How To Interview For A Cultural Fit

Posted by Bradley Metz on 9/6/18 3:40 PM

In interviewing, Hiring Tips, Client Tips

If an employee lacks particular skills to perform a duty, they can be trained. If they do not fit into your company culture, you have a whole other problem on your hands; one that will not be fixed with any amount of training. Employees that do not align with your company culture leads to poor work quality, decreased job satisfaction and a potentially toxic environment. 

There is no one single question to determine if your potential employee will fit into your company culture. A cultural interview should have a flow to it and be natural in conversation, all the while you are assessing their mannerisms and reactions to your questions. Below are some general tips for interviewing for company culture as well as topics to be aware of when conducting your cultural interview.

GENERAL CULTURAL FIT

To elicit a candidate’s Values and work behaviors, ask question about work habits, ideal role, problem solving and how they handle challenges. For each question, analyze the response based on how well it complements the way the other employees at your company function.

COMPANY VALUES

List your company’s values, then craft an associated question designed to illuminate how a candidate might react or behave in that environment or circumstance. For example, if “agility” is one of your values, consider asking a question like, “tell me about a time you were thrown into a new environment and how you handled that.” Evaluate the response based on how well the candidate demonstrates they can embody that value.

TEAM CULTURE

Every team has its own culture based on the natural function of the role and the personalities within it. A talkative, assertive personality might be a perfect fit for a high-energy sales team, but not within a more quiet, analytical department like engineering. Ask the hiring manager to identify key traits of the team and craft a question for each. For example, if you’re looking for someone scrappy, ask a situational question about what the candidate would do in a given situation with limited resources.

GENERAL TIPS

Get outside the office.

Take candidates to lunch, for a walk or to a coffee shop. Observe how they treat service workers and cope with any challenges like a crowded street, a long line or weather. A more casual setting outside the interview room will more closely reveal their character.

Beware of Bias

Many people have an unconscious tendency to make assumptions about a person based on appearance, background or hobbies. They also want to be around people just like them. To ensure diversity on your teams, make sure candidates for the same position are evaluated on the same objective criteria.

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