The Best Interview Questions to Ask to Determine Cultural Fit

You’ve found a promising candidate you’ll be interviewing soon. Their skills and experience seem to match exactly what you need for the role you’ve been working on. However, will this candidate fit into the company’s culture? On top of asking skills-based questions, you should be prepared to determine if the candidate would fit into your corporate culture too.

Why does this matter? Employees who are able to adapt to the company’s core values, beliefs and behaviors are more likely to be satisfied and happy with their job. According to this study, employees who fit well with their organization and colleagues reported better job satisfaction. They also felt more committed to their job and were more likely to stay with the company.

Why You Should Avoid This Recruitment Mistake

Hiring a candidate who doesn’t fit your corporate culture could be a costly mistake. “Hiring employees that don’t mesh well with the existing or desired company culture leads to poor work quality, decreased job satisfaction and a potentially toxic environment. This results in turnover which has high costs—both hard and soft,” says Brent Gleeson, Founder and CEO of TakingPoint Leadership. To prevent this from happening, ask questions that would help you understand the candidate’s personality and preferred working style.

An interview is the time where you can really recognize if a candidate would be a great cultural fit. Below, you’ll see some helpful open-ended interview questions that should guide you on what to ask in order to gain this insight. As always, record these notes in your recruiting software so that you’ll always be able to refer to specific details about candidates when necessary.

1. Do you prefer to work independently or within a team?

This question lets you see what working style the candidate prefers the most. There’s no right or wrong answer as every company’s culture and operations is different—it’s up to you to understand if the candidate’s working style matches the team’s workflow. For example, let’s say that your client is a remote company that allows employees to work anywhere they want. A candidate who enjoys working independently would be more likely to fit the company culture and environment.

2. Tell me about a project where you had to work with someone difficult.

Sometimes, it’s not always smooth sailing working in a team. That’s completely normal. What matters, though, is how your candidate navigates these scenarios. Their response will show you how they deal with stressful situations, and what approaches they take to solve them. You’ll learn what type of team player they are, even in difficult situations.

3. What is the most important thing you must have in a workplace in order for you to be happy?

Listen to this answer carefully. The candidate’s response could reveal the type of work environment, responsibilities or benefits they absolutely want in order to stay happily employed and engaged at work.

4. Tell me what management style allows you to be most productive at work.

Some employees prefer to have regular guidance from their managers. Others like to have more autonomy in their tasks and projects. When you ask this question, you’ll understand what management style the candidate may be hoping for if they’re hired.

As you search for candidates in your applicant tracking system, you’ll find key candidate information such as their resume and work experience, However, you’ll only gain insight on the candidate’s personality and professional views by asking specific questions during your interview.

Here’s One More Tip to Assess Corporate Cultural Fit

How the candidate presents themselves and interacts with everyone in your company matters, too. Right when they walk through the door, take note of how they greet people and their body language during the interview. These observations, along with asking thoughtful questions, should help you determine whether or not a candidate fits your company culture.

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