7 Questions That Determine If a Potential New Hire Fits Your Company’s Culture

Written by on April 4, 2017

Hiring the best people might cost you a little extra.

But hiring the WRONG people can get really expensive, really quickly.

The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that employee turnover can cost a company up to 60% of that person’s salary. Imagine if that’s 60% of a bad sales manager’s salary — or worse, someone in the c-suite.

Shiny resumes, sparkling recommendations, high assessment scores, a bright smile, a firm handshake — all those things are great. But none of that matters if the candidate doesn’t mesh with the culture you’ve built to realize your vision and hit your big goals.

Here are seven questions you can ask a potential hire to determine if he or she will uphold the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors expected and embedded in your company’s culture.

1. What type of culture do you think is the best fit for you?

Compare the candidate’s answer with the culture that drives your workplace. If your office is all open doors and big roundtable discussions, a lone wolf type might kill that collaborative energy. On the other hand, if you expect your employees to complete their tasks independently, a person who works best with direct supervision might slow things down.

2. What does your ideal workplace look like?

A traditional suit-and-tie guy might get frustrated with your casual office vibe. Or a jeans and sneakers millennial might bristle at the corporate dress code that makes the best possible impression on your big clients.

3.  What business values are important to you?

A core value of my company is to Make BIG Happen — big vision, big goals, big growth. Your company should have core values as well. A candidate’s skill set might be a perfect fit for the job, but does the candidate share the value you place on setting and hitting big targets? Does the candidate value five-star customer service like you do? If your company has a built-in charitable mission, does the candidate share that passion? Don’t hire people who want to clock in, hit their required minimums, clock out, and cash your checks. Hire people who share your business values and are working towards SOMETHING, not whatever pays the bills.

4. What do you find attractive about our company?
5. What’s your impression of our culture, and what do you like/dislike about it?
6. What is it about you that you think you could bring to our company that would mesh well with our culture?

CEOs should always be learning, and that includes getting feedback on how your company is perceived, what impressions people in your field have of your culture, how effective your branding is, etc. But what I’m also testing with these three questions is if the candidate just wants to work, or if the candidate wants to work for ME. If the candidate is throwing a bunch of Now Hiring posts at the wall and hoping one sticks, that person is usually an easy cross-off. Ditto someone who seems to have read about my company for the first time the morning of the interview. Hire people who understand your company, who appreciate your culture, offer constructive ideas on improving your culture, and feel that they can contribute.

7. Tell me about a prior work experience where you were not a strong cultural fit. Why was it a bad fit?

While you should be on the lookout for any big red flags, as described above, I also appreciate a candidate who is honest about strengths and weaknesses, who knows what kind of office culture brings out his or her best, and who sounds willing to be accountable for mistakes and achievements. Prior experiences, good and bad, are important, but not as important as what the candidate learned from those experiences. Does the candidate seem doomed to repeat those mistakes, negatively impact my company’s culture, and create future turnaround problems? Or is the candidate now better-positioned to enhance my company and push us closer to my big vision for success?

Get Hiring Right

Yes, hiring top people may cost more–in terms of screening time and compensation. But the impact they have on your company could easily give you a 10x return–every year–on the extra you pay them. The right top performers are worth their weight in gold. Start panning for them now.

About Mark Moses

Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. His firm coaches over 140 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s on how to dramatically grow their revenues and profits, implement the most effective strategies, becoming better leaders, grow their people, build accountability systems, and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.

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