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Blog 02/01/2020

Candidates must prepare for cultural fit interviews

Candidates must prepare for cultural fit interviews

Long gone are the days when employers looked to hire someone simply on the strength of their qualifications, skills or experience. Today’s recruiting processes dig far deeper. Now, candidates must also expect to be assessed by their cultural fit; whether they can align naturally with the company’s vision and values.

Here, we’ll explain a little more about cultural fit and then present you with ten classic cultural fit interview questions you might face.

 

What do we mean by cultural fit?

While you may be the ideal candidate on paper, will you fit in with the culture of the company you’re hoping to join? For example, if your target employer is known for promoting innovation and teamwork, would you thrive in that sort of environment? If you’re more the type who prefers to work alone, following a set process, then this is likely to be uncovered by cultural fit interview questions.

If, however, that company culture sounds right up your street – and you should research the company in advance - then prepare for the likely cultural fit questions to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Don’t think of telling untruths in the interview, because a good interviewer will spot holes in your story from a mile off.

Some sectors, and some fields within them, demand different types of cultural fit. For example, while marketing is more about dynamics, ideas and teamwork, an IT professional will need to be more methodical in approach – while still being a team player.

Construction is a key driver for innovation and teamwork, while architecture also requires culture creativity, innovation and teamwork. Any candidate shooting for roles in these sectors, like those found on Conrad Consulting, should be prepared to face a grilling on whether their personality, work ethic and vision will make them a standout recruit.

 

Why is cultural fit important?

Getting the mix right is a huge positive for the business as well as the staff. From a business perspective, it means it’s easier to maintain a balance and morale within the team. People tend to stick around longer, and they find it easier to align with and target company goals.

If a company sets its stall out correctly, the cultural fit starts at the very top and goes all the way down the management chain to the newest, most junior recruit. Communications must be crystal clear and regular if everyone is to remain signed up to the vision.

Having a clear vision and “way of doing things” also makes it easier to set goals, including results-focused ones and personal development. And it means reviewing those goals through one-to-ones and performance reviews is more worthwhile.

 

Spot when your interviewer is digging deep

During an interview, always take your time over a considered answer. You might spot an obvious cultural fit question, like some of the ones listed below, but be prepared for subtle follow-ups to spot if you truly believe what you’re saying – or if you’re second-guessing what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

Further, if you’re attending the workplace for your interview, note that assessments do not begin and end in the four walls of the HR office. Rather, the way you interact with the receptionist, how you greet the interviewer, how you interact with staff members during an office tour – all of these things can be used to see what you’re really like, and how you’re likely to fit in.

 

10 classic cultural fit questions to rehearse

Every recruiter has their methods and favourite questions, but if they are probing you for the right cultural fit, the chances are they’ll lob one or two questions from this list. Study them, prepare answers, and speak honestly. Doing so will improve your chances of success – and set your new career off to the best possible start.

 

1 When you get up in the morning, what makes you excited by the prospect of coming into work?

2 What sort of work environment allows you to be most productive and content in your role?

3 If I were to speak with your previous colleagues, how would they describe your role in team efforts?

4 And what would those same people say about your working style and how you contributed to office life?

5 Tell me about a time when you felt you did not fit in with the working culture. Why was that, do you think? And what did you do about it?

6 How important is empathy and humour in the modern workplace?

7 Thinking about working with other people, what is your preferred relationship with them?

8 What do you think the biggest problem is in most offices today?

9 Thinking about your managers, what sort of management style do you prefer them to have? What can a boss do better to make you happy in your work?

10 Can you describe what a good company culture looks like to you?

 

Now we can see that interviews are not simply based on what's "on paper"- but actually, they're interested in how you'll get on with the team.

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