Tom Sheehan, CAI’s HR Business Partner, shares the questions you should be asking your candidates to gauge whether they will be a strong cultural match for your business.
According to a study by Leadership IQ, 46% of newly-hired employees failed within 18 months, and contrary to popular belief only 11% failed due to technical skills. The majority of the 20,000 new hires tracked in this study failed for interpersonal/fit issues. As I once heard it put, “you’re hired for what you know and fired for who you are.”
As a result, it’s absolutely critical that all managers in your organization, especially anyone involved with interviewing potential employees, have a good grasp of your company’s culture and refer back to it throughout the hiring process. HR leaders need to ensure that all leaders understand and can articulate the founding principles of your culture, and that they know how to effectively test for these principles when they are interviewing candidates. It’s also important to include culture-based questions in every interview round. Here are five interview questions that should help assess ‘culture fit:’
1. What was the most frustrating thing about working at your last company?
If the candidate expresses frustration about the amount of corporate email, daily meetings, or anything else that your company also has, you can probably assume this candidate isn’t a good fit for your company.
2. Describe your ideal work environment. What is the single most important factor that must be present for you to be successful at your job?
Personal work environment preferences can vary greatly. Some people like a set schedule while others require a great deal of scheduling flexibility. Some don’t mind travel while others do not want any travel at all. Some employees like working for a smaller more personal company while others prefer being part of a larger organization.
3. What is your preferred work style: alone or part of a team? If you could divide your work time, what percentage would you assign to each?
Most jobs are a mixture of working alone and working on a team. However, the mix can vary widely. Knowing if a person prefers working alone most of the time is critical in a job where most of the work is done as a team. The opposite is also true.
4. What characteristics would you ideally want to have in a boss? Describe the management style that brings out your best work.
Some job candidates have a strong preference in the kind of manager they like to work with and the ones they don’t. For example, trying to fit an autocratic manager with an employee who likes a democratic style can be a recipe for a difficult working relationship.
5. When working in a team, describe the role you most often play? How would your co-workers describe the role you play on the team?
Most people have a preferred role when it comes to being a part of a team. It might be as leader, a coordinator, or an implementer. It is good to know what their preference is and if they are able to adapt their approach.
For any further help with this subject, or any talent management issues, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.
What other interview questions have worked to assess a great cultural fit for you? Please let us know in the comments!