Paying Attention to Cultural Fit Can Save Everyone's Time

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10 Good Ways to "Tell Me About Yourself"

Break the interview pattern and grab attention.

It's been about a year since my colleague Ann All went on a rant against goofy job titles at tech companies, most notably the word "ninja." She pointed to a Wall Street Journal article saying that about 800 LinkedIn profiles use the word "ninja" and its popularity seems to be growing.


I just came across a "ninja" who picked that title for himself. And Boris Erickson isn't just a "ninja," he's Microsoft's "Enforcement Unicorn Ninja" for Xbox LIVE. Basically, his job is to make sure all the gamers play nicely together.


Ann prefers job titles that plainly state what the job entails, but clearly these "clever" job titles reflect company culture. I'd say Erickson's job title fits. I've written that companies are placing increasing emphasis on hiring for cultural fit. As executive coach Sharon Jordan-Evans of Jordan Evans Group explains in this Harvard Business Review video, getting the right person in the door to begin with solves many companies' retention problems and helps to project the company's chosen identity.


This jobs page at music site Bandcamp clearly reflects its culture and the issues of a distributed work force. It wants to know: Can you responsibly work at home on your own? To quote the site:

If the thought of setting your own work hours and environment makes you think of laundry and masturbation more than eight times a week, we're probably not for you.

Ann had this reaction to the site:

They probably eliminate folks that wouldn't fit into their culture pretty handily with snark like that.

And I say that's a good thing for all.