Fired For Not Being a Culture Fit: What To Do


fired for not being a culture fit

While difficult to quantify, a company culture is something that you’ll hear executives and business leaders talk about all of the time. 

And if you’ve been in the corporate world for a while, you’ll know that each company has it’s own unique culture. 

Some companies emphasize a fast-paced environment, where speed and adaptability are critical values. Others are measure twice, cut once types of cultures. And still others might be about revenue growth at all cost.

Whatever culture and values a company might have, they tend to look for people that personify those values. And, if someone simply has a work style that doesn’t align with the company culture, then they might be fired for not being a culture fit. 

To that end, this article is going to look at common questions around being fired for not being a culture fit and what do if you find yourself in that situation.

We sourced responses from a variety of different career experts to provide their perspective on the topic.

Let’s dive in.

Can You Be Fired for Not Being a Culture Fit?

stressed employee

Employment is “at-will” in most states meaning you can be fired at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all. Under the “business judgment rule”, businesses have a right to create, and foster whatever workplace culture they want. So, you can absolutely be fired for not being a “cultural fit”.

But, “cultural fit” is often meant to cover discriminatory motives. So, if you foster a “hustle culture”, you’re probably more likely to engage in age discrimination, which is illegal throughout the United States.

The above content was provided by John F. McCarthy, Esq., McCarthy Law.

What Does a Lack of Culture Fit Mean?

thinking person

 A lack of cultural fit doesn’t imply professional incompetence. Instead, it’s about the alignment of values, work ethics, and interpersonal dynamics. A high-performing sales executive at a conservative, hierarchical corporation may struggle in a flat, collaborative startup environment, and vice versa.

In my agency, for instance, we place a high value on creativity, agility, and teamwork. If an employee prefers a more structured, individual-oriented work style, they might experience a culture misfit.

The above content was provided by Jared Bauman, Founder & CEO, 201 Creative.

Why Is Cultural Fit Important to Employers?

work team

Individuals who make decisions based on motivations different from those valued in the company will inevitably ruffle feathers and can create toxicity if not addressed. Focus and clarity are important to the success of any company- whether it be in defining how they want to operate (culture), what their goals and objectives are, or how they brand themselves to the public.

When serious deviations are made from these pre-defined standards, the company risks creating chaos and confusion, which will eventually negatively impact the bottom line.

The above content was provided by Amy Sanchez, Executive Career and Leadership Coach at Swim Against the Current.

How Do You Explain Being Fired for Lack of Fit?

job interview

Explaining being fired for a lack of fit can be approached with honesty, self-reflection, and a focus on personal growth. When discussing this situation, it’s important to acknowledge that the fit between an individual and an organization goes beyond job skills and qualifications.

Explain that while you possessed the necessary skills and experience for the role, there was a misalignment in terms of values, working style, or overall cultural dynamics. Emphasize that you recognize the importance of cultural fit in creating a cohesive and productive work environment, and that you understand the impact it can have on team dynamics and collaboration.

Demonstrate self-awareness by discussing how you’ve reflected on your own behaviors and attitudes, and how you have taken steps to better understand and adapt to different organizational cultures. Highlight any learnings or actions you have taken to develop your interpersonal skills, communication style, or ability to work effectively within different team dynamics.

By focusing on your willingness to grow and improve, you can show potential employers that you have learned from the experience and are committed to being a better fit in future roles.

The above content was provided by Matthew Warzel, CPRW, President, MJW Careers.


Being fired for not being a culture fit can be painful. 

That said, as mentioned previously, each company has its own unique culture. And the good news is that it is often a matter of just finding the right one to fit your own particular work style for you to thrive.

So, be thoughtful and diligent about your next step. Ask good questions as you’re interviewing and be intentional about the culture that you’re looking for. If you can find the right fit, you’re likely to have a much better experience with your next position.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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