Tips for Assessing Cultural Fit During Candidate Interviews

Hiring for a Cultural Fit: Its Importance and How to Assess It During Interviews

Tips for Assessing Cultural Fit During Candidate InterviewsWhen an employee leaves an organization, particularly if it is not by choice, a lack of ‘Cultural Fit’ is often cited in managerial or human resources meetings in order to explain/rationalize that departure. It is often inferred during these sessions that any/all fault rests with the former employee, perhaps with the accompanying complaint that the money invested in hiring and training that person would have been better spent elsewhere ‘if they had only known this might happen’.

A deeper implication here is that the company has been victimized by a poor employee, whereas, in actual fact, management and/or human resources staff should be taking full responsibility for making a poor hiring decision. Why? In a vast majority of these cases, it can be attributed to interviewing that did not include an assessment for a cultural fit.

Evaluation of cultural fit can be defined as a determination of the probability or likelihood that a candidate will successfully adapt to the core beliefs and collective behaviours that define the particular organization. It is fundamental for high employee satisfaction rates and thus for overall retention rates; conversely, the consequences of overlooking cultural fit during the interview phase include more employee turnover and the associated costs of termination and repeating the recruiting and on-boarding processes.

So how, then, does one go about interviewing for a cultural fit? To begin, it is important to bear in mind that different types of people can exhibit/demonstrate the same values and behaviours; therefore, interviewers should refrain from focusing on a particular type of individual, a stereotype per se, lest they bypass hiring a candidate or candidates who would, at least for cultural reasons, fit well within the organization.

Another critical factor that should be kept top-of-mind is that there is really no foolproof method for assessing whether candidates will mesh well with their future co-workers and in their future work environment; it is not a cut-and-dried process that can be scored as pass or fail but rather an attempt to separate out and ultimately hiring those individuals with the greatest potential for a cultural fit.

Having established this baseline perspective, the attention now turns to interviewing the candidates; i.e.: what types of questions can be asked to produce the insight necessary for determining a cultural fit? To that end, the consultants at Winters Technical Staffing, one of the leading staffing agencies in Toronto for over 40 years, offer the following examples to help stimulate ideas for interviewers and hiring managers:

  • What motivates you to get up and go to work every day?
  • In what type of work environment are you the most productive?
  • Who are your role models or the people that inspire you the most?  And why?
  • How would your co-workers describe the role that you play in a group or team?
  • What do you feel is the most important role that a manager plays with their team?
  • What are your expectations of the senior managers/leadership team in a company?
  • If you could bring just one aspect of a previous job to this one, what would that be?
  • Can you describe the ideal management style that brings out your best work/effort?
  • What is the most important factor that must be present for you to be happy in a job?
  • What are some of the activities, hobbies, or diversions that occupy your leisure time?

Preparing and asking these types of questions as part of the overall interviewing process and, of equal importance, interpreting the respective responses will undoubtedly benefit employers looking for candidates who project a good cultural fit with their organizations. For some employers however, especially those who do not have the luxury of dedicated human resources specialists and/or those who only have periodic hiring needs, such an approach could prove to be rather challenging. If faced with these latter circumstances, there can be substantial value in utilizing the recruiting services of a professional staffing agency such as Winters Technical Staffing in Toronto.

For more than 40 years, Winters Technical Staffing has been providing the expertise and resources that employers need to satisfy their recruiting and hiring requirements from start to finish, including the vitally important element of looking for a cultural fit with any and all high-profile candidates.

Full Capabilities to Support the Recruiting, Interviewing, and Hiring Processes

Tips for Assessing Cultural Fit During Candidate InterviewsThe eventual success of any recruiting effort depends on the effective implementation of several key steps or activities. A professional staffing agency, such as Winters Technical Staffing, has the capabilities to dedicate the appropriate time and attention to each step of the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes to assist employers in making good decisions when staffing needs arise.

Services provided by the recruiting specialists at Winters Technical Staffing can include:

  • Creating focused job postings
  • Advertising through social media
  • Developing interview questionnaires
  • Identifying and screening top candidates
  • Finalizing short-lists and scheduling interviews
  • Completing in-depth reference/background checks

For further information on the recruiting support and services offered by the experienced professionals at Winters Technical Staffing, see

Contact Winters Today

Hiring for a cultural fit is a critical component in ensuring high employee satisfaction, job performance, and retention rates. Call the recruitment specialists at Winters Technical Staffing today at 416-495-7422 or contact us for a consultation on how we can best support your efforts to find the right candidates for your organization.

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