When determining if a new hire will succeed with your company, there are many factors to consider. Obviously, the ideal candidate will have the right skills, experience, and knowledge for the job.
Quite often, however, what ultimately predicts whether a potential employee will be successful is how well they fit within your company culture.
Because of this, hiring managers should ensure that their team members are asking culture fit interview questions during each job interview. Asking the right questions can help you find people who share your company values. At the same time, however, focusing too closely on cultural fit could cause you to miss out on people who are a culture add.
Here is what you should know about asking cultural fit questions, as well as sample questions that can help you better assess cultural fit.
The Advantages of Hiring a Good Cultural Fit
Ideally, a good cultural fit is someone who shares your company’s core values. They believe in your goals and mission, and are willing to work as part of a team to help you get there.
A good cultural fit will mesh well with your company’s work environment and management style. Employees who believe in your company’s mission and values are more likely to find value in what they do and feel like they are making a meaningful impact. This can lead to several other benefits, such as increased job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and a healthier office environment where everyone is treated with respect.
Asking cultural fit interview questions can help your team identify potential red flags or negative personality traits in a candidates’ answers. Someone who doesn’t value teamwork won’t mesh well with a company that relies on cross-departmental collaboration. A manager candidate who doesn’t value work-life balance could overwork and stress out their team.
As a result, a thorough, thoughtful interview process will also help you identify individuals who don’t have the same goals and values for your work environment, communication, and processes.
The Benefits of Culture Adds
While looking for a good cultural fit is an important part of the hiring process, some businesses take this concept too far. When interviewers define a “good match” as someone who looks and thinks like they do, they may turn away qualified candidates. For example, an introvert will generally have a different work style and communication style than an extrovert. If your interviewers are all extroverts, they might decide that the introvert is a “bad” cultural fit simply because they’re soft-spoken or take time to choose their words.
It’s important to prioritize diversity recruitment, especially as women and minorities are often underrepresented at the office — especially in leadership. It’s key to create an environment that’s welcoming and values diverse points of view. Otherwise, there’s a risk of falling into groupthink, or not thinking critically about decisions because they want to align with the rest of the group. This hurts innovation and can make the company a less desirable place to work.
It’s important not only to ask culture fit interview questions, but to prioritize culture adds from different backgrounds than the current team. They may have a slightly different work style. But they share its vision and values.
By looking for culture adds, companies can gain new insights that can help them innovate and grow. A diverse team with varied perspectives strengthens the company.
Culture Fit Interview Questions to Ask
Cultural fit interview questions will help you assess whether candidates support or add to your desired workplace culture. Browse our set of questions to borrow those you enjoy for your interviews:
1. What is your preferred type of work environment?
Even little things can affect the work environment — like whether you have Slack channels for chatting about pop culture and if people take personal calls at their desks. These changes may seem small, but they can directly impact someone’s productivity and happiness at work. You want people to be able to thrive in the type of work environment you offer.
2. How would you describe your work style?
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Understanding how an employee approaches projects and routine assignments can give you insight into how well they work with others. This can also reveal how much guidance they need to complete a assignments. For example, someone who prefers a more independent approach for their work may not enjoy a company that has a very strict structure for completing tasks.
3. How do you handle feedback?
Setbacks are inevitable at any job. A good cultural fit should be prepared to handle legitimate feedback with grace and be willing to take steps to improve themselves. How someone responds after making a mistake can tell you a lot about whether they are a good fit.
Do they try to pass the blame to others or make excuses? Or do they take responsibility and resolve to do better? Asking for an example of how they’ve implemented feedback they’ve received in the past can reveal how willing they actually are to improve.
4. Tell me about a challenging work situation you encountered and how you handled it.
Whether it’s a tough client, a toxic coworker, or a complex project, challenges are a part of work. Asking this question can help you understand which aspects of a workplace a candidate finds the most challenging. How they approached the situation offers insight into their values, as well as how they might approach similar challenges if they were hired at your company.
5. What personal traits do you feel are necessary to succeed at work?
The answer to this question can reveal what qualities matter most to a candidate so you can see how your values align. Maybe they see themselves as a self-starter, or someone who is driven to get the job done right the first time. On the other hand, maybe directness and honesty is a desirable trait in a transparent, open work environment.
6. What kind of work excites you?
What is it about a job that gets someone to leap out of their bed, excited to go to work? Understanding what motivates an interviewee to give their best effort can help you know whether your company’s mission and values will deliver what they're looking for.
Hopefully, asking these questions will make it easier for your team to identify candidates whose personal values align with yours. With a strong team that supports and builds your company culture, your entire organization will be better equipped for long-term success.
Help Your Team Know the Right Questions to Ask
Your organization’s culture is a vital part of its success. Hiring people who share your core values and improve upon your existing culture will strengthen your entire organization. On the flip side, emphasizing “cultural fit” too strongly or narrowly can lead to less diversity at work.
Quality training will help your interviewers ask the right culture fit interview questions that help vet potential employees. This in turn can make your hiring process fairer and deliver a better candidate experience.
Prelude Train can help you prepare interviewers for success by offering comprehensive training plans and the ability to manage interviewer preferences. By giving interviewers the resources they need to succeed, you can ensure that your interviews showcase your culture and values in a positive light.