How to Interview for Cultural Fit

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By Miriam Lukac

Topics: Hiring

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Hiring managers are under a lot of pressure to find great candidates and hire the very best for their team. In a market where your talent is what makes you stand out, getting the right people on board is imperative. 

That’s why plenty of hiring professionals put so much emphasis on finding the right cultural fit. A candidate who shares values with your organization is more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Liberty Staffing Services can help you find qualified candidates who fit your organization’s culture. 

Download our whitepaper to see how we solve our clients' evolving staffing issues

Trying to determine cultural fit during a phone call, or face-to-face interview, can be challenging. We would like to provide you with some tips to help you learn how to interview for cultural fit, and find the right talent for your team.

Ask What the Candidate Looks for

As a hiring manager, you likely have a list of attributes you look for in every job applicant. Sometimes these are hard skills, but you might also examine soft skills, and even personality traits.

Assessing these factors can help you determine if the candidate will fit with your team. When you’re looking for cultural fit, you should ask the candidate what they look for in a company.

Company culture can be considered the company’s “personality”. Think on your organization’s values. Do they include great teamwork? Maybe you want to provide an environment where team members feel a sense of accomplishment from solving tough problems.

By asking what a candidate looks for in a company, you’ll get a sense of their values, and how they align with those of your organization.

Have Them Envision Their Ideal Work Environment

Another way to evaluate a candidate’s cultural fit during an interview is to ask them about the environment they want to work in. Where are they most productive? What kind of management style do they excel under?

Some people prefer top-down organizations, where expectations of each team member are clear. Others shine when there’s more freedom and flexibility with roles.

If your environment favours people who will don any hat, but the candidate prefers strict job descriptions and clear-cut roles, they may not be the right fit for the business.

Ask Them to Describe a Challenging Situation

Soft skills are some of the most important skills in the workplace. They’re also some of the hardest to evaluate.

Effective communication between people is key. Problem solving and critical thinking skills are vital in many situations. So how do you give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate these skills during an interview?

One way is to ask them about a challenging situation they’ve encountered before. This could be a demanding client, a tight project deadline, or conflict with co-workers. How did they handle the conflict?

Their responses can reveal how they work under pressure, as well as their soft skills.

What Role Do They Play on a Team?

Some people want to be leaders and love making decisions. Others are happy to defer to others. In team situations, all of these roles are important.

Ask a candidate what role they typically take when placed on a team. Do they like playing supportive roles, or being a mediator? Do they prefer to take center stage? Are they the organizer of the group who keeps everyone else on task?

If your environment calls for people to play more supportive roles on teams, those who crave leadership opportunities could find themselves clashing with your company culture. This question gives you a good idea of where and how someone might fit into your team.

Remember Culture is Dynamic

One thing to remember when hiring for cultural fit is where your company culture is going. If you want to create a better team environment, hiring team-oriented candidates could make sense.

Don’t forget subcultures in different departments. Someone may be an ideal fit for your accounting department, but not for customer service.

If you’re looking for great candidates, get in touch with our recruiting team at Liberty Staffing. We make hiring the right people even easier. 

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Miriam Lukac

I am the Regional Business Manager at Liberty Staffing in Mississauga. I have over 10 years of recruitment and management experience. In my 20 years of customer service experience, I have always had a passion for helping people which has allowed me to build great client and candidate relationships.

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