It's not enough to look for a candidate that has the skills and knowledge to do the job you’re hiring for. You also need employees who are a good fit for your company culture. Discover some interview tips and questions you can ask applicants to evaluate whether they are a good fit for your team.
why ask questions to assess cultural fit?
Good cultural fit is beneficial for everyone, including the person you hire, the rest of your team and your company. When you hire employees that fit well on your teams, the results include:
- higher job satisfaction
- increased commitment and loyalty to your company
- better retention rates
- enhanced teamwork and problem-solving
If you’re currently focused on hiring candidates who are a good fit for your organization, we have plenty of tools and resources to support you, including a step-by-step guide.
11 interview question to get you started
Asking the right questions during interviews is one of the best ways to evaluate employee fit. We've gathered 11 interview questions to ask to get you started. You don't have to ask all these questions in every interview; consider asking a few or changing them up to meet your needs as you talk to prospective talent.
1. what do you look for in your ideal workplace?
Ask for the candidate's wish list and see how your workplace stacks up. You don't have to tick every box — most people are realistic in this regard. But if you fall short of half the list or are just opposite everything the candidate seems to want, chances are your employer-employee relationship is not a match made in heaven.
2. what management style helps you perform best?
This is a great question to discern workplace fit with regard to a certain team. It helps you understand whether they'll work well under a specific supervisor. Ideally, the direct manager of the new employee should be present in the interview to provide some context on their leadership style and ensure it’s a good match.
3. what qualities do you look for in your coworkers?
Here's an important tip for interviewers: the answers to most questions you ask can provide multiple levels of information.
By asking about coworker preferences, you accomplish two things. First, you help determine whether someone would be happy on a specific team. Second, you get an idea of what a candidate might expect from others — such as whether they're amenable, demanding or anxious about dealing with others. All of this information is helpful for determining team fit.
4. how do you resolve differences of opinion?
Interpersonal skills are important in almost any position. This question helps you understand whether a candidate has the soft and interpersonal skills needed to mesh with your team. It also provides a look into someone's conflict-management style: are they passive, aggressive or somewhere between? WIll their approach to conflict lead to a harmonious workplace or does it spell trouble with other team members?
An alternative to this question during job interviews is to ask the candidate to relay a story of a time they dealt with a difference of opinion.
5. do you prefer to work in a team or independently?
There's no right answer to this — only an answer that helps you understand cultural fit. If you have a group of self-starters who mostly complete projects on their own, someone who's looking for a team environment may not do well. The opposite is also true. Both independent and collaborative employees can add value to your team, depending on your needs and the dynamic of your team; it’s really up to you to decide which is the best fit.
6. what makes you happy at work?
Obviously most people want a competitive salary, but what else makes the candidate get out of bed in the morning? Someone who looks forward to Monday because they enjoy their job typically has a more positive impact on your company. So don’t be afraid to look for candidates that are happy with things that your company is realistically able to provide. If their dream workplace looks starkly different than your current workplace, it’s probably not an ideal fit.
7. what is your approach to work-life balance?
This question helps you understand whether your company culture aligns with someone's work-life balance expectations.
For example, if you require everyone on your team to work 40 plus hours a week in an office and someone is looking for a position with options for remote work every Tuesday, that's not a great fit. In interviews you should always be upfront about what work-life balance perks you’re able to offer and what is unrealistic for your workplace. This ensures candidates know what they’re signing up for from the start.
8. how do you feel about forming work friendships?
Comradery is important on professional teams. You don’t have to be best friends with your colleagues, but you do need to get along and work alongside one another in harmony. Building work friendships helps people band together to overcome odds or achieve seemingly impossible goals. While you might not require everyone on your teams to be BFFs, you might want people who are willing to be friendly and build relationships with coworkers.
An alternative question might be whether someone is still friends with coworkers from previous employment.
9. how would you describe your work style?
Getting to know a candidate's work style is a great way to assess cultural fit. Sure, every company wants to be productive, but productivity means many things. Perhaps your teams are productive by grinding through the work and quickly and accurately as possible. But other teams might be equally productive by considering tasks slowly and taking a tortoise-over-hare approach.
Putting a hare on a team of tortoises — and vice versa — could be asking for cultural and team dynamic problems.
10. what expectations do you have for your leaders?
Again, this question is about verifying that expectations align and not about determining one ‘correct’ way. If someone wants to work for a certain kind of manager and you or your supervisors aren't that type of leader, the candidate isn't an ideal fit. Once again, direct managers should be involved in this phase of the interview, so they can chime in on their management style and expectations to verify that they’re a good match with the candidate’s preferred work style.
11. describe a time you went above and beyond at work.
On the surface, this question sounds like you want the candidate to prove themselves and their commitment. But the information you can gain from this question goes much deeper:
- You find out what the candidate sees as going above and beyond, which might differ from your definition
- Listening carefully helps you understand if the person sees this as a positive or negative
- You can determine if the job seeker is overzealous and potentially willing to sacrifice work-life balance to score points with the boss — not always a good thing, especially when it comes to cultural fit
All in all, it’s a telling question that says a lot about someone's approach to their work.
work with a staffing partner to find the right talent
Randstad is adept at evaluating talent based on skills, experience and cultural fit. We can source candidates, review resumes and applications and partner with you to schedule and conduct interviews and provide hiring tips that help find the right talent for every position. If you’re currently focused on hiring candidates who are a good fit for your organization, we have plenty of tools and resources to support you, including a step-by-step guide.