If the time has come within the evolution of your company that you have decided to bring on a new team member, it is imperative to consider looking beyond the candidate’s skills and experience and hire for cultural fit. Hiring for cultural fit refers to selecting prospects based on how well they reflect the values of your business and suit the overall work environment. These are the types of skills that cannot be trained. If the prospective employee doesn't fit the mold in the first place, chances are you won’t be able to force it upon them once they start work – leading to issues building on the horizon.
Rather than having to wonder whether your candidate will mesh into your work environment, here are 6 ways to test for cultural fit during the interview process.
- How do they interact with other members?
When you are interviewing a potential employee, have them interact with multiple people to determine their culture fit within your company. But it’s not just getting along with people that will ensure their cultural fit. Introduce the interviewee to team members and observe how they handle themselves in the environment. Take into consideration that it does take a little bit of time to adjust to a situation, so no need to turn them down right away.
- Ask open-ended questions
By allowing the interviewee the opportunity to respond to these types of questions, you can start to see how they approach situations or how they’ve encountered meshing with team members in the past. If your company is one that values its creativity, open-ended questions can help you see if the candidate would fit in based on the answer they come up with.
- Compare them to other employees with similar traits/skills
Keep in mind that every employee deserves the chance to grow with a company in order to show their personality - but not all companies have that kind of time. Short track this process by asking them about their values and professional ideals in the interview. When the interviewee is answering, think about current or past employees who shared these values. How did they ultimately do with the company? This is a quick way to determine if a candidate will benefit or hinder the culture of your business.
- Do they show any understanding of your company culture?
A crucial part of the interview process is preparing for the interview in the first place. Candidates should do background research about the company in general but have they went a step further and looked into the company culture? Did they look into your online presence, activity in the news or social media? This extra step show initiative and shows the employer that you care about their company culture in the first place. If an interviewee takes these measures, chances are they will make a promising addition to your team.
- Are they consistent with culture requirements?
When looking at a candidate’s resume and comparing it to the person that you interview, how do their values line up? Consistency is key and ensuring it with values and professional ideals lowers the chances of you making a bad decision when hiring. A candidate who is consistent will raise few red flags and will bring great things to your company in terms of culture when given the chance.
- Know your culture
Before you start selecting candidates in line with your cultural framework you need to be attentive to what your culture is in the first place. When an interviewer is judging someone’s character, they need to be familiar with the ins and outs of the company, including its culture. By knowing exactly how everyone contributes to the business overall makes choosing a new hire easier and less risky.
But it isn't always the best to place all your eggs in the "cultural fit" basket.
Although as a concept it doesn't sound like a bad idea. Everyone wants to work in a friendly environment and many companies are moving toward monoculture. This is because some hiring managers have hopped upon the cultural fit bandwagon but are confusing the term with harmony and conformity. They often hire people who have similar backgrounds and behaviours but instead should be hiring based on complementary personalities and skill sets.
Assessing for cultural fit during the recruitment process will help with the overall cohesiveness in your company.