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Asking questions that matter: hiring for cultural fit

Few things cause more headaches for a recruiter than a bad hire. Still, no less than 95% of organizations admit to making bad hires every year (Brandon Hall Group). A common reason for making a poor hire is the lack of insights in a candidate’s soft-skills, personality and culture-fit. Interview processes are often still focused on making sure the person can check all the pre-requisite skills, experience and competences required for the job – but will that person also demonstrate behaviors that reflect your company’s identity, values and culture?

Recruitment professionals like yourself will probably have a set of questions ready for each interview. Do you however ask the questions that help you define the best candidate for the position based on skillset, or do you also consider a candidate’s culture-fit?

Interview questions in general haven’t really evolved. Most questions asked will probably still mention a five-year plan, weaknesses, and maybe some hobbies. You will obviously be able to assess the candidates’ answers, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine getting the answers you are looking for (e.g. creativity, problem solving skills, ambitions) with gaining insights into whether the candidate is in sync with the way your company works?

To give you some inspiration, I have selected some original questions from our customers to help you shape your own.

“Who is your favorite band or artist and why?”
A global brand in sound solutions, which was founded by music lovers for music lovers, asks this question to every candidate they interview. The question aims to uncover a passion for music, which is a must-have for every employee in this company, regardless of what type of music they prefer.

“If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to join you for dinner, who would you invite, and why?”
This major advertising company is looking for candidates with a quick mind, who are creative and are able to think outside the box, as no day is the same in their offices.

 “ Who has made the biggest impact on your career? “
A recruitment agency specialized in developers asks this question to their candidates before they are placed in bigger development teams. Based on the answers, they can now assess more easily which company would be the best fit for their candidates.

“If you could be a payment method, which one would you be and why?”
A payment company asks their candidates this question to assess their creativity level and their understanding of the business and the market the payment provider operates in.

Don’t forget that interviews are a two-way-street and thus also an important way for candidates to decide if they want to work for your company or not. Asking memorable questions that let your brand speak and lead to an interesting discussion is an important part of managing your company’s reputation and candidate experience as well.

A win-win situation if you ask me! Happy Hiring.


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