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Assessing Candidate Culture Fit? Ask These Interview Questions

The Betts Team
April 3, 2020

An amazing resume, excellent recommendations and experience are all important when it comes to determining the long-term success of a candidate. But culture fit is also another thing that most companies consider when hiring new employees. Research shows that employees sharing essential qualities with the company and their colleagues perform better than others and end up staying at the organization longer. Additionally, workers that align with your company culture do not just work casually: they give the best Return on Investment (ROI).

As much as culture fit questions are important, they might invite bias into your process if your interviewers see it as simply a means to determine a candidate’s likability rather than a means of judging how they align with your business culture. Assessing a candidate’s corporate culture is more than whether or not you can hang out with them during a company happy hour. Having well reasoned out questions with your team and what to get out of a candidate can help you assess cultural fit. It’s crucial in any hiring process of a serious organization.

To give you an idea of how you can evaluate culture fit to hire employees, we’ve compiled a list of interview questions to use in your recruitment process and the answers to expect. You can use them as conversation starters and as a springboard for deeper conversations. They reveal how a candidate can potentially fit in your corporate culture.

1. Why do you want to work with us?

This is a question most candidates will probably be prepared to answer. Either way, it’s a perfect method to start evaluating the candidate’s knowledge of your business. Interviewers should focus on understanding the core motivations of a candidate applying for the job. Let them explain how success looks to them and what they want to archive in life. It’s also vital to note that there are no right or wrong answers to this question. As hiring managers, you are looking to assess cultural fit of that candidate. It will be perfect if you point out some values that fit your organization.

2. Describe the companies where you’ve previously worked

Having candidates talk about their past experiences will give hiring managers a glimpse of their views and opinions about that company. This is a good method to launch a conversation with a candidate about their past experiences. Their answer should represent the kind of working environment your candidate is accustomed to working in. This will help you figure out whether your organizational culture, company’s atmosphere and structure are perfect for them. If you hire employees who can adapt to the organizational culture with ease, they’re likely to have greater job satisfaction and consequently perform well in their work.

3. What’s your approach to solving problems? Give an example.

Having a candidate open up about their previous problem solving experiences is a great way to have a glimpse at their decision making skills. When you ask them the above question, you’ll be able to illuminate their ability to solve problems by giving real life examples. The magnitude of the problem does not matter. What is important is how they approached it and the methodology alignment with your company’s values. Company culture varies from one company to another. Some companies stress the importance of teamwork while others encourage an individual approach. This underscores the importance of hiring for cultural fit.

4. Tell us about a project you’ve been a part of, and what your role was.

Instead of asking general questions like “do you like working on a team?”, you can ask them to explain a real-life situation of their ability to be on a team. A good answer will give you a picture of how they prefer working, whether on a team or individually. Do they take responsibility when things don’t work out? Do they give credit to teammates? These are some of the things their response should answer. A good candidate should take responsibility when things don’t go according to plan. They should also acknowledge others when necessary and be great team members.