Cultural Fit: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Cultural Fit: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Author: Laura Mazzullo


When representing a new candidate, one of the first things we discuss is their ideal working environment and what types of industries/cultures they prefer; we uncover where they excel.

Of course, these answers are usually varied (and should be!) as we are all unique individuals with individualized tastes, preferences and personalities. It takes deep self-awareness to articulate these preferences, and they are important to know prior to searching.

Ideally, candidates are turning inward for the answers to these questions as they listen to their own instincts regarding ideal corporate environments that best match their needs. However, we live in a world with tons of external influences and opinions of what makes an ‘ideal’ culture. Candidatessometimes feel confusion between what they think they should want(based on what others may want) versus what they truly want in order to be happy…


Over the years I’ve been in recruitment, I’ve noticed various trends regarding corporate cultures and some are positioned as the ‘coolest’ places to work. These companies have ranged across industries and corporate environments. The common thread is that these corporate cultures often receive great press; they are truly ideal cultures to some, but certainly do not fit the preferences of all. This is a really crucial point to recognize.

A noticeable trend I’ve seen recently is how often HR candidates say to me: “I think I want to work in a start-up Tech Firm…shouldn’t I?”Perhaps they’ve heard from the media or from their friends that these firms are the ‘coolest’ places to work, but they haven’t stopped to think about what’s ideal for them.

Here’s what’s so important to note: Of course, start-up tech firms are, in fact, cool places to work…for some people, just not all! There is no need to succumb to societal/peer pressure and assume certain cultures are meant to be ‘one size fits all’.


There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ corporate culture. Quite the contrary! There is only the culture that works best for you! What fits YOU best?!

I can’t stress this enough. Embrace your individual preferences.

In NYC, we are lucky enough to have a huge variety of corporate cultures including Global Investment Banks, European Retail Firms, Boutique Consulting Firms, Start-up Tech Firms, Manufacturing Firms, Media/Entertainment Firms, Law Firms…the list goes on.

This variety in corporate cultures allows individuals to find what works for them. Ask questions such as: Where do I excel? What type of cultures do I prefer? What feels right for me? Where can I envision myself succeeding? What environments motivate me? What inspires me? Know what’s best for you! Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks is ‘the coolest firm ever!’ It may be for them, but not for you.

There are pros and cons to all environments. Some people thrive in structured, corporate cultures. Others need the ambiguity of a start-up culture. Some need more focused/serious environments. Others need places that are more playful and silly. Some need lateral mobility. Others prefer flat organizations with no titles. Some need ping pong tables. Others need corner offices.


Yes, start-up tech firms are cool places to work. But, so are many, many other firms…

What’s really ‘cool’ is when you get to know yourself really well and find a place that fits YOU perfectly!

Laura Mazzullo is the Founder and Owner of East Side Staffing, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in the placement of Human Resources professionals.  For more information about Laura and East Side Staffing please visit

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