What is Culture? The Shift From Surface To Substance

Written by Alex Holderness

March 9, 2017

We’ve been exploring people, culture and tech here in Australia on our daily blog. If you’re looking for your next dream role with 100+ of Australia’s top companies doing amazing things in tech, check out The Martec.

Over recent years it is evident that there is a power shift between candidates and employers right here in Sydney. Candidates rejoice, yet find themselves under new pressure to ‘find their dream culture fit’ when spoilt with the choice of choosing between different opportunities.

Culture is King

So what does culture mean nowadays? It was once so easy to explain; working with high performers, financial perks, Friday drinks, running clubs, quarterly drinks, etc.

While drinks and other perks are nice to have, it is no longer the epitome of what makes up a good culture.

Speaking with Matt Maguire, Elite Support Specialist at Hudl and lifelong sports enthusiast, we discussed the topic of culture and delved into his interview process with Hudl. “The employment process with Hudl] was the most involved and comprehensive interview process” Matt advised of his five weeks, four interviews, numerous test and task interview process. “It was tough but interesting.” “It was a good opportunity for me to ask them more questions.”


Preparing for the interviews, Matt offered that “looking at their website and reading about Hudl and what they stood for” helped him to learn more about their benefits, including the ‘Work Smarter’ allowance for personal development. From this, Matt “could tell that they were very big on making sure the employee didn’t stagnate and was growing in their role”.

Through this mutual screening Matt found that “the people I met during the interview process, I got a really good vibe that they were very very enthusiastic about their job and had a strong passion for education and sport, so that warmed to me, cause that is what I was about.”

A few key things really aligned when thinking about accepting the offer;

1) He brought his experience as a teacher and interest in maths to find a dream role – as a Support Specialist he works closely with both educating customers and the technology itself.

2) The company was in an industry he’d been passionate about growing up  – after Matt completed his Sports Science degree he went on to do a Diploma in Education, whilst working part-time with Fremantle Dockers AFL Club. He also played professional cricket in the UK for a few years.

3) He would be surrounded by others with the same mentality as him – throughout the interview, Matt was surrounded by people who loved sports chat and noticed the dress code was sports gear and baseball caps.

So what are some additional things to think about with the next company?

Is there room for growth?

One of the most common themes across culturally strong companies is investing in staff development, but more importantly, allowing staff the freedom to chose where they want to invest this. So you’re a salesperson, and you want to learn code? Awesome! There’s a good chance you will find somewhere where you can pursue that.  

Is there a community of like minded individuals?

Businesses like Hudl create community by firstly hiring only people who fit their culture and love sport but they nurture this community through initiatives like the Annual Pro Trip. Their Annual Pro Trip allows staff to go to a sports game anywhere in the world. Let’s be real, not all companies focus on such a well loved hobby such as sports, but check what extra programs they have. It could be philanthropy, environmental issues, working with schools,

Can you contribute?

We’re not just talking about shouting out here. Can you contribute to your colleagues but also your external peers. Does the company run ideas days? Innovation sessions? Meet Up Groups?

Another initiative that is becoming more common is “skunkworks” where employers take staff from their normal jobs for a few days, partnering them with peers they would not usually work with and allow them to create something totally new. If this is your ideal type of development – ask your potential employer what initiatives they have.

The commonality across culturally strong businesses is, as Matt put it so eloquently, “that these businesses promote enjoyment but productivity as well”.

Culture is not about after work drinks every Friday; it is the balance between enjoyment inside and outside of your work that fuels productivity.

Looking for your dream culture fit? We have over 100 top Australian employers hiring right now in our marketplace, join today and find your dream job.

Written by Alex Holderness

March 9, 2017

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