10 Questions to Ask When Hiring for Culture Fit

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Successful companies know that creating a great workplace o  not only helps to attract and retain top talent, but also leads to impressive business results. For nearly a decade, CHG Healthcare has been recognized as one of the country’s best companies to work for – but that wasn’t always the case.

Back in 2001, our turnover rate was almost 50 percent. As you likely know, a high level of employee turnover is expensive. The cost of replacing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to twice the employee’s annual salary, not to mention the associated loss of productivity and engagement or the cultural impact of high turnover.

We realized that for us to succeed, we needed to create a culture where employees could grow their careers and find purpose in their work. We started by defining our company’s core beliefs – continuous improvement, integrity, quality, growth, and putting people first – and then committed to creating a culture that reflected these values.

After more than a decade of investing in our culture, we now have a turnover rate of 14.5 percent and the highest revenue in the history of our company. We have found that this level of success starts with hiring the type of people who thrive in our culture.

Hiring for Culture Fit

A “good culture fit” is someone who shares your company’s values and thrives in your company’s culture. For the most part, you can train employees for job skills, but you can’t train them to have the core values and beliefs that define your culture.

Hiring for the right culture fit can be tricky. Here are some of the interview questions we use in our process to help us determine whether or not a job candidate would be a good fit for us:

  1. Tell me about a time when you helped a coworker or direct report improve or be more successful.
  2. Tell me about a time when you did not agree with something you were asked to do and how you handled it.
  3. How do you measure your success at work?
  4. Tell me about a time you stood up for something you believed in.
  5. How have your goals for this year changed from last year?
  6. Tell me about a time you had to change your mind or way of doing things in order to improve.
  7. Tell me about a time you received critical feedback from a supervisor. How did you make improvements and what was the result?
  8. Tell me about a mistake that taught you a valuable lesson. What would you do differently?
  9. Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with coworker. How did you handle it? What were the results?
  10. Who are your role models and why?

Hiring a candidate without screening for culture fit could lead to lower engagement and job dissatisfaction for both the employee and their teammates. Of course, low engagement and high dissatisfaction contribute to increased employee turnover.

presentSetting New Hires Up for Success

Finding employees who fit the culture is only the foundation; you must also provide employees with tools for success. Here are a few of the things we focus on to build a culture of engagement:

1. Training

On average, our employees receive more than 100 hours of professional and personal development training. In addition, all of our new hires attend a week-long foundational training class where they learn about our culture and are taught communication and relationship-building skills to help them succeed at our company.

2. Feedback

We are a feedback-driven culture, and we value our employees’ opinions by encouraging them to share what is and isn’t working at our company. Each year, we send out an employee experience survey that measures the engagement of our people and gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts on how we can improve. Our executive team reads all the results and makes changes based on that feedback. This ensures we make impactful changes that our people are passionate about.

3. Inclusion

It’s important to create an inclusive work environment where employees with diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking can work well together. Different voices should be respected and heard; diverse viewpoints and approaches should be valued. Everyone must be encouraged to make unique and meaningful contributions.

To help support our inclusion efforts at CHG, we give employees the opportunity to create employee network groups based on shared interests and provide each group with $500 in financial support annually.

It’s up to you to decide what you want your culture to be, but no matter what, your employees will play a crucial role in its success. Assessing candidates for culture fit and encouraging employees to help shape your culture as they work at your company will help ensure all team members flourish in their roles.

Kevin Ricklefs is senior vice president of talent management at CHG Healthcare.

By Kevin Ricklefs