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Every company wants to hire people that fit the established culture and are a true cultural fit.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.  Obviously, going through the interview process, reviewing a resume, consulting a background check, and checking references are all a part of what establishes whether or not the person is a fit.

If an employee is not a cultural fit, it can prove to be problematic not only for the company but also for the new employee.  They may realize they are not a fit, but a jobs a job and a paycheck is a paycheck.  So they may stick it out, and if they can hide it enough, they will make it through until something better comes along.  But it does the company no good.  Even if it’s not a glaring cultural mis-fit, the lack of interest or dedication to the job will hurt everyone in the long run.

Then there are those who interview and it’s recognized after going through all the interview motions that the person just is not going to fit the culture that they will be a part of.  At least at this point the HR department can re-circle the wagons, and either look at other candidates or start the process all over again, depending on how far the process go to find the best candidate with the best cultural fit.

What do HR professionals and hiring managers look for to ensure that the people chosen for a position will be a cultural fit within the company?  What are the things that they look for?  Here are the thoughts from some business professionals on the topic of cultural fit. 

“Great companies are made of two things, people and culture. When you hire the wrong people, you’re doing a dissatisfaction to yourself and your company. In the past, I’d always err on hiring for skill rather than fit, with all things equal and that was a big mistake. Today, I’ll hire for fit and train for skills. As someone once told me, if you want a happy, smiley culture, then hire happy, smiley people to start. We even share our values in our job descriptions to ensure that candidates resonate with them before they even apply.” – David Niu, CEO, TINYpulse

“When we hire someone, there’s a culture portion to the interview. We want to learn about the person, their beliefs, and how they help people in their past positions as well as their personal lives. It’s incredibly important to our culture, and anyone we hire usually believes in that.”  – Taylor Aldredge, Ambassador of Buzz, Grasshopper

“There are three things that we do check for cultural fit when interviewing candidates. First, we ask candidates to explain their short term career objectives to us in writing. Aligning with our business is important to us and we look for people who want to learn. People who are fixers are not a fit. Second, we have candidates sit with several members of the team that they’ll be a part of. If they can’t sit in a room and engage in an enjoyable conversation about work and life with people they’ll be working with, we will pass.” – Joseph Rosenbaum, HR, Argyle Executive Forum

“To ensure that the people hired fit company culture, it is crucial that we are able to meet new employees in person. We do not limit interviews to over the phone or through Skype, but instead encourage them to come to our office so we can see how they meld with our culture. We introduce them to all of our team members and try to make an initial relationship. We look for individuals that express the same values and have similar outlooks on life.” – Anne St. Hilaire, Marketing/PR Coordinator, Recruiter.com

“Our team uses an internal “Interview Question database” to help us identify key questions that we will ask our candidates. Prior to interviewing prospective candidates, we have a few team members meet ahead of time to discuss key personality traits and qualities that a person would need to have to succeed in the position they are interviewing for. Then, we select questions that are related to those qualities but that are also aligned with our company culture. These questions, which are often behavioral in nature, really help us to identify positive indicators and warning signs among potential hires.” – Chris Costello, Principal and Founder, CBG Benefits

“During the interview process, I like to ask questions like, “What is the biggest misrepresentation people have of you?” “What kind of an environment do you like working in?” “Describe a project that you worked on with a team and how did you all complete it together?” I also like to ask why they are interested in my company to see if they list our culture as one of the reasons. When the candidate comes into our office for an in person interview, I like to introduce them to other employees. Last but not least, I always glance over the individual’s social media pages to try to get a feel for their personality and hobbies outside of work.” – Amanda Cohen, Marketing Manager, Homescout Realty

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