‘Cultural fit’ has been the elephant in the room for quite some time when it comes to the matter of putting the right talents in the right roles. And as we start 2023, one critical part of today's recruitment trends is culture building.
As hybrid work becomes the norm, companies must figure out the approach to strengthen their core pillars while their workforce operates remotely. At the same time, the work-life balance concept has turned into a work-life integration where the 9-to-5 work model is turned into a more fluid schedule to support the demand and the lifestyle of the workforce today.
For recruiters and employers, building a foundation for a strong company culture has never been this vital. As it ensures a high retention rate, it also reflects on the decision-making factor for candidates and helps employers weed out those who are likely not to fit in with their organization.
The integration of assessment questions into the recruitment process can help you make sure that only the most culturally fit talents are walking into your front door. But what questions do you need to ask?
To help you get ready for new recruitment trends and be on top of the company culture game, let’s take a look into the definition of company culture, what cultural fit is, and 20 questions you should ask to assess the candidates.
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Company culture is a set of values and practices that are shared within an organization. It is the way things are done within a company and can be both internal and external, affecting both staff and the public image of the company. A strong company culture can be a powerful tool in attracting and retaining talent, as it creates employee engagement and motivation for staff members to work at their full capacity. It also helps to create a sense of value among staff members and leads to high talent retention rates.
Cultural fit, on the other hand, is the likelihood that a candidate will be able to fit in and adapt to the core values, practices, and traditions of a certain company. It is important because it indicates that the person will be long-lasting in the position or company and helps to avoid the high turnover of staff. Cultural fit screens potential candidates based on the alignment of beliefs and behaviors between candidates and the employer.
So, how do you assess cultural fit during the recruitment process? One of the best ways is to include assessment questions in your interview process. Here are 20 questions to assess cultural fit:
A productive work environment is one that is conducive to getting work done efficiently and effectively. When you ask candidates about their ideal productive work environment, you can learn a lot about how they work and what they need to be successful in their job.
Following are the answers that recruiters are likely to receive from candidates.
This question would provide you an insight into candidates’ leadership styles and values.
The qualities they describe may also reveal their personal beliefs, career goals, and what they feel would work best for the organization they are joining or if they are looking for specific qualities they felt they were missing in the past.
Here are some characteristics of an ideal leader that candidates are looking for:
Visionary: Leaders who have a clear vision of where they want to take their team and are able to communicate that vision in a compelling and inspiring way.
Strategic thinkers: Leaders who have a good understanding of the industry and market, as well as able to develop strategies to achieve their goals.
Supportive: They are supportive and provide their team members with the resources and opportunities they need to be successful in their roles.
Asking candidates about how they handle conflict within a team can give you insight into their conflict management style and ability to navigate difficult situations.
If a candidate mentions that they prefer to address conflicts head-on and as soon as they arise, it may indicate that they value direct communication and timely resolution of issues. If a candidate says that they try to understand the perspectives of all parties involved, it may suggest that they are able to see things from multiple perspectives and are skilled at mediating disputes.
If the candidate has examples of conflicts that they had to handle in the past, it's a good way to assess their ability to reflect on their actions and the outcomes. You can also ask them about the specific steps they took to resolve the conflict and what they learned from the experience.
If the candidate says that they avoid conflicts or have difficulties dealing with them, it could be an indication that they might struggle to effectively handle conflicts that inevitably arise within any team environment. Also, you can ask them how they plan to improve in this area if they recognize they have this weakness.
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Asking candidates to give examples of how they have adapted to new company culture in the past will provide you insight into their ability to adapt to new environments, their cultural intelligence, and their communication skills.
If a candidate is able to give a clear and specific example of a time when they had to adapt to a new culture in the workplace, it may indicate that they have previous experience in a cross-cultural setting and that they understand the challenges and opportunities that come with it. They could mention specific steps they took to adapt, such as learning about the new culture, building relationships with coworkers, or seeking out mentors or resources that could help them understand the new culture.
The answer to this question will give recruiters insight into candidates’ organization, time management, and decision-making skills. If a candidate is able to give a clear and specific answer that includes concrete techniques they use to prioritize tasks, such as making to-do lists, using calendar and reminder apps, or using the Eisenhower matrix, it may indicate that they have effective time management skills and are able to stay on top of their responsibilities.
Additionally, if a candidate mentions using tools like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, or other project management software, it may suggest that they are comfortable using technology to manage their tasks and have an understanding of how to leverage technology to improve efficiency.
If a candidate mentions that they consult with their managers or colleagues to ensure that their tasks are aligned with the priorities of the team or company, it suggests that they have a good understanding of the importance of communication, teamwork, and alignment with company goals.
This question would lead recruiters to examples of candidates' initiative, resourcefulness, and determination. These are important qualities for many roles, particularly for positions that require employees to take on extra responsibility or to think creatively to solve problems.
Recruiters can also gain insight into candidates' work ethic, ability to handle pressure, and ability to think strategically. Candidates who are able to provide a clear and specific example of a time when they went above and beyond for a project or task may indicate that they are able to take the initiative and find solutions when faced with challenges. They may also be more likely to be proactive and work harder when required.
Meanwhile, it is also an opportunity to assess how the candidate approaches problem-solving, how they managed the extra workload, how they communicated the extra effort to their team and stakeholders, and if there was any particular reason for going above and beyond. This can give recruiters an idea of the candidate's decision-making abilities, as well as their ability to work independently and manage their time effectively.
By asking candidates how they approach giving and receiving feedback, you’ll have insight into candidates’ communication skills, emotional intelligence, and ability to handle constructive criticism.
If a candidate mentions that they proactively seek out feedback, it suggests that they are open to learning and improving. Additionally, if a candidate emphasizes the importance of clear and direct communication when giving feedback, it may indicate that they are able to provide specific, actionable feedback that can help others improve. On the other hand, if they mention they are actively looking for feedback that aligns with their personal or professional goals, it could suggest they have a clear understanding of their own development areas.
If a candidate is able to provide specific examples of how they've received and acted on feedback in the past, it suggests that they are capable of learning from others and able to apply feedback to improve.
When receiving feedback, the candidate's attitude and ability to stay calm, composed, and professional can also be telling. If a candidate mentions that they strive to stay open-minded and not take feedback personally, it may indicate that they have high emotional intelligence and are able to handle constructive criticism. On the other hand, if a candidate tends to get defensive or emotionally charged when receiving feedback, it may suggest that they have difficulty handling criticism or have low emotional intelligence.
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Here, recruiters will get an insight into candidates’ problem-solving skills, ability to think critically and independently, and willingness to speak up and advocate for new ideas or solutions.
It can also indicate their level of experience in challenging the status quo and, in general, how comfortable they are working in an environment where questioning the current way of doing things is encouraged.
Furthermore, it would also give a sense of how they approached this situation, how they managed the conflict, and what was the outcome of that situation
By asking candidates this question, recruiters will be able to look into their coping mechanisms, resilience, and ability to perform well under difficult circumstances. It can also indicate how they prioritize and manage their workload, as well as their ability to stay focused and productive when facing tight deadlines or challenging tasks.
An answer might include specific examples of how they have handled stress and pressure in past work experiences, such as how they break down large projects into manageable tasks, how they communicate with team members or managers when feeling overwhelmed, or what techniques they use to relax and de-stress.
When recruiters ask candidates about how they ensure that they are continuously learning and developing in their role, they can gain insight into the candidate's motivation for personal and professional growth, their willingness to invest time and effort in improving their skills, and their ability to identify areas for improvement and take action to address them.
An answer to this question may include examples of specific techniques or methods the candidate uses to stay informed and up-to-date in their field, such as attending conferences or workshops, seeking out mentorship or coaching, or taking online courses.
Additionally, it can show how the candidate approaches their own professional development and what they have done in the past to improve themselves.
It can also indicate if they have a growth mindset, if they are curious, open to feedback, and willing to take on new responsibilities, which are valuable traits for an employee to have.
Approaching candidates with this question, recruiters will be provided with insight into candidates’ experience and ability to work effectively in a remote environment, as well as their communication and collaboration skills.
It also allows the recruiters to gauge their understanding of the challenges and opportunities that come with remote work and how they have handled it in the past.
An answer to this question might include specific examples of how the candidate communicated and collaborated with team members remotely, what tools and technologies they used, how they overcame any challenges that arose, and what the outcome of the project or task was.
Additionally, it can show the candidate's level of adaptability, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities in a remote setting. Furthermore, it can indicate their experience working in a remote team, their ability to manage and balance their own work, and if they have the necessary tools and resources to work remotely.
When recruiters ask candidates about how they handle difficult conversations or conflicts with colleagues or managers, they can gain insight into the candidate's ability to communicate effectively and assertively, as well as their problem-solving skills and ability to maintain professional relationships.
It also allows the recruiters to gauge their understanding of the potential challenges that may arise in the workplace and how they have handled it in the past.
An answer to this question might include examples of specific strategies or techniques the candidate has used in the past to address difficult conversations or conflicts, such as active listening, staying calm and composed, setting clear boundaries, and seeking out help when necessary.
It can also indicate the candidate's understanding of the importance of communication and how to handle conflicts in a professional and productive way.
In this instance, you will have insight into the candidate's ability to take the initiative, take ownership, and lead projects or tasks, and their problem-solving skills. It can also indicate the candidate's level of experience in taking ownership and leading projects, as well as their understanding of the different stages of a project and the responsibilities that come with it.
An answer to this question might include specific examples of how the candidate identified a need or opportunity, developed and implemented a plan, and managed the progress and outcome of a project or task. It can also show the candidate's ability to set goals, prioritize, and make decisions, as well as their ability to handle challenges and adapt to changes.
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Recruiters may ask candidates about how they handle criticism or negative feedback in the workplace as a way to gauge their emotional intelligence and resilience. The ability to receive and respond to feedback is an important skill in any professional setting, as it allows individuals to continuously improve and adapt to changes.
Additionally, recruiters may be interested in understanding how a candidate handles conflict or difficult conversations, as well as their ability to maintain a positive attitude and work well with others despite challenges.
When asking a candidate to describe a time when they had to work with a team from a different cultural background, a recruiter may be looking to assess a number of different skills and characteristics.
First, the recruiter may be interested in understanding how the candidate handles diversity and inclusion. This could include the candidate's ability to work effectively with people from different backgrounds, their willingness to embrace different perspectives and ideas, and their understanding of cultural sensitivities.
Additionally, the recruiter may be interested in understanding the candidate's experience with and understanding of cross-cultural communication. This could include the candidate's ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with team members from different cultural backgrounds, as well as their ability to navigate any language barriers or cultural differences that may arise.
Above are questions designed to evaluate whether a candidate can work in a specific environment or with a certain leadership style. They also help to assess a candidate's adaptability, ability to handle conflict, and approach to feedback, among other things.
However, sometimes you need more than a set of questions to ensure the perfect fit candidates for your company culture.
Help from a digital tool such as a robust Applicant Tracking System can go a long way. Not only does a tool like the ATS help you run a candidate assessment seamlessly by taking the redundant tasks out of your hands, but its innovative features also allow you to make a more precise decision.
How? An intelligent solution like Manatal - now serving customers in more than 130 countries - comes with an AI Recommendation feature that scans through job descriptions and extracts the core skills and requirements needed for the position. Results are then cross-referenced with your talent pool to identify candidates who are likely to fit the position the most.
Moreover, you will be able to learn about candidates beyond their CVs with Manatal’s Social Media Enrichment feature, which browses through the web and migrates candidates' data from their available online profiles into a single platform, helping you make a better decision when it comes to who the right fit for your company culture is.
Start your 14-day Free Trial to explore our innovative features and find out how Manatal can improve your hybrid work.