Hiring for Culture Fit

You have an opening on your team and you’re looking for the perfect candidate. Someone who has the work experience and the work ethic. Someone whose accomplishments will add to your company. And someone who just plain “fits in”.

When you’re hiring someone for a new position, you are not just hiring their resume. There’s a real person with strengths and weaknesses that’s going to interact with you and your team every day and you want to make sure they’re a good match for your organization’s culture.

Hiring for how well a person fits into your organization can be tricky.  You have human resource guidelines as well as state and federal laws to follow.  At the end of the day though, hiring someone everyone can work with is a key factor in their success, as well as the success of your team.

There are a few questions to ask that will give you a sense of who the candidate is in the office.

To get a sense of this candidate’s priorities, ask them to walk you through a day in their current role, in detail. Pay attention to how they start their day. Notice how they talk about the people (clients and co-workers both) with whom they interface.

Ask the candidate meetingwhat they love about the work they do and what frustrates them? Another good question is asking who on their team is the most valuable and what value the candidate brings to their current team.  These questions can help highlight whether or not they feel comfortable working alone or prefer guidance and groups.

To get a sense of how this person takes feedback ask them to tell you about a time they received feedback about their work that was difficult to hear. How did they react? Did they change anything as a result?  As a follow-up, ask how their entire team or company adjusted to a large change or obstacle. These questions will let you know how they work with others under pressure and how well they work on a team.

The larger point behind these kinds of questions is that personality and work presence is the secret ingredient to a workplace running smoothly. Experience and competence are a must, of course but as one recruiter once told me, “we hire people for what they can do, and fire them for who they are”.

Finally, you don’t want your personal preferences to get in the way- remember we’re hiring an employee, not a friend. Yet you also must bring someone that will add personal value as well as professional value.