How to Identify The Cultural Fit of a Candidate

Research has shown that the cultural fit between a staff member and the company is a key factor of individual and organisational success. Yet, you may be surprised to hear that according to the DDI Australia study only ‘36% of respondents indicated their organisations always recruit for cultural fit’. It appears that there is some barrier in place which is preventing firms from assessing cultural fit. In this article we provide some clear advice on how you can identify cultural fit within prospective employees.

How to Identify The Cultural Fit of a Candidate


Before you can identify cultural fit in a prospective employee you need to understand what your company culture or value proposition is. You should develop a Values and Culture Statement, which explains to candidates and employees exactly how you expect people to behave and conduct themselves in your business. Once you have this statement you can begin to screen people against it to see if they fit the culture of your business.

If you need inspiration for your Culture Statement, look on the web as there are many good examples. Two examples of culture and values statements are included below:
Radio Shack Value Statement

“For consumers who value an expert’s opinion, and are seeking store clerks who can be trusted to recommend the right product solutions for any type of electronics question, Radio Shack offers helpful personnel who are trained to match consumer needs with thousands of items in the Radio Shack product line, so every consumer can buy with confidence and an assurance of satisfaction.”Google Culture Statement

“We strive to maintain the open culture often associated with startups, in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. In our weekly all-hands (“TGIF”) meetings—not to mention over email or in the cafe—Googlers ask questions directly to Larry, Sergey and other execs about any number of company issues. Our offices and cafes are designed to encourage interactions between Googlers within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as well as play.”Once you have developed a clear understanding of your corporate culture you can ensure that this is clearly communicated when the job is advertised and during the interview process. This will mean that you organisation will be more likely to attract like minded people in the first place.
During the interview process you should use techniques which enable candidates to actually experience the culture and where you can observe how well they socially interact in the culture. For example, you should always try and do an office tour, where interviewees get to experience the facility and interact with staff.

You can also make use of ‘Realistic job Previews’ where promising candidates get to experience both the positive and negative aspects of the role. The Realistic job Preview can be delivered in a range of formats such as brochures, videos or interactive web-based media. Typically, a Realistic job Preview should contain the following: the rewarding and challenging aspects of the jobs, a typical day on the job, pay and benefit realities and unique factors such as unusual work schedules of physical demands. The Realistic job Preview should be presented to the candidate as early as possible in the process, which means candidates can self-select themselves out of the recruitment process if they don’t feel they themselves are a good cultural fit, saving your business time.

Another good way to assess cultural fit is to use a Personality Assessment tool, to ascertain whether the interviewee’s personality matches that of the ideal job holder. In order to do this effectively, you firstly need to conduct a personality assessment on the highest performing job holders in your business. This will tell you which personal qualities the ideal job holder should have. You can then compare your interviewee’s personality tests results with your organisational norm to see if they are a good cultural fit

Another important method of assessing cultural fit is by including behavioural questions into the structured interview. Behavioural questions require candidates to answer questions using specific examples of how they have behaved in previous work-place scenarios. These kind of questions will give you excellent insight into their preferred behavioural styles in a variety of situations and will enable you to assess how well the candidate match your firm’s preferred styles of behaviour.