After the Skills Test: Interview Questions for Culture Fit
So, you've implemented skills assessments, now you have an amazing selection of suitable candidates and you are completely spoiled for choice. There are certainly worse problems recruiters and hiring managers can have!
However, just because these applicants have the necessary skill levels it doesn't necessarily mean they'll thrive in the workplace. Although technical, role-specific and soft skills are a priority when assessing a candidate’s suitability for a job, employers should also be looking out for whether they are a good cultural fit for the company. Personality assessments are an easy and efficient way to evaluate cultural fit early on in recruitment, but it can be helpful to supplement this with questions during the interview process as well.
What is culture fit?
When we talk about an applicant’s cultural fit, we're looking into how well we think they would fit into the business’ company culture. Company culture is defined as a company's shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that are upheld by its founders and leadership team. Following on from this, culture fit can be understood as how well an individual’s own beliefs and attitudes align with those of the company.
Why should I assess culture fit?
Many employers tend to overlook an applicant’s potential cultural fit, but it's an essential aspect to look for during the hiring process. Maintaining a strong, positive company culture can do wonders for your organisation’s reputation and productivity levels. In fact, a study by Columbia University revealed that businesses with a strong company culture had a low turnover rate of 13.9% while those with a weak company culture had a higher turnover rate at 48.4%.
Company culture can differ between different businesses, so some individuals are a better fit for certain business cultures than others. This is why it's important to assess a candidate’s suitability early on during the interview process.
What do culture fit questions test for?
Questions based around cultural fit typically help to assess how much a candidate’s personal values run parallel with the company’s own values. This can include what kind of work environment they thrive in, how well they work in a team, and the types of work they find most meaningful.
It's also important to remember that hiring managers shouldn't limit themselves to hiring applicants with identical beliefs or behaviours. In fact, putting together a homogenous team can actually be detrimental to your company's productivity levels. When assessing your candidates, take a step back and see if they can add to your company culture instead of just fitting perfectly into it. Remember: diverse workplaces help to nurture a more creative and productive workforce.
Examples of culture fit interview questions
We've compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked and helpful culture fit questions. While these questions are incredibly useful during the interview process, it should be noted that this isn't a comprehensive list. We've also found that it's best to customise your questions according to your company's values and the specific needs of the position you're hiring for, so feel free to use the following questions and adjust them however you see fit.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
You may recognise this as a classic interview question asked by hiring managers at the start of almost every job interview. The reason it's such a common question is that it's an easy way of getting an insight into a candidate’s goals and priorities alongside how their experience fits with the job you're hiring for.
2. In what type of work environment are you most happy and/or productive in?
This question helps employers understand what kind of work environment each applicant enjoys and thrives in. For example, if you have a fast-paced work environment, it's important that candidates are able to work productively under pressure. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting advent of remote and hybrid working makes this question even more important as you'll need to assess an applicant’s adaptability and ability to work independently.
3. How would your colleagues and co-workers describe you?
Questions like this can help to provide an outside perspective of the candidate's behavioural traits in the workplace. It also gives a chance for the applicant to self-assess and reflect on themselves, and typically even the way they convey their answer to this question is able to say a lot about their character. If you're an employer that values teamwork and cooperation, for example, you’re probably looking for candidates who answer this question by talking about their ability to work well with others.
4. Describe a challenging situation you recently faced and how you overcame it.
This question is a seemingly straightforward way of understanding a candidate’s problem-solving skills, but it can evaluate other aspects of their behaviour as well, such as their decision-making and critical thinking skills. It will also be interesting to see whether they prefer to solve problems independently or work as a team, as this can be a good indicator of whether they're a good match for your company.
5. When working in a team, what role are you most likely to play?
Asking this question can help determine how they would fit within your existing team and the general company culture. With their answer, you can see whether they would fit well with your team’s dynamic or if they would even add something extra that you feel is missing from the company.
6. What are you most passionate about?
It's important to understand what motivates an individual during candidate interviews. Their answer may not be directly related to the job at hand but if they respond with clear enthusiasm and passion, it's a good indicator that they are a committed individual who is willing to see things through. Having committed individuals join your team will help you maximise your company's productivity and nurture a positive, energised company culture.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
One of the signs of a strong, positive company culture is a low turnover rate, and asking this question during interviews can help you maintain this. Asking applicants about their 5-year plan is a good way to gain insight into whether they see a long term future at your company, and if their goals align with what you and your company are able to offer them in terms of growth and progression, such as additional training or promotions.
8. Describe a time you made a mistake at work and how you handled it.
While question number 5 asked about challenges applicants have overcome, this interview question overtly asks about the mistakes they've made themselves. Their answer will be a good indicator of their levels of integrity and self-awareness. It's also important to see whether they're able to discuss what they've learnt and how they've grown after this mistake.
Assessing for cultural fit is an important step in the recruitment process. By taking into account how well a candidate will fit into your company culture, you can avoid costly mistakes and increase employee satisfaction and productivity. The best way to assess cultural fit is by asking questions that relate to specific aspects of your company culture.
While the questions we’ve listed are some of the most commonly asked interview questions, they might not be suited to all types of organisations. Therefore, we encourage you to take these away and modify them according to your specific organisational culture and what you believe is missing from your current team.
If you're interested in developing a more well-rounded and holistic hiring process feel free to contact us today. Here at Skillsarena, we can help you implement the best recruitment strategies to ensure you're making the most accurate hiring decisions.