How to Hire For Culture Fit

When hiring new talent, having the right qualifications isn’t enough anymore. Culture fit – an employee’s values, believes, behavioural patterns, personality, and attitude – is growing in importance. If an employee is great at their specific job function, but doesn’t get along with the rest of the team, the quality and efficiency of work will suffer.

The first step in ensuring culture fit is to identify your company’s culture, and clearly communicate it to candidates. Make sure that they not only understand what is expected but that they share similar, if not the same, values and beliefs. One way to streamline this process is to communicate the company culture through social media. This will somewhat decrease the number of job seekers who don’t culturally fit – they won’t bother applying in the first place.

The next step is to test for culture fit through interviews and assessments. During the interview, ask behaviour-based questions. These are the ones that begin with “Tell me about a time when….” or “How did you….” Make sure you specifically ask about real instances that actually happened – don’t just stick with hypotheticals because past behaviour is usually a fair indicator of future behaviour. But also give them a chance to explain for themselves why they may be a good fit through questions such as “Why us and not our competitor?” And then there’s the obvious “Why do you think you are a good fit for our company and this specific team?”

Use behavioural assessments to your advantage as well. Tests such as DISC, MBTI, and others can reveal key personality traits and predict potential responses in certain situations. Of course that’s not to say that just because one portion of the assessment doesn’t match the candidate should be discarded, as it is entirely possible for anyone to adapt to new environments.

Another option is to vet candidates through their social media exchanges, though this is not an extremely reliable source, and should not be used exclusively. References from previous employers could also provide important insights into the candidate’s potential alignment with your company’s culture.

Keep in mind, however, that no one question from an interview or assessment can determine culture fit with 100%, or even near 100%, accuracy. Consider insights from a variety of sources in a balanced manner.