3 Ways to Hire Based on Culture Fit

By Adam Robinson,
September 7, 2012

Have you ever hired someone who looked so good on paper that you could have framed their resume on your wall? With great answers to every interview question  and a better skills test score than half of your staff you obviously didn’t think twice. But when the ink begins to dry and your new hire shows up to work and you discover that he or she is a “highly skilled jerk,” you just committed an HR faux pas: hiring a culture mis-fit. 

Hireology’s Product Development Director, Margot Baill, wrote a blog post titled Hiring Based on Culture Fit where she breaks down companies definitions of their culture. For instance, when one company sees a candidate’s culture fit as the things they value another company might see culture fit as the feel of the environment.It’s easy to see that culture is valued in organizations and adding a culture mis-fit can be detrimental to the balance of the office’s environment. If you want to start hiring based on the culture fit of the candidate you’re interviewing, follow the 3 tips below! 

Explain Your Company’s Culture to the Candidate

From now on part of your interviewing process should be about explaining your company culture to the candidate and asking them if they can visualize themselves as part of the team. Now here’s the tricky part: many candidates will just say “uh huh” even if the culture seems intimidating. So this is where you excellent hiring managers ask the million dollar question… “What part of our culture interests you most,” and then follow up with: “can you elaborate on that please.” This will get the candidate talking about how they fit into your culture and you can be the judge of their answers.

Ask the Question “What was the worst company culture you worked in?’

Jim Roddy, President of Jameson Publishing, wrote an insightful article titled 5 Ways to Find Candidates Who Fit Your Culture and he says that he loves “hiring people who had a genuinely awful work experience,” because it gives the candidate a feeling of what it’s like to work in a crappy place and they won’t feel like leaving every time the job gets hard. By asking your candidates about the worst culture they’ve experienced, you will be able to give second thoughts to those who have worked in terrible cultures and are ready to experience greener pastures.

Roddy says to follow up that question with “How did you cope in that culture.” This will “provide insight into several character traits of the candidate” and give a feel for their attitude and overall outlook. Very beneficial if you ask us.

Compare the Values

The last way to hire based on culture fit is to compare the candidate’s career and personal values to your organization’s values. One way to do this is ask interview questions based on your company’s core values. Start by making a list of the values you think are most important and turn them into interview questions. For instance if your organization values “self awareness” you can ask, “What is the biggest misperception people have of you?” 

This will give you a clear idea if the candidate values the same things your company does, and you will be able to decide from there if they should move on in the hiring process.

Companies with a great culture have a happy and appealing environment that harbors good relationships and productive employees. If you are looking for more than just interview questions to determine culture fit Hireology can help you create a hiring process that measures culture fit in several different ways. Using our SmartRank survey, Phone screen, Achievements interview and Elements interview, you will be well equipped to hire based on culture fit – in a way that best relates to success on the job at hand.

Tip: Look for these four essential elements in each and every candidate. 

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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