What Does It Mean When Told You Don’t Fit In With The Culture Here?


Check out this Google search string that lead someone to my blog.

  • What does it mean when told you don’t fit in with the culture here?

Well, it could mean lots of things.

It could mean that your performance isn’t very good. You might not work hard enough. Or smart enough. Or at all. Maybe you take too many breaks. Or maybe you’re interviewing for a job with a company that sees your work experience as substandard. When I worked in consumer products, my company (Alberto-Culver) was seen as the place where people went to work if they couldn’t get a job at Unilever or P&G. As a recruiter, I had no problem hiring ex-P&G employees who couldn’t cut it. I very rarely lost an employee to our competitors.

It could mean that you’re too formal — or not formal enough — in your environment. I once worked with an American guy at Pfizer who went over for a secondment in England. He had a very rigid sense of when people should come to work (early) and when they should leave (never). His British employees came to work at 9AM and left at 5PM. They didn’t work weekends. They took vacations. Everyone worked for the same company but the American culture didn’t fit in with the British culture.

And it could mean that your company is racist, sexist, ageist or homophobic. Maybe you’re too brown and everyone is white. Maybe your colleagues like sports and you like Doritos. It could be that your company doesn’t know what to do with you because they’re all young and you are old. I had a client who hired me to do social media training for their HR department. They were a financial services firm and everyone was young, brash and made assumptions about people over the age of 40. Thank god I’m not 40 or I might have been offended. I was so offended on behalf of people over the age of 40!

So what does it really mean when you’re told that you don’t fit in with the culture?

It means you can’t work there.


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