7 Interview Questions To Assess Candidate Culture Fit

Most people will agree that employees are one of the most important factors in an organisation’s success and having a successful hiring strategy in place is crucial.

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Get it right, and your people will drive your business forward, help you achieve your goals, and delight your customers. Get it wrong, and you can be left facing problems with morale, motivation, and team cohesion. Someone who doesn’t fit in with your company culture can have a detrimental effect on performance and hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake to correct.

So, what is the right fit –and how do you find out if an experienced, well-qualified candidate has the qualities that will ensure they slot into your team and align with the organisation’s vision and values? Read on for top tactics from the recruitment experts and discover the interview questions you can ask to find the perfect match for your business.

Don’t be afraid of culture-add
There’s no doubt about it, culture fit is important. What many recruiting managers can forget about is the all- important “culture add”. You want your employees to bring their own unique personalities to work to enhance your company’s culture and enrich it with their enthusiasm and perspective. Looking beyond who would be a perfect for the team’s monthly get-together can help you assess not only if a candidate’s values complement your company’s but whether they can also help your company grow. Recruiting from a diverse candidate pool can help you find such individuals, as candidates with different backgrounds and viewpoints can bring in a variety of knowledge, ideas and approaches.

Create job adverts that will attract “culture fit” candidates
It all starts with the job post. When recruiting for a new role,your job advert should aim to communicate your company vision and give jobseekers a glimpse into the workplace culture. The language of a job post should reflect your brand–if your culture is quite corporate, use formal language, and if it’s more laid-back, use more conversational language. You can also give candidates an idea of the culture and why your workplace is unique by including detail in your recruitment advert; for example, mentioning the office ping-pong table or regular social events will show you value fun and that ‘team’ is important. This detail not only gives candidates a better idea of what you offer as an employer, it helps them assess whether your values reflect their own.

Screen via social media
A good way to screen candidates is through social media. Look at how they portray themselves on professional platforms like LinkedIn. Have they written any articles? What recommendations have they received from other people they have worked with in the past? What groups do they follow? This can give you a general idea where their interests lie and whether they can be a good addition to you company’s culture.

Ask the right interview questions
The interview stage is a golden opportunity to assess whether an applicant fits into your workplace culture.A candidate’s CV can give you an idea of whether they’re a potential fit, as their Personal Profile section may describe their goals, strengths and approach to work-but an interview lets you dig a little deeper. 

Interview questions are not just designed to gauge the interviewee’s personality and strengths; they can also be used to determine whether they will fit into your company culture and motivate the people around them. 

Here are seven examples of culture-fit interview questions:

  • What motivates you?
    ”This question can be a great starting point. It might seem like a basic one, but there’s a reason it’s so popular. Your candidate’s answer will tell you what drives them to succeed and what their priorities are–these should be broadly in line with those of your company.For example, if the candidate tells you they are mainly motivated by money, would a non-commission-based customer service role get the best out of them?

  • What do you bring to a team?
    It’s important to understand how potential new employees will be have in a team environment so that you can assess the contribution they’ll bring to their department and the company overall. If you think your workplace environment will benefit from having more leaders, look out for the candidates who say they aren’t afraid to guide a group and enjoy taking the lead.This question is also a great way to assess candidates for “culture add”.

  • What kind of corporate environment do you thrive in?
    Asking about a candidate’s ideal work environment lets you know if they will fit in and excel. If you have a fast-paced culture,it’s important to source well organised employees whose decision-making capabilities remain unaffected when under pressure.

  • How do you like to be managed?
    This should give you a good insight you into the interviewees’ preferred leadership styles–it’s important to consider whether your company’s established leadership style can motivate them and help them succeed. If your workplace is fairly hierarchical with set chains of command, will a candidate who values autonomy and a hands-off approach to management be a good fit?Likewise, if you get the best results from self-starters who are encouraged to take the initiative, you should be looking out for this kind of language in the interview.

  • What is your management style?
    This question is a good one to ask if you are hiring someone for a management position. It will help you assess if they have the leadership style that fits in with your team. Do you have a team full of creative individuals who need the freedom to do what they have to do? Then a hands-on manager might not work for them.
    You can also ask follow-up questions about how they like to communicate with their teams, and how they have handled specific issues in the past. This question can also help you learn if the management candidate has the vital people management skills necessary to succeed as a manager.

  • What approach do you use for solving issues at work?
    Asking this question also enables you to identify a candidate’s critical thinking and decision-making skills. If your workplace is a busy, customer-facing environment, employees need to be quick on their feet and proactive in managing issues.It’s also useful to find out whether candidates prefer to solve problems on their own or to collaborate as a team and view the issue from all angles–your workplace culture may be much better suited to one rather than the other.
  • How do you feel about working from home?
    In post-pandemic times, it can be a good idea to find out about a prospective candidate’s approach to remote and flexible working schedules. Their answer can help you understand how self-motivated they are, their ability to adapt to new situations, their communication skills as well as their ability to work remotely without supervision. Depending on the candidate’s answer, you can also learn if they understand the importance of being available during regular work hours, along with their expectations of what working from home entails.

Include personality assessment tests in the hiring process
For some employers an applicant’s personality and qualities are just as important as their work experience and job-related skills. If a person has the right skills but doesn’t fit into your company’s culture, they can become frustrated and disengaged, leaving you faced with the cost of re-hiring when they move on. 

Using personality assessments as part of the hiring process can be a big help when shortlisting candidates, saving you time and giving you more to go on when comparing several well-qualified applicants.There’s a range of tests designed to tell you whether an applicant is suited to a particular role or environment–Select Hiring offers industry-specific tests to help you find out whether applicants have the right qualities to become salespeople, for example, and also assesses work ethic and workplace skills. Wonderlic is designed around seven distinct personality traits, and at the end of the test you’ll have an idea of whether candidates are naturally Drivers, Supporters, Thinkers, or Motivators,allowing you to put the right people in the right place. 

Finding the right combination of knowledge, experience, and personality can be daunting,but the hard work involved in finding the best fit for your team will be worth it. 

Once you have found the right candidates for the job, read our guide to employee onboarding and learn how you can set them up for success. 

For the latest industry insights or to talk about growing your team, connect with our team today.


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