Interview Questions to Determine If a Candidate Fits Company Culture

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, an employee’s poor cultural fit at an organization – and the turnover that likely follows – can cost a business up to 50 to 60 percent if that employee’s annual salary. That is a significant cost for what might be considered only as an “extra”; cultural fit is often perceived as a bonus on top of more concrete qualities, like analytical and technical prowess.

Yet this statistic proves that a strong cultural fit is equally important to these other qualities. But what is “cultural fit” exactly? Harvard Business Review describes cultural fit as a company’s key beliefs, attitudes, and aspirations. Employees who share these values will be able to work more efficiently and comfortably with co-workers and in the organization.

Cultural fit is important, but so is asking the right questions to ensure that a job candidate would fit into your workplace. Here are six of the best questions to guarantee that a candidate is a strong match:

Why did you leave your last position?

This question can tell you a lot about why a candidate was dissatisfied at her previous workplace. Perhaps she wanted more career advancement opportunities or did not enjoy the lack of structure. But if a candidate starts listing conditions that are similar to those at your workplace, you’ll know that he or she would not fit into your organization well.

What are your career values? and What is your ideal workplace environment?

The best way to make sure a candidate fits with your company culture is by asking him to articulate his or her values and describe the ideal work environment. Do they value independence but your company focuses on collaboration? Is your candidate introverted when you need someone to be outgoing? Asking this question outright can eliminate guessing and give you concrete ideas about a candidate’s priorities.

If you could have anything in your next job, what would it be and why?

If your candidate says that what he or she wants most is something that you cannot offer, you know the candidate will not be wholly satisfied working with you.

Describe one of the biggest challenges in your career. How did you solve this problem?

Variations of this question are so often asked because the question offers such a strong barometer of a candidate’s soft skills and the ability to overcome adversity. Strong candidates will describe the soft skills and level-headedness they used to solve problems – and these abilities will give you a promising idea of whether a candidate fits into your workplace overall.

What attracts you to our company?

Ask this question if you want your candidate to describe his or her alignment with your company’s cultural fit. If they have done the appropriate research, they will list hallmarks of your company culture and describe how they specifically agree with these attitudes.

In the end, cultural fit does matter. But if you’re unsure about precisely how to screen candidates for a strong cultural fit, contact Career Moves. We have placed more than 400 accounting and finance professionals in companies throughout Connecticut, so we know how to match companies with the qualified candidates who will thrive in each unique workplace culture.

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