January 26, 2023 by Andrea Rajic
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Does your hiring process include questions to determine what a candidate can add to your company culture? For most companies, the answer is no, as they’re still stuck trying to get prospective employees to fit into their culture and values.
In this blog, we’ll make a case for ditching cultural fit and replacing it with questions that help you uncover candidates who will replenish, enrich, and make your corporate culture better. Buckle up!
Hiring new team members is much more than filling a skills gap; you want to build long-lasting relationships that will benefit both the company’s bottom line and an employee’s career.
And to ensure that the priorities, motivations, and core values of the company and the candidate are aligned, hiring managers often turn to culture-related job interview questions. And it’s a good idea — you don’t want to hire someone whose skills are great but they’re a nightmare to work with.
Also, getting a feel of the workplace culture is no longer a one-way street. It’s a standard practice for candidates to ask questions about work-life balance, professional development and mentorship opportunities, and the general work environment. It helps them identify any red flags and avoid companies with toxic corporate cultures. Don’t b surprised if candidates come to the call with a list of questions for you — that’s a great sign that they want to know more about the company and the role.
In the past few years, especially since 2020, company culture has become essential for attracting, retaining, and engaging the best talent. And with Millennials and Gen Z taking over as the majority of the global workforce, it’s easy to see why; these generations care about shared values and look for purpose in their work, so they aim to get new jobs in companies they can identify with.
And yet, most companies still ask interview questions to determine a good cultural fit. These questions often focus on the job seekers’ preference for team-building activities, hobbies outside of work, and general interests. And we don’t think it’s a good idea to build teams on that basis.
The intention of cultural fit interview questions is for recruiters to determine if a candidate is a good match with the company’s value system, culture, and teams, but it often leads to unconscious biases and groupthink scenarios where new hires are valued based on their similarity to the interviewers, and not their actual skills.
In today’s workplace, culture add wins over culture fit, and companies should be actively searching for candidates whose values, skills, and behaviors complement and enrich the existing culture.
Need help building a positive company culture that employees will love? Read our 10-step guide to building a strong company culture >>>
So let’s imagine we’re in an interview process, and we want to determine how a candidate will contribute and add to our workplace culture. If you ask them a question like “What do you enjoy doing outside of work?” or “What’s your favorite podcast?” you’ll learn about their personal preferences but not about their professional values, behaviors, and motivations.
In contrast, the questions we outlined below will help you get a feel of what a potential new employee will bring to the table if they join your team. You’ll find out about their motivations, how they handle problem-solving, whether they are willing to take risks, and how they react to diverse perspectives.
You don’t have to stress about coming up with culture-related questions for your interviews. We made this list of 30 questions to get you started and make interviewing for culture a breeze:
If you’re new to asking culture-related questions in job interviews, we have some tips to keep in mind, especially for the first couple of times:
A positive and well-defined company culture can make or break your recruiting, onboarding, and retention efforts, so it’s vital you define, communicate, and exude culture in the everyday experiences of your team.
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