Finding the right candidate for a position with your company is about much more than sifting through an applicant tracking system to identify someone with the right technical skill set for the job. Your task as a recruiter or hiring manager extends to finding a candidate who will be a good cultural fit with your organization.

Admittedly, that is not always easy to do, but it is well worth your effort. Those candidates who integrate well into your corporate culture tend to be more engaged, more productive, more content, and stay longer than those who are cultural misfits.

So, how do you find that elusive candidate who will mesh with your corporate culture? To a large degree, your success in this endeavor revolves around asking the right questions during the interview process.

The Effectiveness of Behavioral-Based Interviewing

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to gauge much about cultural fit from asking simple “yes or no” questions. A better interview technique involves open-ended, behavioral-based questions.

Rohit Raghunathan, former Bar Raiser at Amazon and Quora contributor, has this to say about behavioral interviewing: “The underlying principle of Behavioral Interviewing is that past performance is a good predictor of the future. In a Behavioral Interview, the interviewer poses a broad question like – Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with your manager. Then you ask follow-up questions to get more details. Trying to understand the situation in which the candidate was, the actions that they took and what the result was. This process is metaphorically like peeling the onion.”

Behavioral interviewing involves more effort on the part of the interviewer and interviewee. As an interviewer, you will need to listen carefully and ask appropriate follow-up questions to truly discern the underlying attitudes and personality traits your candidate’s responses reveal. Also, you will need to pay particular attention to other cues, such as body language, to help you understand your candidate’s point of view more fully.

The beauty of behavioral interview questions is that there is no right or wrong answer. The entire purpose of the questions is simply to illuminate the characteristics and personality traits of the candidate more clearly.

Good Questions to Ask to Assess Cultural Fit

As an interviewer, you know that not all questions are of equal value. So, what questions can you ask that will reveal actionable insights into your candidates and their likelihood of fitting in happily with your existing culture? Here are a few to try, as suggested by

  • Describe a situation when you had to work alone and then when you had to work on a team? How did you accomplish your tasks in each situation? Which was easier? Why?
  • When you work with a team, describe the role you are most likely to play on the team.
  • What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you’ve ever had – or wished that you had?
  • What are three to five expectations you have of senior leaders in a successful and highly engaged organization?
  • What are the positive aspects of your current job and work environment, or the last position you held before coming to this interview?

Entrepreneur adds a few more questions for good measure. They are:

  • Who inspires you and why?
  • What is your superpower?
  • What motivates you to come to work every day?
  • How do you rely on others to make you better?

Other great questions for cultural fit include:

  • How would you describe the work environment in which you are most productive?
  • What management style brings out your best work and efforts?
  • What are the top three factors which must be present in your work environment for you to be happy and productive?
  • What is your preferred relationship with co-workers like?

The Takeaway

From the moment a candidate enters into your applicant tracking system, it is vital to begin an assessment, not just of the required skill set needed for your open position, but also for the likelihood of a good cultural fit.

To this end, it is important to use a talent management solution that enables strong communication between candidates and recruiters or hiring managers. Thrive TRM is just such a solution. Schedule a demo to see how Thrive TRM can help you identify and nurture the right talent for your organization today.