How to Assess Candidates for Company Culture Fit


Do you attract top talent to interview for your business only for them to turn down the job? They didn’t even make it to the first day. Maybe they couldn’t connect with your company culture, writes Aaron Agius, chief executive officer of Louder Online.

You don’t want to attract candidates to your business that aren’t going to be a good culture fit. They need to belong, or it won’t work for either side. Even if you have an office-based environment, you might want to consider at least being set up for remote workers.

Here’s how to assess whether candidates fit your current company culture.

What Is Company Culture?

It’s a common question and a valid one. But I also like to ask the question, “What isn’t company culture?”

Company culture is not a stacked beer fridge, an employee’s birthday off, and a slide that goes from one office to another.

Company culture is about the values that you have as a business, your working practices, and how your team works and interacts with each other.

Company culture emerges over time – it can’t be forced.

When you’ve worked hard to build a company culture, you need to ensure that it continues to not only help grow the business but keeps everyone on the same page.

Learn More: 5 Ways to Strengthen Workplace Culture When Times Are ToughOpens a new window

Ask Candidates These Company Culture Questions

When you want to assess culture fit for your organization, you can often get an insight into a candidate’s personality and potential by asking them some specific questions. Here are some of them.

“What do you see as the biggest problem with offices today?”

It’s likely that you either have an office-based company culture or a remote-based one (although some businesses do mix these). Asking this question will give you an insight into what kind of environment the candidate wants to work in.

“How, where, and when do you find that you do your best work?”

A lot of companies encourage you to get away from the desk and find inspiration outside of the office. This seemingly simple question can show you how the candidate likes to work. If you have a culture that thrives on collaboration, this is an excellent question to understand a candidate’s working day.

“What kind of support do you like best?”

Some companies provide training sessions. Others like to send you to conferences. Some businesses have video-heavy training sessions, while others have a more formal approach. This question allows you to find out if the candidate is going to fit with the learning programs that you already have set up at your company.

“What motivates you to do your best work?”

Do your business and team thrive under pressure, or do you have a more systematic approach? Finding out how a candidate motivates themselves on a day to day basis can let you know how well they will fit in with your current work practices.

“How would you describe our company culture?”

People often want to know why I ask this question.

The answer is pretty simple.

I want to know that the candidate has spent some time looking into our company culture and understanding what we are about. If they can’t answer, it could be a sign that they won’t fit in.

“Which of our core values do you most identify with?”

This question should be asked right after the previous question. It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty now. How much do they know? How well do they think they will fit in?

Learn More: Start-Up Culture Should Look Like This at MaturityOpens a new window

Use Technology to Help Identify Gaps

There are many ways that technology Even if you have an office-based environment, you might want to consider at least be set up for remote workersEven if you have an office-based environment, you might want to consider at least be set up for remote workerscan help with day-to-day HR tasks – from leave management and sickness management to expenses. But what tools are available when you are interviewing and trying to figure out if someone is a culture fit?

Even if you have an office-based environment, you might want to consider at least be set up for remote workers. As more and more people want to avoid the commute, it’s crucial for the future of your business. Investigate and set up recruitment software, software for managing holidays, and absenteeism. Make sure you have a communication tool in a place like Slack or Convo.

If you don’t offer this or flexible hours, you’ll find you immediately remove a lot of potential candidates from your pool.

If you want to attract the top talent and you want them to connect with your company culture, you need to ensure you are offering what they need at work – skate where the puck is heading.

Have the Candidate Work in Your Office

If you’re office-based rather than remote, having the candidate come into the office is something you should consider.

I’ve found it can be an excellent way to see how they mix with other team members. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t expect that they fully integrate into the team at that point – especially if they’re working on an assessment. That said, you can get an excellent idea of how comfortable they feel in your work environment.

Ask in the debriefing afterward how they found the office environment. You’ll quickly be able to gauge if they didn’t connect with it.

I wouldn’t put all my stock into this unscientific approach, but I’ve been right more times than I’ve been wrong.

Company culture has become incredibly important for most candidates in recent years. You need to identify the signs when top candidates aren’t connecting with yours – and you need to do it as early as possible. Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas on how you can spot a missed connection before it’s too late.

What are the best ways to ensure top candidates for jobs will fit with your company culture? Do share it with us on TwitterOpens a new window , FacebookOpens a new window , or LinkedInOpens a new window