How to Match Your Candidate with Your Company Culture

How to Match Your Candidate with Your Company Culture

Think about a time you were interviewing a candidate that checked off most, if not all, the skill boxes you had in mind. But you weren’t sure how they would fit in with the company culture. You ask yourself: How do I know if this person will be the right fit for the Team? When coaching my hiring managers I always suggest three things: Define, Ask, and Assess.

Define Your Culture

Too many times managers think they know what soft skills they want in an employee, but after hiring the person, are sorely disappointed with how much the employee does not fit the established culture. The first step is to define your culture. Meet with your team. Ask for feedback and suggestions on which soft skills are important in their environment. Once the essential characteristics are defined, write them down and agree on a definition. For example, someone having “initiative” might mean something different for you than it does for your team. Managers who do this are more successful in choosing the right person.

Ask the Right Questions

After defining the culture, it’s now time to decide the best 5-6 soft skills wanted in a candidate. Develop 2-3 interview questions based on those soft skills to help identify a candidate’s behavior, in hopes it matches this defined culture. Finally, create a list of criteria to rate the answer given on a scale of 1-5. By the end of the interview a comprehensive score is available for each candidate to determine who the best fit is.


Definition of initiative: shows willingness to get things done and take responsibility.

Interview Question: Describe a time when you went above and beyond.

5 – Candidate was able to give a specific example, what action they took, and express the end result

3 – Candidate could provide an example, but was unable to tie the actions back to the desired result

1 – Answered in generalities and didn’t provide much substance

By taking this approach, you are able to make a more objective decision on which candidate has the skills and is a good culture fit.

Have Your Team Assess

The success of any project requires the help and cooperation of all team members. Including the team in the interview process will provide a hiring manager with the opinions of those they already work with on a daily basis. Further, the team can provide vital information for culture fit, like whether the candidate is a team player or lone wolf. In the end the decision will be left to the hiring manager. If a manager hires someone that doesn’t fit the team, it could be detrimental to the culture of the team, department, and possibly the company for years to come. Therefore, leveraging the input of the team can help provide crucial insight on a candidate.

Ultimately, hiring is not an exact science. You will make mistakes and you will have some wins.

Determine the essential soft skills that you would like to see, ask the right questions, and consult your team to ensure the success of not only the department, but also the company as a whole.

About the Author

Jeremy’s commitment to finding the right candidate and “turning over every rock” is second to none. His 13 years of HR and Recruiting experience, has helped him become a true champion in assisting you with your accounting and finance, human resources and sales needs.

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