Saturday 15 December 2018

Congratulations, you’ve got the job... as long as you pass the Culture Fit test

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Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

I texted someone recently who was going for their first 'proper' job to wish them good luck.

They’d already had two interviews and had to complete a project (for free) for the organisation. With a couple of degrees in their back pocket, and a stint at freebie work elsewhere (or, interning as they continue to insist it’s called), they sounded like a shoo-in to me.

"I’m not done yet," they texted back. "I have my Culture Fit interview on Friday."

"Yer wha’, Gay?" (young readers: ask yer ma).

Apparently it’s the done thing now in the techie start-up world which tends to be funded by fat-cat venture capitalists who wouldn’t know culture unless it came with a tax break. A panel of HR people, having already asked you all the questions it can think of and interrogated your qualifications during the normal interview process, now sends out a couple of ‘down with the kids’ kids to hang out with you for a coffee, who then report back about whether the new kid will, like, fit in with the, like, culture of the company. Like.

In my day, the culture of a company meant that you did the work in the job description and they paid you. ‘Culture’ was confined to the Friday after-work sloshing in the local.

Now it’s pool tables in the lobby and swing chairs hanging from the ceiling; it’s organic vegan keyboards and flexible work practices that appear to have you still slogging away at midnight.

Ireland is supposed to be the tech capital of Europe. Leo keeps popping up for a swing in the basket chairs at various trendy offices to tell us so. For those of us who were told a good job was (a) one for life, with a pension, (b) one you could pronounce and which (c) most people had a clear understanding of, it’s very depressing to realise that many of the gigs nowadays never even existed when we were starting out, and kids in school today will end up in jobs that nobody has even heard of.

LinkedIn continues to be at the forefront of trying to convince me that I too can be part of this cool new culture. "Do you think you could be the next Content Manager at EMEA?" or "Head of Mission at Web Moderation?" or "Optimisation Specialist?" it suggests every week. Well, of course I could.

If I understood any of those words.

School’s out for vending machines

Getting through school with your health in one piece seems to be harder than it used to be too. Apparently, parents can no longer be trusted to send their kids off in the morning with a ham sandwich and an apple for lunch. They’re turning up with Mars bars, a family pack of Wotsits and two cans of Coke.

It’s got so bad that even when you have boring parents insisting on balanced meals and nutrition and stuff, the schools rectify that social embarrassment by supplying vending machines full of the crap they should be eating. Sugar being good for concentration, obviously.

Now an Oireachtas education committee is coming late to the party and taking the fizz out of it by proposing unhealthy food and vending machines be removed from schools. Bah, humbug. How are the kids supposed to stay awake in double maths now?

It said there was a need to bring in measures ‘outside of parental involvement’ to help the obesity crisis. It also recommended a bit more moving about during break and PE time (tell that to the insurers), and prioritising green space for games (tell that to the developers).

Five a day still on the menu

Never mind. Even if the politicians are spoilsports, a glimmer of hope is promised for those who find themselves in dire need of a doughnut at 4am.

Krispy Kreme, the American giant – Creating Giant Waistlines Everywhere (this isn’t actually their strap-line, but you’re welcome) – has announced it’s opening its first Irish branch in September. The Blanchardstown outlet will include the ingenious addition of a 24-hour drive thru.

Before you fret that you won’t be getting your five a day, worry not. Among the glazed offerings will be ‘Banana Pudding’, ‘Apple Fritter’ and ‘Powdered Blueberry’ – all in a squidgy doughnut with icing obviously (otherwise it’s just ‘fruit’, right?).

Coming in at a not-inconsiderable 360 calories and 19g of fat each, you’ll be relieved to hear they also sell the doughnut ‘holes’ in a bag, which are for sharing apparently.

Sounds like a Culture Fit to me.

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