Most HR professionals understand the importance of culture fit when recruiting and interviewing job candidates. Someone who excelled at another company may not work out at yours if they aren’t the right fit for your company culture.
That said, knowing that you should keep this in mind during the recruitment process is by no means the same as knowing how to determine whether a candidate will thrive at your company in this capacity.
If you struggle with determining culture fit during recruitment, the following points will help. Keep them in mind if you understand the importance of culture fit, but don’t exactly know how to gauge it.
Know Your Culture
This may seem obvious, but it’s an important point to remember.
The simple truth is that some HR pros aren’t always entirely clear on what exactly defines their organization’s culture. That may not be their fault. While many factors contribute to an organization’s culture, key among them are the values that the business owners established when they founded their companies. If no one ever made a point of drafting that kind of mission statement, it can be difficult to understand how your company’s culture manifests.
Make a point of coordinating with executives to create a set of values if one doesn’t already exist. If it does, review it and honestly assess whether the company’s culture actually aligns with its stated values. You may need to adjust them if they don’t accurately represent your organization’s current mission.
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the way people in which people interact and behave at the office. How do they dress? How do they socialize? How old do they tend to be? Do employees tend to share certain interests? Although stated values can play a major role in defining an organization’s culture, you don’t want to overlook the important role that a company’s people play as well.
Ask About Their Values
You need to be familiar with your company’s culture to determine how a candidate’s answers to particular questions indicate whether they’re a good fit.
During interviews, ask about a candidate’s professional values. What would their ideal employer stand for? How would they like to help that employer to embody its values and mission? Aside from money, why do they care about the type of work they would be doing? The more that their answers appear to correspond with your company’s values, then the more likely that a candidate will be to fit in with the company culture.
That is, if they also have certain qualities in common with their coworkers. Now, this doesn’t mean you should always hire people from the exact same demographic groups with the exact same interests. You want diversity within your company for many reasons.
That said, you also want employees to work well together. If their communication styles are too different, they may struggle to collaborate.
Since a person isn’t exactly going to act perfectly natural during an interview, you’ll have to ask questions to get a sense of how much they have in common with current employees. Ask about previous companies that they worked at where they enjoyed (or did not enjoy) working with others. Find out what they liked (or disliked) about the social atmosphere in offices where they’ve previously worked. Learn a little bit about their interests. While you don’t want to dismiss a candidate because they don’t share all the interests of your employees, you do want to learn more about who they are on an average day. A job interview is not an average day, after all.
Find Out How They Work
A company’s culture involves more than just its values and people. It also involves the way employees work on a day-to-day basis.
For instance, some organizations require employees to show up and leave at the same time, working relatively quietly in their cubicles throughout the day. Some allow people to come and go as they please, as long as they complete their tasks. Other companies allow employees to work from home if they wish. At some offices, employees have privacy, while at others, they may be encouraged to socialize.
These all play a role in determining company culture. You need to find out if a job candidate fits the culture in this important way. For example, if yours is the type of company where people work in an open office and tend to collaborate on projects every day, someone who says they work best when they have their own space that’s free of distractions probably will not work out in the long run.
It’s worth noting that culture fit isn’t the only quality you need to look for when interviewing candidates. It will always be important to prioritize qualifications and experience. However, as this blog has pointed out before, employee turnover is costly. You want to hire people you’ll be able to keep for a long time. If they fit in with the company culture, that’s more likely to happen.