8 Interview Questions You Can Ask To Assess A Candidate For Company Culture Fit

When you have vacancies at your company and the time has come to do a recruitment drive, you obviously want to make sure you are hiring the right people for the job.

When graduates, students and school leavers are applying for your jobs, whilst qualifications, transferable skills and (if any) experience are important in helping you to make a decision, these are not the only points that are going to determine whether you are recruiting the right person to your company.  

If you want to boost your staff retention and avoid a quick repeat of your recruitment process because your previous recruit didn’t work out, then you need to make sure they are a good fit for your company. 

Will your new recruits fit in well with the culture of your company? If they do, then this will help them to succeed and develop their careers whilst also helping to drive your company forward. 

Know Your Company Culture

We have written about culture fit in the past and identifying the culture of your company. Work with your staff to identify what they – and you – think is the culture of your company.

Once you have done this, you can give young people ideas as to the culture via a well written job ad. 

This will give you a head start in targeting the types of young people you are looking for because the people you are targeting should be attracted to the post from what you write and how you write it. 

Then, once you narrow down the pool of applicants and invite people for an interview, you can use your interview questions to try and identify which applicants will be the best fit for your role. 

But What About Diversity?

We have addressed inclusivity and diversity at length on this blog and discussed the benefits for your company if you have a diverse workplace. 

So how does culture fit, fit in with diversity?

Interviewing someone to see if they will be a good fit for the culture of your company is not about employing clones of yourself or the rest of your team of staff. 

Culture fit is not about thinking, “Oh, this person works the same way as I do so they will fit in with the culture of the company because everything will stay the same. The boat won’t be rocked.”

Culture fit is not about thinking you will get along with this person because they like the same music as yourself or the same sports team. 

You might feel drawn to these types of young people because of your unconscious bias but liking the same things and feeling you could become friends with this person in the future is not about culture fit. 

Diversity in the workplace can help to drive your company forward and targeting young people can help to bring new ideas and new ways of thinking to your workplace. A diverse workforce can still fit in with company culture. 

Your interview questions should be asked in such a way that your candidates’ answers can help you to decide whether or not they will work well in your company. They share your company values but they might have a completely different approach to work and problem solving than yourself. This can still be a good culture fit. 

Let’s take a look at some interview questions to consider so that you can decide whether young candidates would fit in well with the culture of your company. 

Interview Questions To Assess A Candidate For Company Culture Fit

How would your co-workers / friends / fellow students describe you?

If the young person you are interviewing already has a job or has had some work experience, you can ask them how they think they would be viewed by coworkers. 

Some young people have no work experience to draw from so ask them about how their friends would describe them. If they are on a sports team or have worked on a team proıject at university, ask them how their team mates or fellow students would describe them. 

What do you think your co-workers / friends would like you to do more or less of?

Is your candidate aware of their own traits? Are they aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and areas that they need to work on? 

Are they already working to remedy something that a colleague or friend has pointed out to them about how they acted in a certain situation? 

Have they got an example of a challenge that was overcome? Where the method of overcoming that challenge really impressed coworkers / management / teammates or friends? 

And how would that fit in with the culture of your company? 

Do you think workmates can be good friends both in and out of the workplace?

Whatever your company culture, you can use this question to find out whether or not your young candidates think it is a good idea to mix business with pleasure and socialising. 

Do they think it’s okay to have close friends or do they think workmates and friendship are two different things? 

What role do you think you play when you are working on a team project?

How does your candidate view teamwork? Are they good at communicating with others? 

Are they someone who likes to put ideas forward or do they sit back and listen to other ideas? 

Do they take on a leadership role and are they happy to be led if they like the solution offered by someone else?

Are they able to work as part of a team and also work under their own initiative whilst contributing to that team effort?

Again, young people might not have work experience to use as examples so they can be asked about school or university projects, sports activities or times they have had to work with family or friends to overcome a challenge. 

What are you hoping for from management or team leaders at this company?

This question can help you to get an idea of what your younger applicants are looking for from the leadership team at your company.

Are they looking for training and development? Do they need lots of guidance or to work within a given structure? 

Are they someone who is looking for a management team that will trust them and give them the opportunity to make decisions and work under their own initiative? Do they want a mentor or to be paired with a buddy to help them settle in.

Should management be friendly, hands on and part of the team or do they think management should be a separate entity within the company?

What are the things that really motivate you?

Whilst asking someone what motivates them may seem like a broad question, it can give you a really good idea about the young person you are interviewing and whether or not you think they will be a valuable addition to your existing team of staff. 

You can ascertain whether or not your candidate has the same values as that of your company. 

It can also give you an idea as to whether or not the candidate is suitable for the role they have applied for. 

If they are motivated by community work and helping others face to face, for example, but the role you have on offer is in a call centre where most communication is done over the phone, is your candidate going to get job satisfaction from that role? And if the answer is no, then they are likely to be looking for a new job soon after they have started. 

How do you feel about flexible working schedules?

This question can give you a good idea about how your young candidates are viewing their work patterns with your company. 

How do they feel about working from home, occasionally, for example. Do they feel more productive and motivated when they are working from home or do they prefer to be in a dedicated work space, with colleagues?

Even if your candidates have little or no work experience, they might be able to draw on experiences from  the pandemic when they need to stay home. 

For some roles, candidates might be required to travel and stay overnight, or longer, away from home. 

On the flip side of the coin, the role you are offering might be fixed hours and staff might need to be in the workplace at all times. 

Is this something that would really attract and motivate your candidate or are they someone who is going to benefit from a workplace that can offer flexibility on environment and hours. 

How much value do you put on salary in your career?

With this question, you can assess whether your young candidates will be a good culture fit for your company. 

We have written in the past about how, these days, Generation Z are looking for more job security and career development and often place these at a higher level of importance than the salary they can earn.

If you are an  SME, for example, who might not be able to compete with larger corporations when it comes to salary, you can assess whether or not the person you are interviewing is interested in the community work you do or your other company values and the staff development and job security you can offer. 

Advertise With e4s

These are just a few of the questions you could ask to young candidates in interview to assess whether or not they will be a good fit for your company.

If you have vacancies you would like to fill – graduate roles, Apprenticeships or part time and seasonal student jobs, target your relevant audience by placing your job ad with e4s.