How to Determine Whether a Job Candidate is A Good Cultural Fit

How to Determine Whether a Job Candidate is A Good Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is rapidly getting prominence in the job market. With a lot of talented professionals out there, it is relatively easy for employers to find a great match base on qualification and experience; But hiring a candidate that emerges as the best base on competencies alone may not be your best option. The missing link is if the applicant is a cultural fit for your organization.

When an organization and its employees fit culturally, it makes the employees feel more competent and motivated. It improves employee’s self-esteem and the desire to give their best. More so, studies have proven that workers who are fulfilled and happy in the workplace do not just perform better but have a high tendency to work for the organization for a longer period; Increasing retention and productivity levels while decreasing recruitment costs.


What is a cultural fit?

A cultural fit is that individual whose attitude, values, and beliefs align with the core values, norms, and vision of an organization. A cultural fit situation refers to a person’s suitability for a specific role in a firm; Hence, minimizing the chances of conflicts and disloyalty. Cultural fit has of late become one of the most important criteria of employment in the recruitment process.

However, the organizational fit should not be misinterpreted as hiring the same kind of people all the time; As the values and features that make up an organizational culture can and should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce. Sadly, many recruitment managers tend to hire base on their intuition and personal preference, this, in turn, results in a work environment where employees dress, think and behave similarly to their manager. Research shows that diversity in age, gender, race, and background are integral for businesses and hugely impacts productivity.

It is normal for recruiters to feel overwhelmed when deciding on which candidate to hire. Here are some ways of determining if a candidate is a good match for your firm’s culture:

Define your firm’s culture

Before assessing your candidates for cultural compatibility, you need to establish in detail your firm’s culture and style. One way of determining your firm’s culture is to think through and identify the type of people who typically excel in your organization; Figure out the kind of people that are the top performers and why they do so well. You should consider your mission statement and the values under which your firm operates. And follow up by comparing other firms (within the same industry) with yours. Ask employees and partners for input until you come up with a sentence or two that summarily captures your firm’s identity, values, and vision.

If your firm is small or just starting up, your culture may not be something you have given much thought to. You should though because you certainly have one and figuring it out will prevent a bad hire that will affect the firm.

Your job adverts should capture the firm’s culture

The firm’s culture should be integrated into every aspect of recruitment. That begins with the job listing; it should reflect both the firm’s brand and culture. If the workplace is an exclusive setting, meant for only VIPs or perhaps an informal, family-friendly workplace where kids and pets are allowed, say so when advertising a job vacancy. Let job applicants have an idea of what they are coming into because the workplace and the workers will have to complement each other to get the best possible outcomes.

Conduct a standardized pre-employment assessment

Determining a cultural fit might be subjective, which is capable of making the hiring process biased. That is why you need a standardized assessment to measure a cultural fit. This assessment comes in different shapes and sizes but is all focused on finding candidates that match your organizational culture. Most pre-employment assessment tools have a cultural fit module. It compares an applicant’s preference for an organizational culture with the actual culture of an organization. The test can come in different formats. For instance, it could be a validated questionnaire that assesses applicants’ cultural preferences across six cardinal dimensions. That is basic characteristics, organizational leadership, employee management, team participation, organizational glue, and criteria for success.

Follow up with a situational judgment test            

After the pre-employment assessment, a situational judgment test should follow. It entails using videos in the recruitment process to give the candidates a virtual experience of your job environment and see how they respond to it. It is an avenue to give an applicant a sneak peek into your firm. Just as it is easier to get a more real feel of a candidate’s personality via a video call, it is also easier to get a feel of the office atmosphere and the type of employees through a short but concise video. Don’t forget to look out for the candidate’s reactions while and after watching.

Ask the right interview questions

The right questions depend on your organizational culture. Asking culture specific-questions during interviews will help you determine if a candidate fits into the firm’s culture. Examples of culture fit questions are:

  • Do you have any concerns about our organizational culture based on your research?
  • Do you share the same business values with us?
  • What is something you have accomplished of late that you feel proud of?
  • What do you appreciate most about teamwork?
  • What motivates you to work?
  • Are there things you like about your past or current colleagues?

These kinds of questions will give you an insight into the candidate’s personality. Make a distinction between cultural match and discrimination; let your questions be devoid of prejudice and insults.

Pay attention to how a candidate answers a question

Take a close look at the candidate’s pattern of response as well as gestures during interviews. Are they knowledgeable and confident? Are they honest, open, and friendly? Your questions can come outside the scope of the job; Like asking for their hobbies, favorite food, or best TV program. Candidates are likely to prepare responses to more common interview questions. Unconventional questions will help you get a sense of the candidate’s personality as well as how they react to unexpected situations.

Get your workers involved

Integrate the candidate’s potential co-workers in the interview process. That means they will need some training on what to ask and what to listen for; It is important to ensure the team understands the purpose of cultural fit before interviews. Include three to six members of your staff in the team conducting the interview. And let their focus be on issues tied to your firm’s culture. Coming in contact with and interacting with employees will help determine if a candidate is a cultural fit for your organization or not.

Collect feedback

At the end of an interview, interviewers should fill an assessment afterward that grades applicants on a numerical scale on their cultural fitness. It should follow up with a written comment. After reviewing those assessments, call the employees together to discuss their feedback for better understanding. Their input, as well as the candidate’s performance on your skill assessment, will put you in the best position to make an informed decision.


You are not out for a perfect candidate, because each will have this or her own weaknesses. But, there should be as many recipes as possible in terms of motivation for teamwork, shared values, and principles, to complement the candidate’s qualifications. This is vital if both firm and candidate are to enjoy a successful long-term relationship.

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