through the organization/senior leaders’ social media?
Social media is a great place to start looking for glimpses of an organization’s culture. Are they retweeting thought leaders or pastors you admire? Are they posting anything social or political that you feel lines up well with your personal view? Do they have a sense of humor and post funny videos that you enjoy?
A quick scan through an organization’s Twitter feed or Facebook page will often give you a small peek into what the culture of the church is.
2. Where is the organization located within the community?
Something as simple as an address can give a good idea of the community an organization is reaching. As a candidate, this will help you assess whether that is where your feeling lead to serve during this season.
For example, if you are applying to church or ministry, ask: are they a missional church in the heart of the city and serving the downtown community? Or are they a suburban church serving mainly families and students and in a suburban environment? Are they in an affluent part of town, or a low-income area?
These are all essential questions to ask because they often play a significant role in the church’s culture.
3. What initiatives does the organization push heavily?
This is especially helpful for churches in their ministries of focus. Taking a quick look through a church’s programs can help you figure out if the ministries most important to them are also things that you are passionate about.
Does the church provide a homeless shelter, food bank, or foreign missions? What about daycare, senior assistance, and after-school programming? These are just a few examples of initiatives that a church or organization can lean into as a part of its mission.
4. Is this organization part of a particular denomination or network?
Each church or organization is unique, even within a denomination. That being said, you can usually get a good idea of where it is theologically and socially by looking at the other organizations in its denomination or network.
Even when applying for non-denominational churches, it’s important to check which denomination they came out of, if any. Maybe a church was with a denomination for 100 years and just made the transition to non-denominational in the last 20 years. Even though it may not be evident on the outside (or even to most of the congregation) those early influences can still be present deep down.
5. Have you watched or listened to services?
If you are interested in working at a church, it’s crucial that you listen to some sermons from the senior pastor. Most churches have services recorded or streamed on their website, so it should be relatively easy to access this unique window into a church’s culture. Keep in mind that a church may offer multiple services geared towards different crowds, so make sure you are looking through all the different service types.
6. Have you searched online for news articles or external pieces about the organization?
It’s always great to get some external perspectives on how a church or organization is working in its community. Searching local news sites can be helpful as well.
We always recommend learning and having as much information as possible about the church you are interested in working. It’s not only a great way for you to assess if it’s a good place for you, but it also shows the staff team that you’ve done your research and understand what they are trying to achieve.
What are some aspects of a church or organization that would make you excited to work there?