Hueman Blog

Interview Best Practices: How to Assess Candidates for Culture Fit

Posted by Derek Carpenter

Man and woman sitting across from each other, talking

Asking the right interview questions is just the first step to finding the right cultural fit. You must also educate your hiring managers on best practices to ensure they pursue only the best candidates for your business.

The most successful hires fit both the job and your workplace culture. There are certain best practices for a culture fit assessment.

Here are four key steps you should keep in mind during the interview process when it comes to finding a cultural fit:

1. Give candidates the full view of your organization.   

People are good at self-excluding when they know a job isn't the right fit, especially if they only see the inside of the hiring manager's office.  According to a 2017 study, 47 percent of people are actively seeking new job opportunities because their company culture is not a good fit.

When in the interview process, invite your top candidates on a tour of your building and introduce them to a range of managers and employees. Let them get a feel for the environment, and encourage them to ask their potential colleagues questions. Doing these things gives you a chance to observe how they might fit into the culture, and it allows them to assess whether they belong with your company. It also gives each individual a chance to view themselves in your company environment and offers a nice change of scenery from a normal, sit-down interview.

2. Don't mistake personal affinity for a professional fit.   

No matter how funny or well-read a person is, he or she still needs to excel at their job — otherwise, the recruiting process has failed.

When assessing candidates for a cultural fit, businesses should aim to recruit like-minded people who meet your core values. Stay focused on what a candidate brings to the position and the organization. If they meet those criteria, then you can start thinking about their personality. Consider asking candidates to take a personality assessment so you can glean insights into how they might interact with co-workers and management.   

3. Let applicants have their say.     

The biggest misstep hiring managers make is dominating interview conversations. Sure, you might have 10 more meetings to get through before lunch, and things will move along faster if you stick to your script. However, you can't determine whether someone matches your organization's core values if you do all the talking. Skills can be taught but you can't ingrain your culture into a new employee.  

Allow candidates to steer the discussion. The questions they ask and observations they make may provide powerful insights into whether they're right for your organization. When a candidate is engaged and asks questions about your organization, it shows their interest in the company.       

4. Ask creative questions.     

Use the questions listed in the previous section as a jumping-off point, then add your own twists. Most candidates are accustomed to answering boilerplate interview questions — see how they react when caught off guard.   

Can they think on their feet? How deeply have they thought about your organization? Are they in tune with industry trends? A few creative questions can tell you a lot about how a person thinks.

Going through the motions of an interview can seem long-winded and dreadful. However, to hire good candidates that match your culture, it's essential you follow these best practices. It will set your interview apart from other job interviews that a candidate may have.

Want to make sure your interview process is fair and equal for everyone? Read our blog, "3 Tips to Avoid Bias and Promote Diversity in Interviews."

Topics: Company Culture, Recruitment Strategy