Still asking yourself how to assess Cultural Fit?

Published on 28-04-2017

There is no doubt about the importance of matching employer with candidates but how to assess Cultural Fit? Several studies prove the concept of Cultural Fit based strategies. Among others, Allen Associates, and Oxford based recruitment consultancy, carried out a survey and out of 122 Oxfordshire based HR decision makers 48% identified fitting with existing culture and teams as their number one criteria when it comes to hiring. Matching values, drivers and personal needs outweigh professional fit – but how do you guarantee a good match?

How to assess Cultural Fit in job interviews

The purpose of job interviews is to get to know the applicant and identify strengths and weaknesses in professional and personal skill sets. Furthermore, hiring managers invite candidates to job interviews to assess their Cultural Fit with the company. Job seekers however would like to match with organisations during their orientation phase, at which time no contact with the hiring company has been established yet. Most candidates stay anonymous during this phase of the job search. Questions that help to assess Cultural Fit become somewhat redundant as they don’t reach the candidate. These could include topics such as:

  • management style
  • ability to work in a team vs working alone / independently
  • leadership style
  • factors in work environment that have an impact on productivity
  • relationship to colleagues

Outdated approach in assessing Cultural Fit

Hiring managers still expose applicants to whether-or-statements that are supposed to help to assess Cultural Fit.

Example

“I always do my best to inspire others”

or

“I ensure I have 100% information before taking risks”

The interviewee is supposed to choose between statements. Many HR experts suggest certain questions could help to assess Cultural Fit in an job interview and find answers to the interviewee’s values, drivers and preferred working environment.

A selection of these questions:  Assess Cultural Fit

  1. “What type of culture do you thrive in?”
  2. “What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal workplace?”
  3. “Do you prefer working alone?”
  4. “What role are you most likely to play in a team? Give an example.

The idea behind these questions is to derive information on how the applicant would behave in situations which repeatedly occur in corporate life. For example, an employee who would want to be told what to do will not fare well in an organisation that promotes empowering employees and personal accountability. Based on the answers given hiring managers are able to assess the match with the organisational culture.

A more scientific approach is to use assessment methods such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which is an established and renowned test used in recruiting. However, it is quite extensive and can result in a lengthy costly hiring procedure which predominantly focuses on the personal characteristics of candidates. These methods often neglect the actual match with the company culture.

Cultural Fit requires honesty

The above assessment types are supposed to help the recruiter go beyond the candidate’s CV and figure out what the candidate is really passionate about. It is asking the candidate to be honest and think deeply about responses though. Often candidates rehearse and prepare this type of questions beforehand which could result in answers hiring managers may want to hear but do not reflect the true values and ambitions.

Remaining anonymous whilst assessing Cultural Fit can help both company and job seeker. Online matching technologies can help to guarantee anonymity unless the job seeker is happy for the results to be shared with the company ahead of the job interview

Missing link to company culture

Behavioural interview questions and scenario based questions to assess Cultural Fit may have worked for years but in times of algorithms, data driven recruitment and people analytics these approaches become somewhat outdated and inaccurate. Experienced recruiters may be able to get the right impression of the applicant and assess Cultural Fit properly but matching employers with candidates should no longer be based on gut feeling. It should be measured and assessed, as such it becomes more tangible. Matching technologies can help make the final decision based on facts and figures relevant to the company. The hiring process becomes more scientific data based and guides hiring managers to assess Cultural Fit between job seeker and company.

Interactive candidate experience

The CompanyMatch widget can be easily integrated into career sites and encourages candidates to connect with the company and retrieve more detailed information about the actual organisational culture and in particular the employer brand. Going beyond the orientation phase, the matching tool can be integrated into the recruiting software of companies via an API. It allows recruiters to get a better picture of the applicant by reviewing the CV, motivational letter AND match with the company, therefore enabling them to assess whether or not the applicant would fit the organisation.

CompanyMatch at a glance: Demo Video and additional information about Cultural Fit (Whitepaper) below