Like interpersonal relationships, company cultures evolve over time. Most corporate change responds to the need to adapt its business to its customers’ evolving needs and ideals. Some of that evolutionary change occurs as result of new laws that prevent discrimination in its many forms. Other changes occur due to the possibility of lawsuits, or the pressure to stay in business, which every company faces. Other changes or trends result from the behaviors of large percentages of employees who influence others. Employees often modify a company’s culture as much as the CEO and other leaders do.

Every employer wants to hire people who align with the company’s culture. In fact, new research shows that the vast majority of employers (88%) now consider an applicant’s ‘cultural fit’ more important than his or her technical skills. That’s because employers have learned that they can teach an individual with the right educational background the additional technical skills necessary for the job more easily than they can change an individual’s personality and character traits. As a result, more employers are using ‘personality’ tests to gauge a job applicant’s potential cultural fit. Those test results are as important to them as the tests they give potential employees for their academic knowledge.

Whether a set of employees are free-wheeling artists or by-the book engineers, new employees need to fit in. Sometimes the fit doesn’t work for the company; sometimes the fit doesn’t work for the new employee. In those situations, it’s in the best interests of both to terminate the relationship. But hiring and firing people is a very expensive process, so employers use a wide variety of tests to try to predict how well a new hire will adapt and fit in.

There are some absolutes when it comes to what employers expect in terms of behavior and character. For example, no employers will:

  • tolerate a worker who discriminates against, harasses, or bullies another worker,
  • keep a worker who steals from the company, other workers, or customers,
  • retain a worker who violates safety rules, including using drugs or alcohol on company property or comes into work under the influence of a controlled substance.

But on balance, the character and personality traits that employers want can be defined in simple terms, and we have reduced their wishes into an acronym that is also a very important word:


GRIT describes the character of a person who has what it takes to work through whatever problems are obstructing the completion of a task, regardless of how much effort, or time, or sacrifice it takes. Synonyms for the word GRIT include tenacity, perseverance, doggedness. Some employers would include the word ‘professionalism’ in the definition of the word GRIT.

Employers also want a certain amount of confidence – we like to call it professional audacity — in every employee. Professional audacity is developed when experienced individuals know just how far and how hard they can push the system, its people, and their bosses without making anyone crazy.

But the letters in the word G.R.I.T. also stand for other characteristics and traits employers (and colleges) want:

     G is for Growth (a commitment to lifelong learning)

     R is for Responsibility (meeting all commitments)

     I is for Integrity (honesty, honor, decency)

     T is for Time-Aware (punctual, deadlines always met)

All of this is quite a heavy load for teens to remember, let alone actually apply to their behaviors.

That’s why we’re here.

Our Rainmakers Internship Preparation Program will help you understand and practice the character traits that employers want.



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