Earlier this year, we wrote about how defining company culture means examining employees, identifying a mission, experiencing the work environment, reviewing compensation, and studying your customers. The next step to take is to apply this same respect for the issue during the interviewing process.

Is this a good cultural fit?
Whether your company uses in-house HR, recruiting firm, or a staffing company to handle the hiring process, it’s important to make sure the candidate you hire fits your company culture. You know that old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” But often when interviewing job candidates, we’re more likely to hire the one with more experience and an impressive résumé than the one who best fits the company’s culture.

That, in part, is why we’re seeing an increase in employee turnover. It is also a sign that we’re having a hard time engaging employees. Sometimes the issue isn’t leadership, but rather those particular employees don’t fit the culture of the company.

How to determine if the candidate fits
Character. Language. Values. Beliefs. Outlook. Does the person embody what the company stands for? A company’s core values can have more impact on the internal culture than a specific mission statement. If the company wants to be direct yet personable, the candidate needs to exuberate those characteristics by having great communication skills. If a company values its production overall, then the candidate doesn’t have to have great soft skills but needs to be driven and work oriented. These are items that need to be brought up in the interview.

Present the company’s core values to the candidate and ask how the candidate fits in. Since most individuals will say anything to simply be hired, ask the candidate which parts he or she struggles with. Honesty and communication should be in every office culture, so seeing how the person reacts and handles themselves will provide great insight into whether or not it’s a good fit.

The candidate outside the résumé
Another way to see if a person will fit with your team is to have them meet other employees. Sometimes interviewees are nervous and find themselves acting different in the hiring process. But if you provide time for the person to interact with other employees without management around, you may find them loosening up. Obviously, they may still be “on,” but at least you can find out how they would fit with your other team members.

Understanding the importance of cultural fit is the first step in creating a long-lasting foundation for success. When interviewing a person for a position, ask yourself how this person would fit in with your team, what role he or she will play, and will this person help us reach our company goals? The hardest thing is to define your company’s culture, the easiest thing is to hire someone who doesn’t fit in it.

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