Finding a candidate that fits the corporate culture

You think you've found the perfect candidate for your job opening. Your top choice has all the right skills, experience and qualifications. It was a first-rate interview where the candidate showed enthusiasm and a thorough understanding of the role and its responsibilities. After all that, though, there still remains an important question: will they be a good fit with your workplace culture?

The lack of a good cultural fit can be one of the primary reasons why employees leave an organisation. So, it's crucial to find out whether your company’s mission, values and practices resonate with the candidate's own desired career path and personal values. Here are some tips to find out if the candidate is a good fit with your corporate culture.

1. Know your workplace culture

This is the first step towards finding a candidate who is a good cultural fit. Take some time to assess your company's culture, then try to picture the type of employee who will fit in. This step is especially critical in today's fast-paced, agile workforce where competition for talent is fierce. A good way to communicate your company's culture is through an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This describes how you want to be viewed as an employer, and what employees can expect from you for their contributions.

Today's employers don't have a lot of time on their hands to decide whether a candidate is right for their organisation. If you think you've found the right candidate, you need to act quickly to make them an offer or they will move on to another opportunity.

2. Look for cultural fit in the job interview

Making the most of your interview process is critical. It's important to ask questions and look for body language that will reveal whether the candidate will be a good fit with the company culture. Most importantly:

Of course, assessing a candidate for cultural fit is often more challenging than finding out about their skills or experience. You'll want to ask questions that reveal more about them than just their work history and technical knowledge. Questions that can provide insight into which type of workplace culture a candidate functions best in could include: “How do you respond to change?”, “Can you describe the best boss you ever had?” and “What kind of management style allows you to do your best work?”

Don't be afraid to delve into the negatives as well. For example, ask them what they found most difficult about their previous roles. Was management not supportive enough? Were the timelines too tight? This can help you assess how they respond during times of adversity, and whether your company culture can better meet their needs.

  • Take note of body language

How the candidate reacts physically to certain questions can reveal a lot about their basic passions, skills and personality attributes. Ask the candidate to describe their past work and projects, and see what they talk about with the most energy and enthusiasm. Also look for signs of the opposite. For example, if they appear to lose enthusiasm when talking about their experiences with change or uncertainty, this could be a sign that they'll struggle in an organisation that values entrepreneurship and embraces change.

  • Find out about their other achievements

Asking the candidate to reveal things about their life outside of work can have its risks. The last thing you want is for them to feel that you're getting too personal. It's perfectly fine, though, if you ask them if they'd like to share any stories about their accomplishments and projects outside the world of paid work. This could include volunteering in the community, creative projects, or hobbies that reveal their innermost passions and sense of drive. All of these can be useful stories for finding out how well they would fit into your workplace culture.

3. Listen to your instincts

Importantly, don't ignore your own basic hunches about the candidate. Is there anything about them that raises a red flag? In particular, watch for body language that doesn't match their words. If they claim to be enthusiastic about something, but display bad posture or poor eye contact while telling the story, this could be a sign that they don't genuinely feel that way.

Checking references is a great way to sort through any lingering questions you have about cultural fit. Asking the referee specific questions about your concerns, or having them describe a specific experience with the candidate, can help uncover useful information about how the candidate works and what workplace environment they prefer.

Taking the time to assess a candidate's fit with the company culture during the recruitment process is vital. A good fit almost always leads to higher job satisfaction, more engagement, and greater loyalty – saving you both time and money further down the line.