A successful working environment is made up of people who get on well together, have an affinity, and treat each other with respect and dignity, Different sectors have different personalities, and one of the most challenging aspects in recruiting new talent into an existing team is assessing whether that candidate would be a good cultural fit. Employees who get on well with their supervisors and colleagues will perform better, find more meaning in their work, and feel like they belong.
A negative, toxic, working environment will have a serious impact on the overall performance of the organisation. Equally, those who leave an organisation due to that negative, toxic culture will often report their experiences on open forum websites, making it even more difficult to attract and retain good talent.
Culture-fit interview questions
Assessing an individual’s cultural fit can be challenging, as the observations are often subjective, and you have to be careful not to be judgemental. The impression a candidate gives in an interview situation may be completely different from their behaviour after a couple of pints in the pub. It would be inappropriate to ask them personal questions about their habits and beliefs.
So, how can you gauge whether a person would be a good cultural fit in an interview?
Our guide to culture fit questions
When you get to the culture fit part of the interview, explain that you’re going to ask some questions to help you get to know the person better and that there are no right or wrong answers.
Here are four areas to explore to determine whether a prospective employee will fit with your company culture.
- Previous employment
You can learn a great deal about whether candidates will fit in with your culture by getting to know their employment history on a more personal level. If they had not stayed long in one organisation it may have been because they felt uncomfortable in that job. You can explore why without being intrusive. You could ask…
• How would you describe the company culture at your last job?
• Were you comfortable working in that environment? Why or why not?
• If you could change one thing to improve the culture, what would it be?
- Opinions about company culture
Theoretical or general opinion questions put candidates at ease because they don’t have to prove anything about past performance but can still reveal a lot about a person’s values, attitudes, and beliefs. Questions to ask could include…
• What do you think are three things that companies should do to boost morale?
• How would you describe the ideal corporate culture?
• What can managers do to allow employees to feel more trusted?
Finding the right balance between getting to know someone’s personality without being overly intrusive and judgemental is challenging, but essential to assessing cultural awareness. Try the following…
- Talk about one of your great qualities that others don’t always appreciate.
• What makes you a great team player?
• Describe your ideal workday.
- Hypothetical scenarios:
“What-if” questions are fun and challenge the individual to demonstrate creativity and confidence. The following examples can be adapted to your own company culture.
• Your team is giving a presentation in two hours and one member just called in sick. What do you do?
• If you had to choose between a work environment that was always chaotic and one where nothing ever changed, which would you choose?
• If you inherited so much money that you never had to work again, how would you spend your time?
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