You might be surprised to learn that, when it comes to a new employee being successful in your organization, there is something more important than GPA, alma mater, or even work history. Cultural fit is essential to ensure that your company continues to have strong communication, supportive and collaborative teams, and an overall sense of workplace morale.
How Cultural Fit Comes into Play
The challenge is that a candidate’s personality might not become fully apparent during the interview process. After all, this is the time that he or she will spend trying to impress you with their skills and expertise. That said, it’s worth spending the time to find out whether they would be a good cultural fit, as this will make a difference in many areas of an employee’s work life, such as:
- Leadership Style: Some organizations have a more “flat management” structure with less supervision and collaboration, however, some employees benefit from having more direct instructions and a clear hierarchy
- Work Schedule: There are some companies that keep a very regulated work schedule, with stringent expectations for being online or taking vacation; that said, many employees thrive under a more lax process in place
- Client Deliverables: Many companies have built their reputation on having a clear and defined process for producing work, while others are much more open to new thinking and ideas
Questions that Can Discern a Candidate’s Cultural Fit
It is in your company’s best interest to try and discern the personality of each potential candidate and determine how well they would fit into the culture of your organization. Aside from the common interview questions, consider including the following:
- What are the qualities of an ideal manager for you?
- What is your favorite blog/book/podcast? Why?
- What makes you most excited to come into work?
- What’s your dream job?
- What are people most surprised to learn about you?
How to Demonstrate Your Company Culture During Interviews
Remember that it is also important that you give a true sense of your company culture as well. As much as you are trying to assess the interviewee’s personality, he or she is also trying to assess your organization’s personality. The best thing that you can do in the interview process is to try and best facilitate this process, so that both parties’ expectations are clear. Here are a few ways you can make sure that you incorporate some of your own company culture into the interview:
- Tour of the Office: Take the interviewee on a tour so that they can see the working areas, meeting rooms, and social corners
- Speak to Peers: Include some time for the interviewee to speak with their would-be peers and colleagues, not just upper management
- Encourage Questions: Make yourself available to answer any questions so that the candidate has a strong idea of what it would actually be like to work for and represent your organization
Focus on Cultural Fit, Strengthen Your Company Culture
Consider the direction that you would like your organization to go in. Does this individual help strengthen that vision? Your company culture is determined by the sum of its parts, which means that it’s important that you look beyond skills and expertise to find people who will help shape the future of your organization, both personally and professionally.
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