Cultural fit: Recruitee’s favorite interview questions6 min read
As a hiring manager, recruiter, or CEO, it is your responsibility to find and hire the best people. This involves looking for people with the right skills and experience. However, the most important thing to look at is whether your candidates are a cultural fit or not.
Identifying your best cultural fits
The cultural fit determines whether candidates will be able to thrive within your organization or whether they will wind up under-performing. While assessing candidates on their skills and past experiences is pretty straightforward, assessing the fit of candidates has proven to be quite challenging.
What is a cultural fit?
A cultural fit refers to how well the candidates’ beliefs and behavior systems are congruent with organizational culture. Candidates that are culture fits are more likely to stay with you longer and to perform better than candidates do not share your company values. Hiring for culture is therefore incredibly important as it reduces the employee turnover rate while also increasing the general productivity of the company.
Even though cultural fit is generally seen as an important factor in hiring, many organizations seem to struggle to assess their applicants on it. This has to do with the fact that cultural fit is hard to measure objectively and there are no standardized metrics available for it. Assessing for it is 100% based on human judgment. Job interviews are the most common settings where you can evaluate your candidates on it.
6 questions to assess for cultural fit
To determine the culture fit of your candidates it’s important that you ask the right questions during job interviews. For many recruiters, this is also the only opportunity to actually meet their candidates in person so it is essential to make the most out of it. Here are some of Recruitee’s favorite job interview questions for culture:
What attributes do you look for in a company when applying for a position?
Asking for specific attributes that job applicants are looking for in a company is a great way to get to know what the candidates are like and whether their values align with the values of the company. Even though this question is similar to “why did you apply here?” it is much more effective. The last question often leads to candidates giving generic or cheesy answers while this question is more specific and requires the candidate to think about specific company attributes.
The answer to this question gives you valuable insights into the personality of the candidates and whether they would be a good fit for the company. As you can easily link the attributes desired by the candidates to your company, assessing the cultural fit of candidates also becomes simple.
What would you do on your first 30 days on the job? And 90?
This is a true Recruitee favorite! By asking this question you can get a good understanding of whether candidates have a self-starting mindset and whether they like to take initiative. In a fast-paced and competitive environment like SaaS space, this is something we are constantly looking for. By making your candidates think about what they will do in the first month on the job, you’ll get to know how they like to work and what they will need in order to perform well.
How could a manager best support you?
This question helps you understand what management style best suits them and motivates them. Some candidates prefer to have a manager involved in all their day-to-day tasks, while others perform better when left alone. By asking this question you can properly assess whether candidates fit with the company culture in terms of the overall management style within the company.
What do you think this role could look like in 5 years?
Job roles can change over time, especially in a fast-growing company. At Recruitee we always ask this question to our candidates as we have big ambitions with every role we hire for and want our candidates to be ambitious about their roles as well. Our culture is flexible and we believe that every role could and should change over time as our company grows. This requires a certain degree of flexibility from our candidates in order to have a perfect culture fit.
Which company do you think is currently nailing it in your field of expertise?
This is a question that our growth team uses a lot when hiring a new team member. We are super passionate about tech and our field of expertise and we want our candidates to be passionate too. If they’re well-informed on the industry, it’s a good indication that they’re passionate about the field. By asking this question you can see whether candidates share the passion and fit the rest of the team.
How would you describe our company culture?
While it might seem odd to ask your candidates about your own company culture, this question can lend you valuable information. By making the candidates describe your culture (or at least what they think your culture is like), you can get an indication of what made them apply at your company and whether their expectations align with your actual company culture. Candidates who can accurately describe your company culture are very likely to be a good fit.
Things to keep in mind when assessing cultural fit
Assessing for culture fit is 100% subjective, which can make it tricky. There are no objective metrics by which to judge cultural fit. It is important to keep the following in mind during the evaluation of a candidate:
- Be aware of your personal biases: Hiring for culture fit does not mean that you should hire people that have the same interests or lifestyles. It means hiring people that fit the way of working within your company. Make sure hiring for cultural fit does not turn into discriminatory hiring where introverts or people from different cultural backgrounds are rejected more often. Hiring for company culture should go hand in hand with hiring for diversity.
- Using structured interviews can be of great value when evaluating candidates for culture fit. It makes it easier for you to compare different candidates with each other and makes you less biased in your hiring decisions.
- The team determines the cultural fit, not one person alone, therefore it is important to get the team involved in the hiring process through collaborative hiring. A very effective step in the hiring process could be to have a trial day for candidates. This helps them to get to know the team and helps the team to get to know the candidates better.
- An organizational culture is not a fixed set of rules and regulations that you can refer to. Culture grows with a company and constantly subject to change. So before you hire, make sure that you think about your organizational culture first. You need to fully understand the company culture before you can actually start evaluating candidates on this.