Tips to Determine Cultural Fit

There is a big difference between an employee who can fill a role, and an employee who can make a meaningful contribution. The one that fills the role has the necessary skills, but the one that contributes has those skills and also shares the values and goals of your company. In short, they reflect your company culture.

Hiring based on culture fit is essential, but also notoriously difficult and uncertain. Determining someone’s culture fit takes careful evaluation and close analysis, and often requires looking beyond the cover letter and resume. Here are some tips to make culture fit a bigger part of your hiring decisions:

Define Your Own Culture

Many companies have only a vague definition of their own culture. That obviously makes it difficult to find a candidate who will quickly adapt and thrive in the existing environment. Put together a team and make a formal effort to describe your culture in clear and non-contradictory terms.

Focus on the Negatives

During the interview, ask “What is the worst workplace environment you’ve ever worked in? and Why?” Focusing on the negatives is often more revealing than focusing on the positives because the positives tend to be vague and general.

Be a Skeptic

Job seekers are naturally tempted to tell you what you want to hear. That’s why it’s imperative to take any response with a grain of salt, and cross reference any information you get with something from the candidate’s past. For instance, if they say they are dedicated to teamwork but have spent most of their career working independently, you deserve to be suspicious of their sincerity.

Use a Test

Tests have been developed that use a series of abstract and unexpected questions to help you glean psychological insights about a candidate. These tests shouldn’t be your only tool for evaluating culture fit, but if administered at the beginning of your recruitment process in an online format, they can help you shrink down large candidate pools.

Hold an Alternative Interview

The formal setting of a traditional job interview is not always the best place to get an accurate portrait of a candidate’s true self. Consider using an alternative, like going out for lunch, taking a walk, putting together an interesting panel of interviewers, or giving a candidate a project/task to complete. A little creativity goes a long way.


Want to work with a company that values culture fit so much they’ve put it right in the name? Contact the specialized staffing experts at CultureFit today.