5 Ways to Test Whether a Candidate Fits Your Company Culture

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CoffeeEmployees and company culture go hand in hand. We rely on employees to uphold our cultures, and we rely on our cultures to unify our employees. It’s a delicate balance, and throwing employees into the mix who have values that are fundamentally contrary to those of your company can halt progress.

You may find the most qualified employee in the world, but if they don’t fit in with your culture, they aren’t going to stick around too long.

With that in mind, here are five ways to assess a candidate’s cultural fit during the hiring process:

1. See How They Interact With Others

Many companies rely on one interviewer to assess a candidate, but that makes it more difficult to get an accurate picture of a candidate’s potential cultural fit. If the interviewer and the candidate really hit it off, that could just be a positive meshing of personalities. It doesn’t necessarily reflect how the candidate will fit into the wider company cultural.

Having candidates speak with a multitude of key employees during the interview process is the only way to get the big picture. It doesn’t matter if one person sees a fit – what’s more important is that a majority of employees can agree on whether or not the candidate is a good match for the organization.

2. Let Them Do the Talking

If you don’t already, you should start incorporating open-ended questions into the interview process. In truth, these kinds of questions are more telling, because they give candidates the opportunity to speak freely. When candidates give these sorts of answers, you can really see their personalities at work.

When you ask open-ended questions, the answer a candidate gives is less important than how they handle the question. Create unique – maybe even implausible – hypothetical scenarios, and ask your candidate to navigate them with limited knowledge. How the candidate responds to these situations will illuminate how they will fit into your culture.

3. Weigh Them Against Your Strongest Players

Train TracksA job interview is a professional situation, and most candidates will suppress their personalities for obvious reasons. It may not be apparent at first what a candidate’s true passions are or how the candidate acts under pressure.

Take what you can learn about the candidate during the interview process and compare them to your best existing employees. The more alike your candidates and top performers are – in terms of interests, motivations, personalities, and so on – the more likely it is that a candidate will align well with your company culture.

4. Ask Them What They Know

A well-prepared candidate has already read up on your mission statement and values before the interview. Chances are, they already have an idea of what your culture is like. If they’re sitting in that chair, they’ve probably determined that they’ll fit in.

Ask the candidate what they’ve read about you. If they can passionately describe your values, they’re interested in more than just a paycheck. If they didn’t bother to research – or they have and they treat it like irrelevant information – that’s a warning sign you need to take seriously.

5. Make Sure Your Culture Is Clearly Defined

Do your own employees know what your company culture is? If not, you’ll run into serious problems during the hiring process. If the employees don’t all agree on what the culture is like at your organization, then they won’t agree on which candidates fit the culture.

You need everyone to be on the same page. Your culture should be clear, and employees in every area should know exactly you stand for as a company.

You should periodically examine your company culture to be sure your organization is headed down the right path. Your workplace should be an immersive environment that employees are happy to work in. Retaining employees means you’ll have to hire fewer new ones – and when you do, you’ll have a line of eligible candidates out the door.

By Tess Pajaron