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Tips for interviewing candidates for a cultural fit

Tips for interviewing candidates for a cultural fit
ArticleCompany CultureInterviewing

​Every team has its own culture based on the functionality of the role within a company and the personalities within the office. Typically, for a sales recruitment team, you would expect employees to be assertive and talkative – people with high energy and determination.

By identifying key traits of an ideal team, hiring managers can develop both an interview process and relevant questions to measure each individual trait. If this is your responsibility, take 5 minutes to think about the below tips.

1.If the position you’re hiring for involves meeting clients or working with people, take the interview out of the office to observe how the candidate acts outside of a typical interview environment. Taking candidates for lunch is a good example because it allows you to observe how they treat others and how they cope in various situations. A little can tell you a lot about someone, such as waiting in a queue, walking down a crowded street and even the weather! Further, a more casual setting such as a coffee shop may allow the candidate to relax and open up to reveal more about themselves and their character.

2.People often make assumptions based on appearance and it’s important to not come across as biased; it’s not only appearance but also background and hobbies. To ensure diversity on your teams, evaluate candidates on the same objective criteria for the same positions. Be careful not to discriminate; hiring for the right culture fit doesn’t mean that you hire people who are exactly the same. Instead, the values within the workplace should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce.

3.Being upfront with candidates about your internal culture and environment means that you can manage their expectations of what it’s like to work in your office. Direct questions such as ‘What’s your ideal working environment?’ or ‘What sort of culture do you thrive in?’ allow candidates to describe what they are looking for initially. You can dig deeper by asking about a time when a job didn’t work out for them culturally and why; ‘Tell me about a time when you worked with an organisation where you felt you were not a strong culture fit and why was it so?’

4.Teamwork is essential in any office and by enquiring how a candidate would handle a range of challenges and how they approach problem-solving, can show how they might work with their colleagues. You could ask ‘Give me a time when you helped a co-worker and what was the outcome?’ Or ‘What is the most difficult problem you had to solve and how did you solve it?’ Analyse their responses based on how well it complements current employees at your company.

5.Finally, use the interview to introduce your company values. New hires often fail on the basis of not having the right attitude or values rather than the ability to perform the job. Therefore finding people who have a genuine authentic belief in your company values will result in a stronger culture fit than those who don’t. Questions based on your company values allow you to evaluate how well the candidate demonstrates that they can embody the value.

So does part of your hiring process include a cultural fit interview with a clear purpose of assessing how the potential employee will fit within the culture of your organisation? Don’t underestimate the power of the above methods to determine the success of the candidate.

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