How to recruit for a cultural fit and build a collaborative team

So, you’ve received some high-quality resume submissions for a recent job posting for your company. There’s some great, real-world experience and high-quality education among your diverse pool of candidates. That’s amazing, but now what?

Well, you want to make sure the candidate who’s ultimately chosen fits the company culture and gets along with the team. You want someone who can truly be that missing puzzle piece so that the team is firing on all cylinders, from both a technical- and knowledge-based standpoint, as well as from a ‘do we want to spend 40-plus hours a week with this person?’ standpoint.

Here’s how to recruit for a cultural fit in order to make sure that your team sticks together and works at optimal performance.

Interview for a Cultural Fit

The interview is a good way to sift through an abundance of qualified candidates, dig deeper into their backgrounds, figure out what they’re looking for in an opportunity and get to know them as humans. The questions you ask can be used to pinpoint how they would potentially fit into the culture.

An article in the Harvard Business Review gives a few questions that hone in on the candidates working style, values and personality, and how those will all fit onto the team:

Value-Based Questions:

  • What type of culture do you thrive in?
  • What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal workplace?
  • Why do you want to work here?

Experience-Based Questions:

  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?
  • What best practices would you bring with you from another organisation? Do you see yourself being able to implement these best practices in our environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with/for an organisation where you felt you were not a strong culture fit. Why was it a bad fit?

Based on the person’s responses to these questions, you can gauge whether or not their values and personality can be augmented by working in your company’s culture or not. Before asking these questions, you should have a good sense of the company’s culture. You should also have in mind some certain kinds of answers you’d like to hear from a new hire.

The same article notes that “the result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organisation between 50-60 percent of the person’s annual salary”, and staffing agency Robert Half found that productivity costs can be significant. By making cultural fit a key part of your hiring process you can instead focus on building a rock solid team that thrives.