Ohio University Office of Career Services


Adaptability: Why it counts in today’s workplace by Christy R

Adaptability: Why it counts
in today’s workplace

Among the skills that employers are looking for in a potential employee, adaptability is ranked the highest along with communication, interpersonal skills and a strong work ethic. Every company looks for a candidate who fits within the existing work environment and is able to anticipate, respond to and manage change on a day-to-day basis.

Each organization has its own workplace culture that is strategically important for the company’s success. When hiring, companies consider not only a candidate’s experience and skills, but also how that potential employee will mesh with the company culture.

Cultural fit can mean many things: for example, it could be a candidate’s willingness and readiness to adopt the company’s values. It can also mean that a candidate’s work style matches the company’s expectations.  One question asked during interviews and aimed to discover the level of a candidate’s adaptability is: “Will you follow the set values and encourage similar behavior in your subordinates?” Other times a candidate is asked to describe the culture of their last employer or the type of culture they prefer.

Adaptability can often be a deal-breaker in the job search process. Even if a candidate makes a good impression due to their experience and skills, they will not be hired if they demonstrate a lack of willingness to adapt to the new environment and to get out of their comfort zone. In fact, a company will many times choose a candidate who lacks experience, but nevertheless fits perfectly into the company culture. A candidate can be trained to have the needed skills, the company says, but adaptability is something an employee must bring with them to the job.

Why are companies so concerned about getting the perfect fit? Employees who fit into the company culture tend to be more successful and productive than those hired simply because they fit the job description. Some studies indicate that almost half of an employee’s success in the first 18 months of being hired results from fitting well into the company environment.

When applying for a management position, adaptability becomes even more crucial. Managers affect subordinates and their attitudes towards the corporate culture.  The higher the position for which a candidate is applying, the more the hiring committee will be looking for a nearly perfect fit with the company culture. Making the mistake of hiring someone who reflects the wrong company image can cost the company reputation dearly.

So how does this affect you? When applying for a position, pay attention to the company regulations. Figure out for yourself if that company’s environment is something you can easily fit into. If you don’t find it suitable for yourself, then don’t go into the interview telling them you like the company culture and can be flexible. Finding yourself in an environment that does not suit your personality can compromise your chances of success. Instead, take the time to find an organization that fits you and enhances your natural skills.

Questions about your job search? Come to the Office of Career Services walk-in hours to meet with a career counselor.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
Integrity HR
The Most Important Job Skills a Job Candidate Should Have


Advertisements


Dressing the Part: What Your Work Wardrobe Says About You by Christy R

Dressing the Part: What Your
Work Wardrobe Says About You

Dressing properly for work assures credibility and helps to develop a professional relationship with colleagues and clients. Today many companies have adopted business casual attire and let go of some of the more conservative ways of dressing. Problems arise because the concept of business casual is not clearly defined and depends on the company’s dress policy and its corporate culture. Since few companies adopt clear written guidelines regarding business casual attire it is really important to learn the company culture and understand the expectations.

In the traditional business environment, for example, the existing culture expects you to stick to the classical business suit. It is crucial to establish reliability and a good reputation when you work in professions such as banking, finance or accounting. Choose a simple pattern or dark colors and try to change your professional business attire a single item at a time. Think of your dress as something that speaks for you and the way you do business. If the environment you work in is physically demanding, the internal culture there allows you to go with comfortable and easy-to-clean attire, but make sure that your clothes look smart and fit well. When interviewing with a company whose dress code or corporate culture you are not really familiar with, a business professional, traditional suit will be the perfect choice. Once you get hired and learn what the expectations and internal rules are you can adjust your style accordingly.

While it is important to know and understand your specific company’s environment, there are some basic rules that work for any situation or work environment.

Don’t get too casual. The fact that your company has a business casual dress code does not mean that you can get away with inappropriate outfits. Remember where you are and that you represent the company you work for. People won’t take you seriously if you can’t take the time to dress appropriately for the situation. Do a simple “Friday night” test: if you would pick a specific item to wear out to a weekend party, it probably doesn’t belong in the office.

Be professional in your choice of clothing. A short skirt is not a good choice for women to wear in the office environment. Short socks that expose legs are taboo for men. Avoid using bright colors in your outfit; it does not usually look professional. An option here would be adding an accessory that is an unusual color and goes along with the rest of the attire; however, that should be as far as it goes.  The foundational rule for wearing jewelry in a business environment is not to overdo it.

Summer Business Dress. Remember not to abandon your regular business attire when it gets warm outside. Sleeveless tops are very tempting in the summer time, but are usually not appropriate for a business situation. If you do happen to wear one, be sure that you have a jacket to put on when the situation requires. Women can try putting up their hair to stay cool and look sophisticated at the same time.

The Bottom Line. Every time you choose what to wear, think about the message that you want to send with your appearance. Keep in mind that you represent yourself and your organization. Carefully built credibility and reputation can be damaged very quickly by an inappropriate choice of clothing. By following some basic rules and learning the corporate culture of the company will guarantee you a professional look!

For more valuable information on professional dress, view our handout on Dressing Professionally in our Handout Library.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

Sources:
www.theworkbuzz.com
www.fashionforrealwomen.com
www.westsidetoastmasters.com



Personal Fit and the Job Search by Kristine Hoke
June 16, 2010, 9:27 am
Filed under: From the Staff, Job Search | Tags: ,

Even in today’s tough economy personal fit in a work environment is one of the most important factors that you should be taking into account when deciding whether or not to accept a position. If you do not fit well with that organization then you will not enjoy your work and be less productive. If you do fit well in that environment then you will enjoy greater job satisfaction and be more productive as a result.  Enjoying your job is also important because you will be more likely to stay in that position longer, increase your chances of promotion, and find value in what you are doing.

There are many factors that play into figuring out if a position is a fit for you or not but identifying how well you will fit is dependent on how well you know yourself. You need to be aware of your personal values and how those values affect your decisions. If you know your values you can compare those to the espoused values of the organizations that you want to work for.  Can you work for an organization whose values are different than your own? Do the other people in the organization value the same things as you? Would your actions and interpersonal behaviors fit in with your future co-workers or would you be the odd person out? Those are all questions you need to ask yourself about the work environment before you accept the position.

Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, joys, and needs are also important in determining fit. If you know what your strengths are then you can make sure that the position you are working in plays to those strengths and that you will have opportunities to use those strengths. Knowing your weaknesses is important because you can tell your employer what areas you are seeking to improve upon and also in what areas you will not be as effective in as others. Joys and needs are also important because meeting those increases your happiness in the work place and makes you a more productive member of the organization. For example, if you are someone who prefers to be surrounded by people and your office space is removed from everyone else then your social needs are not going to be met. Be sure you communicate your needs and joys upfront so that you can make sure they will be met when you eventually start your position.

Tommy Raimondi, Spring Practicum Student