Identifying Candidates That Match Your Culture

Finding the right candidate is a challenge. Finding the right candidate that also fits within the organizational culture is even more so. All too often companies hire candidates that interview beautifully but end up falling flat when hired because they do not match with the team culture. While a candidate can have all the desired skills & experience, it can be hard to determine if they fit with the organization’s culture and how they will perform. So how does one prevent a poor hire from happening? Well, to start, the hiring manager should understand the company mission well enough to clearly communicate character traits that would and would not support that mission. It is important to be able to clearly speak to the organizational mission so that candidates can also ensure that this aligns with their philosophies and goals. While standard interview questions should be centered around the company’s core values, developing situational based interview questions specific to the role can be a key performance indicator to a candidate’s character and overall attitudes. These questions should include:

Questions based on activities/responsibilities of the role:

“We just received a complaint from a client that there was an error with their order. How would you handle this?”

Questions based on employee interactions:

“You noticed that a member of your team has not been contributing to weekly meetings and workflow seems to have decreased. What do you do?”

Questions based on conflict resolution:

Ask for examples from earlier roles. i.e., “You disagree with your manager’s suggestion to increase annual sales in a weekly budget meeting. How do you respond?”

Other areas to note when trying to decide cultural fit can include any of the following:

  • Do not go it alone. Have stakeholders give an overview of what day to day work life will be in that role and let them interview too. It shows the impact this new member will have on the internal dynamic.
  • Brag about your team: Give examples of how current employees show the core values.
  • Ask plainly for the candidate’s contribution to the role and to the company. i.e., “What value will you bring to the role and organization?”
  • Set measurable and attainable expectations. i.e., “Within 90 days of hire, we would expect that a production plan be in place to decrease supplier costs by 8%.”
  • Develop an organizational language and common dialogue centered around org goals or core values. Common phrases and statements that convey the goals and philosophies of what is needed of employees to accomplish the mission. i.e., “Commitment to excellence” or “When our customers win, we win”.

In summary, know who it is you are looking for beyond the experience and education by seeking to understand the characteristics and traits that support the current culture and the future vision of the organization.

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