Blog Candidate Quality 5 Essential Interview Questions to Assess Culture Fit

5 Essential Interview Questions to Assess Culture Fit

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Josh Tolan Sep 29, 2021 Candidate Quality

 

A candidate might look great on paper, but how do you know they will fit into your organisation? There are 5 interview questions to assess culture fit, so you can find out. 

 

What is cultural fit?

So, what exactly is cultural fit within a business context? When we talk about a business culture, we mean the core values and beliefs that a company abides by. They essentially determine how the employees interact, and may be reflected in your business hours, hiring decisions, dress code, treatment of clients and so on.

 

A business culture is often implied and not outwardly defined. However, it is becoming more common for businesses to have cultural guidelines for their employees to follow, and that are brought into the interview process.

 

Cultural fit is basically how well an employee matches up with the business culture. This doesn’t mean not having a diverse workforce, as this has a multitude of benefits for businesses. It simply means ensuring they match up with these values in some way. For example, if your business values collaboration in the workplace highly, someone who works best individually may not be a good fit.

 

Why is cultural fit important?

Cultural fit is becoming increasingly important to businesses, with 86% of CEOs and HR leaders confirming this in a recent Deloitte survey. This is unsurprising, as an effective culture is said to create a 50% difference in performance between businesses in the same sector. Other reasons why cultural fit is important include:

 

 

Staff satisfaction:

When your staff is happy, they tend to be more engaged, productive and motivated to succeed. Being part of a culture that aligns with their own tends to incite these feelings.

 

Improved performance:

When employees feel like they belong, this can lead to increased enthusiasm in the role, and a willingness to go the extra mile to succeed.

 

Higher staff retention:

If your employees are happy, they’re less likely to leave the business. This will help save you the cost of recruitment for a replacement, as well as any additional time and money spent training new hires

 

Interview questions to assess culture fit:

Cultural fit is one of the most important things hiring professionals need to evaluate in a job interview, but it’s also one of the most challenging traits to identify. Without working with an applicant, or knowing them, determining whether they are a good fit for the team is difficult.

 

But, asking the right interview questions can help. There are lots of questions you could ask, but here we give you five of the most effective interview questions to assess culture fit.

 

1. “If I walk by your desk at 5:30 p.m., what will I see?”

The answer to this question will reveal the candidate’s view of work, and what the workplace should be like.

 

Their response can then be evaluated against your company culture. For example, does everyone in your business tend to stay until 9pm to work? Are you a start-up, where everyone works remotely all the time? Or perhaps most of your team have left by 4:30 pm in an effort to beat the traffic.

 

If the candidate were to say “I’m long gone”, or “I’m working hard and ordering takeout dinner”, then you can evaluate how this measures up against your own culture. Do they fit in, or are they an outlier? You can also evaluate if a response slightly off from your norm is a deal-breaker or not.

 

2. “What are you most passionate about?”

Asking this question is a great opportunity to understand a candidate’s hobbies, enthusiasms, or whatever is important in their life. It can help identify if they are a well-rounded individual, and if into your culture.

 

Even if their passion is unrelated to the role they will be filling, their answer will show your hiring manager if they are a committed person with interests and goals, an important quality for any role.

 

3. “Describe your ideal working environment.”

If the candidate had a magic wand, and could create their perfect job and work environment, what would it look like?

 

Giving a candidate free range to describe what they desire in an organisation is a great way to highlight whether their ideals match up with your company culture.

 

For example, maybe they prefer to work in a quiet, closed-off environment, but your office is frequently busy with sales calls and collaborative working.

 

4. “If we were stuck somewhere, what would you do?”

Understanding how a candidate would handle being stuck somewhere will give you an insight into how they deal with challenging situations.

 

Any manner of tough situation can happen within an organisation, and knowing you have people on your team who can keep their cool, and perhaps come up with a solution is invaluable.

 

5. “Walk me through your perfect workday.”

Asking about a candidate’s perfect workday gives them the chance to identify what they value in the workplace. Do they prefer to work independently or with teams? How does socializing fit into their idea of working?

 

The majority of interview questions often assess a candidate’s competence to do tasks, and how they would fit in with that aspect. This question gives a glimpse into what the candidate values, which you can then compare to the company.

 

Want to create a great company culture?

It’s one thing to ask interview questions to assess culture fit, but is your culture one which performs well? Make sure you’re cultivating great company culture, by watching our webinar on this topic.

 


JoshTolan@smartrecrooot.com'
Josh Tolan

This is a guest post by Spark Hire CEO Josh Tolan. Spark Hire is a video interview solutions provider.


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