Hiring the right person isn’t just about matching skills and experience to the job. In order for a candidate to be successful and have staying power, they must be aligned with the culture of the organization. However, cultural fit is difficult to assess because it is not driven by objectivity or data, so it can be much more subjective. Use these strategies to determine whether the candidates on your shortlist will match your culture.
What Does It Really Mean to “Fit the Culture”?
You cannot assess cultural fit without defining what your culture is. Company culture is the personality of the organization and the norms and mores that inform employee behavior and work in the office environment. Before you can assess fit, you must be honest about what your culture is, so you can identify candidates with the values and the workstyle to mesh well with the team.
Focus on the Professional, Not Your Personal Preferences
All too often, hiring managers make offers to the people they liked the best. However, just because you like someone personally does not mean they will fit within the culture of the company. You may like or dislike certain traits, but it is necessary to make an honest assessment about their work style, soft skills and approach to determine whether they are really aligned with the culture.
Hopefully, you discussed values alignment with the candidates you are considering. Values alignment is a key pillar of cultural alignment. Determine whether each candidate demonstrated personal and professional values that are in tune with the values of the organization.
Always include values-related behavioral questions in the interview. For example, “Tell me about a time a colleague wanted you to lie for them or cover for them to your boss. What did they ask you to do, and how did you proceed?” This type of question can give you an idea of how the candidate values honesty and integrity – even in difficult situations. If integrity is a core value of your organization, you want someone who holds high ethical standards.
Evaluate Their Questions
When making assessments about cultural fit, consider the questions each finalist asked in their interview. The questions they choose to ask can tell you a lot about their values and their alignment with the organization. If they wanted to dig deeper into the culture and the inner workings of the organization, it’s a good sign they were really considering what it would be like to work for you and whether they find the company to be a good fit. Candidates who only asked about salary and benefits – or asked no questions at all – might not be the right fit.