Cultural fit deals with how you fit in with the culture of an organisation you wish to work for: the characteristics, language, and values that exist within the organisation's culture. You want candidates whose values, beliefs, outlook and behaviour fit in with your organisational culture. An employee who is a good cultural fit will work well within the environment of the company. Organizations seeking to achieve high performance from their staff are increasingly turning towards cultural fit as part of their recruitment methods. 

One purpose of a job interview is to enable the interviewer to assess the potential cultural fit of a candidate. In a behavioural interview how a candidate has approached a variety of work situations in the past tells you whether the candidate's style and behaviour fits well with the style used successfully in your organization.

For example, an employee who works well in a team should work well in an organisation that stresses team work. Someone who likes to work alone may not fit in.

A survey by Allen Associates has found that cultural fit more important to recruiters than skills. 47% of HR managers in the survey said that fitting with existing culture and teams was their top criteria when hiring whereas only 27% thought that experience was most important and 26% thought skills and qualifications were as important. Skills and experience can often be acquired or enhanced through training whereas personal attributes are much harder to change.

An employee who likes to be told what to do will struggle in a company that stresses staff empowerment and personal accountability.

A manager with an authoritarian style will not lead successfully in a company with a relaxed management style. 

An organisation's culture is made up of all of the life experiences each employee brings to the organization. Culture is especially influenced by the organisation's senior managers staff because of their role in decision making and strategic direction.

A typical question in a cultural fit test is

Pick only one of the following:
I always do my best to inspire others
I ensure I have 100% percent information before taking risks.

Some cultural-fit assessments allow the candidate to assess their own suitability and then self-select in or out, whereas others have a formal cut off score that only allows the higher scoring candidates to go to the next stage. Specific feedback can be given to the candidate about where they match the culture and where they don't.

Most company job advertisements and company careers web pages contain information about the values of the company and the positive and negative things an employee must face. Reading this materail can help candidates to decide if the company and role is right for them. 

Interview questions to assess cultural fit

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