Most organisations have well defined cultures, but within this, each division and team will have its own micro culture of its own. Whether recruiting or looking for your next job move it’s important to consider cultural fit, not only the current culture but the culture that is evolving within the team. For some hiring managers it may be that the current team culture is the culture that they desire but even in these situations it is still a worthy topic to consider as it can be useful to have people who can challenge the culture.
Hiring for the right cultural fit can help to reduce staff turnover, improve the satisfaction of the team (and the new starter) and even contribute to the success of a company. Before attempting to assess cultural fit during the recruitment phase, it is important to understand the culture you are hiring into. The current culture can be identified by looking at what values, goals and practices the current employees have in common. In my current role I am often impressed by my colleagues’ sheer excitement and passion for improving lives through education, so, when I recruit, this is something I keep in mind.
Some of the points will be positive (everyone in the team is happy to pitch in) and some will perhaps be seen as negative (often we are resistant to change). It is helpful to consider when recruiting whether you want to recruit for the culture you currently have, the culture you want to have or a combination of the two. The new hires you make will help develop the team culture so it is important that the selected candidate reflects the culture you are looking to build.
Try to pick new employees who will challenge your thinking with new ideas and new ways of looking at familiar situations. Create an environment in which different approaches are welcomed and considered on their merit. It is hard to get a candidate who both meets the all the current cultural necessities but evolves the culture where appropriate. Therefore it is often a case of making a hard decision over what is more important for your situation.
Avoid thoughts like, "but we've always done it this way" and "we tried that and it didn't work".
All the best cultural fit interview questions that you ask potential employees won't separate out your positive contributors unless you also welcome them to a work environment that encourages differences of opinion.
Whether you are asking a candidate to complete an online questionnaire, telephone interview or panel interview it is worth asking at least a couple of questions around cultural fit. The below examples are a starting point but give an idea of what can be asked to identify cultural fit.
Describe the work environment in which you are most productive and happy.
What are the characteristics exhibited by the best manager you have ever had - or wished that you have had?
In your experience, what how does an organisation encourage your use of your discretionary energy and effort, that willingness each employee has, to go the extra mile, push harder, spend more time, and do whatever is necessary to get the job done?
The above questions give a strong starting point and an idea of the types of questions that can be asked. The prospective employee's answers help you determine whether the candidate will work successfully in your team and organisation as a whole.
In interview question answers that assess cultural fit, you are seeking an employee who shares the values and principles that drive work and relationships in your team. You are looking for an employee who will add value, not an employee who will take constant work and effort on your part to bring him or her into compliance with your workplace norms.
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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work
environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your
diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email
[email protected] for more information.
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