Assessing the Right Company for You

  1. Top 10 Things You Should Look For In a Company | Career Advice & Interview Tips | WayUp Guide
  2. 1. Do the company’s values align with yours?
  3. 2. Does the company culture fit your personality?
  4. 3. Are the team members people you’d love to work with?
  5. 4. Will you be offered opportunities to learn?
  6. 5. Is there room for growth within the company?
  7. 6. Will your managers make you feel appreciated?
  8. 7. Does the company offer security and stability?
  9. 8. Does the company set you up for success?
  10. 9. Will your role teach your transferrable skills?
  11. 10. Will you be challenged in a positive way?
  12. 5 Ways to Determine if a Company Is Right For You
  13. 1. Check Out the Job Description: Where Are You in This Picture?
  14. 2. Pay Attention to the Company’s Communication Style: Are They Treating You with Respect?
  15. Timeliness
  16. Professionalism
  17. Personalization
  18. 3. Observe the Overall Interview Process: How Is it Managed?
  19. 4. Are You Being Tested? Yes, But So Are They
  20. 5. Pay Attention to Answers: What Do Current Employees Share About Their Experience?
  21. 7 Ways to Assess Organizational Fit | A Practical Guide
  22. What is organizational fit?
  23. Why is organizational fit important?
  24. Reducing turnover
  25. Increasing quality of hire
  26. Increasing employee engagement
  27. Increased productivity
  28. Better referrals
  29. How can organizational fit be measured?
  30. 1. Standardized assessments
  31. 2. Situational judgement tests
  32. 3. Ask candidates to spend time in the office
  33. 4. Ask the right questions
  34. 6. Get everyone involved
  35. 7. Do your reference checks
  36. Wrapping up
  37. How to Determine If a Company Is Right for You During Your Interview
  38. 1. Notice the way you're initially received
  39. 2. Request a tour of the office
  40. 3. Ask the right questions
  41. 4. Evaluate your interview
  42. Final thoughts on evaluating company culture
  43. Related Articles:
  44. Cultural Fit: Use these questions for your cultural fit assessment
  45. What Makes For A Cultural Fit?
  46. How Do You Determine Your Company’s Own Cultural Fit?
  47. What Is A Cultural Fit Assessment?
  48. Cultural Fit Questions: Standard Questions
  49. Cultural Fit Questions: Interactive Questions
  50. Cultural Fit Questions: Unconventional Questions
  51. How Do You Make Cultural Fit Consistent?

Top 10 Things You Should Look For In a Company | Career Advice & Interview Tips | WayUp Guide

Assessing the Right Company for You

Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, finding a great position goes way beyond the job description. From company culture to opportunities for growth, there are several things you should keep in mind when deciding between potential employers.

Here are the top things to look for in a company.

1. Do the company’s values align with yours?

One of the most important things to consider when researching potential employers is how their values align with yours. This is because working for a company is about a lot more than just the hours you put in each day.

It’s about knowing that the company values some of the same things you do ( honesty, integrity and hard work) and understanding how those values match up with your own.

Whether it’s finding a company with a model you admire or one that takes environmental action seriously and donates money to prevent global warming, you should feel that you and your potential employer stand for the same things and that you can build a lasting relationship.

2. Does the company culture fit your personality?

Many employers list cultural fit as the most important thing they look for when interviewing candidates, and you should put this at the top of your list too.

For example, if you’re more comfortable in a relaxed environment than a conservative one, then a company with a corporate culture might not be a great fit for you.

Before you sign that offer letter, take the time to assess how you’d fit in at the company and how the company culture would fit you.

3. Are the team members people you’d love to work with?

Whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your new co-workers so it’s important to make sure that they’re people you’d to work with.

This goes hand-in-hand with cultural fit and it’s something you should be aware of when considering a new opportunity.

The average American spends around one-third of each weekday at work, so having co-workers you get along with is a key part of being happy at your job.

4. Will you be offered opportunities to learn?

Having the chance to learn new things is important in any position, but it’s especially important during the early stages of your career. For that reason, finding an internship or full-time job that allows you to learn as much as possible is key to the development of your career.

5. Is there room for growth within the company?

In addition to offering you opportunities to learn about the industry, a great company should also offer opportunities for advancement within the organization.

This is even more important in the case of internships and entry-level jobs because the opportunity for a promotion (or a full-time job) is a great incentive to learn as much as possible and prove your commitment to the team.

The exception to this is if you’re not looking for a long-term opportunity but are looking to gain experience for a year or two before going to grad school.

6. Will your managers make you feel appreciated?

Feeling appreciated is an important part of any life experience, but it’s especially important in your working life. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that there should be company-sponsored happy hours or free weekly lunches, it does mean that your employer should make you feel valued by offering positive feedback and supporting your efforts to learn and improve.

7. Does the company offer security and stability?

One of the most important things a company can offer its employees is a secure and stable environment.

This doesn’t just mean a regular paycheck (although that’s part of it), but also a proven history of steady success and a sense of job security.

Although it’s unrealistic to expect smooth sailing all the time, a solid track record is a great indication that the company can provide you with the type of environment you need to succeed.

8. Does the company set you up for success?

Although a lot of your professional success will depend on you, there are several things an employer can do to set you for a great outcome. This includes everything from in-depth training to goal setting and regular feedback, factors that are especially important as your begin your career.

9. Will your role teach your transferrable skills?

In addition to offering training for your current role, a great company will set you up for future success by teaching you transferrable skills that you can use in your next position. When applying for a job, ask yourself what you can learn from the role and don’t be afraid to discuss training opportunities and skill building during your interview.

10. Will you be challenged in a positive way?

Being challenged to learn and to grow is one of the key markers of a great company. In fact, getting your company zone is one of the best ways to learn new skills and to find out who you are as a professional. Look for companies that make you feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and offer the support you need to turn those challenges into wins.

Whether you’re embarking on your first job search or your fifth, finding a company that will provide you with great opportunities requires some research. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the right fit and to give yourself the best chance of success.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Much Should I be Paid at an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?


5 Ways to Determine if a Company Is Right For You

Assessing the Right Company for You
Actionable Steps to Fight Workplace RacismLearn More


When you’re looking for a job, it’s all too easy to get caught up in what a potential employer thinks of you. Are you smart enough? Do you have the right experience? Will you make a meaningful contribution to the company dodgeball team?

In this flurry of self-questioning, it’s easy to forget that the job search is actually a two-way street. It’s just as important for you to find a company that you as it is to find a company that s you.

Luckily, most hiring managers give you several clues (and sometimes even a few red flags) throughout the application process about what it would be to work for them. If you know what to look out for, you can use this information to decide whether or not this is the right work environment and company culture for you.

Here are five ways to determine if a job is actually the best fit for you.

1. Check Out the Job Description: Where Are You in This Picture?

The job description is often your first contact with a company. It’s the organization’s chance to grab your attention and make the case for why you’d want to work there.

But some companies forget this. They make the job listing all about them and their needs.

Sure, it’s important for you to understand what a department is looking for and what a specific role will entail, but it’s just as important for the person writing this description to share why you would want to work there.

Next time you’re reading a description, pay close attention: Some places will simply include a laundry list of the skills and qualifications they want you to have. But the most thoughtful employers use this space to share professional growth opportunities, unique aspects of their company culture, and perhaps some of their perks and benefits.

Putting extra consideration into these few short paragraphs shows that a company values employees—and that’s a great bit of information to have from the get-go!

2. Pay Attention to the Company’s Communication Style: Are They Treating You with Respect?

Once you send in an application, this generally kicks off a cycle of communication with a recruiter or someone else from the HR team—or it may be the person who would potentially be your manager. No matter who you’re in touch with, there are a few things to pay attention to.


How long do you have to wait to hear from someone? If it’s a key stage in the process, scheduling a phone call, do you get responses in a reasonable timeframe?


Since it’s becoming an increasingly emoji-filled world (does anyone else’s mom text them with a puzzling array of koala bears, rainbows, and flowers—or is that just me?), business communications don’t necessarily need to be stiff and formal.

So, don’t be surprised if you get an informal email from a recruiter or hiring manager. But with that said, you should get the impression you’re being treated professionally. It really helps to imagine this person as your manager or co-worker.

Would you feel OK about the way he or she is speaking to you?


It’s pretty common for companies to send out automated emails during the application process, and this makes sense early on, when you first submit your application. But once you’ve had a little more contact with a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s reasonable to expect a little personalization.

This is especially true when you don’t get an offer. You might be thinking, “Hey, if they’re not offering me a job, I don’t want to work there anyway!” But rejections aren’t always absolute—sometimes you might get turned down for one role but the company might think you’re a good fit for another.

Or the team might hire someone else who doesn’t work out and you could be next in line.

The point is that the way you’re rejected actually shows a lot about an organization’s values, and if you’ve built up a relationship with someone there, he should take the time to personalize his communication with you, especially if it’s a rejection.

3. Observe the Overall Interview Process: How Is it Managed?

When you go in for an interview, that’s when you really have the chance to observe the working environment and your potential co-workers. In addition to scoping out the overall decor and vibe, be sure to reflect on how the company handles the interview process on the whole.

Do you know who you’ll be meeting with in advance or does your contact at the company keep all that info secret? Does each interview have a clear purpose and focus, or do you get asked the same questions over and over?

A lack of cohesiveness during this process is a definite red flag. Interviewers might not know exactly what they’re looking for, so they just ask you random questions to fill the time.

Or, maybe the interviewers didn’t prepare ahead of time to make sure they’re assessing you on different things and not asking duplicate questions.

Either way, it looks the company might not have its act together when it comes to defining your role and expectations in general.

Would you feel comfortable in a work environment where you didn’t fully understand what you’d be doing, disorganization was commonplace, and hiring the right people wasn’t a priority? Didn’t think so!

4. Are You Being Tested? Yes, But So Are They

If you’re asked to complete any sort of test or project, pay attention to that process! First (and most importantly), did you actually what you were asked to do? If not, that’s a sign that this might not be the right role for you. Remember that you’re probably being asked to perform this task because it’s indicative of the work you’d be asked to do on the job.

Also, observe what the feedback process is (and if there’s one at all!). If you’re giving a presentation, who asks questions or brings up concerns? If you get written feedback, is it clear and actionable—or vague and unhelpful? Try to imagine that you’re already working for the person who you’re interviewing with, how would you feel about receiving this type of feedback on a regular basis?

5. Pay Attention to Answers: What Do Current Employees Share About Their Experience?

During nearly all interviews, you’re given an opportunity to ask questions, usually toward the end. Don’t squander it! When you’re preparing, make a list of your priorities—whether it’s professional development, work-life balance, a flexible work-from-home policy, or something else—and be sure to ask about these things.

Be prepared, though—most interviewers will probably try to paint a rosy picture of the company.

In order to get beyond general statements “It’s a work hard, play hard culture,” it can help to ask really specific questions “When was a time that your company had to communicate something negative and how was it handled?” “How has the company changed during your time here?” “What are some of the concerns that came up during your last department meeting?”

Every place will have its pros and cons, but use this chance to learn if there’s anything about this company that would be a deal-breaker for you.

Remember—the application process is just as important for you as it is for a company. Each step provides you with valuable information about how existing employees communicate, collaborate, and do their jobs.

And if you uncover anything that makes you feel uncomfortable at any of these stages, it’s a very good sign that this company is not the best fit for you.

And isn’t it so much better to learn that now instead of after you’ve signed the offer letter?


7 Ways to Assess Organizational Fit | A Practical Guide

Assessing the Right Company for You

When you hire new people you want them to be the best possible candidate for the job, of course. You can use various ways to assess their skills and competencies and use realistic job previews to give them a taste of what their future job will be .

But guess what?

The candidates that emerge as the ‘best’ ones may not be your best option after all.


Because finding the best person for the job entails more than simply identifying who is the best fit for the actual job. It’s just as important – if not more so – to recruit people who truly fit in the organization.

In this article, we’ll give a definition of organizational fit, point out why it’s important and show you how it can be measured.

What is organizational fit?

When an employee’s (personal and professional) values and beliefs align with and complement those of the company they work for, we speak of organizational – or culture – fit. As such, it’s important to establish what exactly defines a fit. And that starts with determining the organization’s values, norms, and vision.

However, organizational fit doesn’t mean you need to hire the same kind of people all the time. As Katie Bouton states in her article ‘Recruiting for Culture Fit’ for HBR, the values and attributes that make up an organizational culture can and should be reflected in a richly diverse workforce.

It also constitutes much more than asking yourself: “Is this a person with whom you want to have a beer after work?” or wondering whether you have the same interests or lifestyles. A more useful question to pose is, for example: “Are this person and this company compatible in their way of working?”

Organizational fit has many positive consequences for both sides. (Image source)

Wondering what happens when you don’t ask that question?

Imagine you’ve just recruited a great candidate. Three months into the job your freshly hired employee seems a little unmotivated; they get in late, leave early, take a few coffee breaks too many, etc.

When you talk to them about it you find they absolutely love the job, are more than happy with their compensation & benefits package, but somehow feel place.

Congratulations, it seems you’ve found yourself an organizational misfit…

It won’t be long before your now ex-superstar leaves the company – forcing you to start the recruitment process all over again – which is why it’s crucial to hire people who fit the organization and vice versa.

Why is organizational fit important?

While job fit, referring to how the person is suited for the specific role, is undoubtedly crucial to hiring the right employee, there are many reasons why finding candidates that mesh with your company culture is also important. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Reducing turnover

The example we used in the intro of this article says it all. No matter how much someone loves the job they do – or how good they are at it – if they don’t feel they’re in the right place they’ll end up leaving.

Luckily, the opposite is true too.

If you hire someone who fits your culture a glove, they will be much more inclined to stay with the company for a longer period of time.

In other words: if you focus on both job – and – organizational fit during your recruitment process you’ll lay the foundations for a lower turnover rate.

Increasing quality of hire

People who are a good organizational fit will dramatically improve your quality of hire – and not only because your employee turnover will go down.

Employees who feel ‘at home’ in the organization they work for generally are happier which has a positive impact on their productivity – and of course their engagement. They’ll need less time to become fully operational for example and they’ll boost their colleagues’ morale while they’re at it.

Increasing employee engagement

There’s no secret recipe for employee engagement. But if there was, one of the ingredients would be organizational fit.

People who work for a company that shares their values will do so (much) more wholeheartedly than those who don’t recognize themselves in their company culture at all.

Increased productivity

All of these elements lead to increased employee productivity. Once again, this stresses the importance of hiring for culture fit and not just for job fit.

Employees who feel they’re right where they belong – professionally speaking – are super productive. They won’t get in late or leave early, let alone take coffee breaks every hour.

Better referrals

Employee referrals are a great way of recruiting new people. Referrals tend to be operational faster, they are more productive, more engaged, and stay with the company longer.

The reason for this ‘referral success’ is simple; since these candidates have been recommended by your current employees there’s already been some sort of natural organizational fit assessment.

This means that if you successfully focus on organizational fit in your recruitment process and hire more people who mesh with your company culture, you’ll eventually have even more excellent referrals too.  

Win-win indeed.

How can organizational fit be measured?

It’s all good and well to know why organizational fit is important but if you don’t know how to measure it in your candidates, it isn’t much use, right?

Recruiters consider cultural fit the most difficult attribute to assess during an interview.

So, let’s get practical and check out a few ways to assess organizational fit.

Perhaps stating the obvious, but before you can do any kind of assessing you will need to know exactly what your organizational culture is . What does your company stand for? What are the core values, beliefs, vision, etc.? One thing to bear in mind is that company culture constantly evolves and hence, and your assessment should too.

The process of defining your organizational culture and the core values that come with it is worth an article in itself. We’ll say one thing here and that is that you’ll need to involve the entire organization in the process, collecting feedback from everyone.

Now, onto the actual ways of assessing candidates to ensure that they are an organizational fit:

1. Standardized assessments

Assessing organizational fit is not an exact science and might be subjective, which can result in a biased hiring process. That’s why it is a good idea to use a standardized assessment as one of the ways to measure culture fit.

Pre-employment assessment tools come in many shapes and sizes. Many of them – our Harver solution included – focus on finding candidates that align with your organizational culture.

How, you ask?

By infusing the assessment experience with various culture-related elements. Think of open questions, a company video or situational judgement tests for example.

Some pre-employment assessment tools even have a so-called culture fit module. It usually compares a candidate’s preference for an organizational culture with the actual culture in place at your organization.

The assessment can take on a variety of formats. For example, it might be a validated questionnaire that assesses the applicant’s culture preferences across six key dimensions of organizational culture. These are dominant characteristics, organizational leadership, management of employees, organization glue, strategic emphases, and criteria of success.

Once the company assesses their organizational culture on the Competing Values Framework, they are able to compare their preferences with those of the candidate’s.

2. Situational judgement tests

Include videos in your recruitment process that let candidates experience the job and find out how they respond to ‘real life’ on-the-job scenarios.

More broadly speaking, videos can be a great way to give applicants a sneak peek into your company. Just it’s easier to get a feel for a candidate’s personality via a video call, it’s also easier to get a feel for the office vibe and the type of people working there through a short video.

3. Ask candidates to spend time in the office

Granted, this may not always be possible. When you’re interviewing someone who lives on the other side of the world, they won’t be able to pop around for the afternoon.

If your candidates live within a reasonable distance from the office though, you may want to consider this option. Ideally when you’ve got a team building day or some other kind of semi-informal team activity planned.

Although this is no scientific way of measuring organizational fit, it will give both the candidates and you a good idea of how they blend in.

On the candidate’s side, they’ll get a feel for how your employees interact with each other when they’re in a more relaxed, not purely work-only setting. As such, they’ll be able to better imagine themselves working for your organization (or not).

4. Ask the right questions

What’s ‘right’ here will depend on your organizational culture. But asking culture-specific questions during the interview stage certainly helps in identifying whether or not a candidate meshes with your company culture.

Think for instance of questions ‘Can you describe the work environment in which you perform best?’ or ‘How do you feel about becoming friends with your co-workers?’.

Interviews remain the top method to assess organizational fit.

This one is along the same lines as number 3, only now out-of-office settings are included too (and again, it may prove difficult to do this with candidates who live abroad).

What it comes down to is this: try to spend time with candidates outside the official interview process. Invite them for a team lunch for instance. Or if there is an industry event, ask them to tag along.

The way someone behaves during these kinds of ‘unofficial’ moments can tell you a lot about them – and their values. Are they attentive and interested in their potential colleagues? Or do they keep looking at their phones?

The same thing goes for the candidates, of course. After all, the ‘trying to see whether there is an organizational fit process’ is a two-way street.

6. Get everyone involved

Everyone being the taxi driver who drops the candidate off at your office and the receptionist welcoming them, to the team members and members of the C-suite.

Perhaps you’ve heard this story before but since it’s a great one we’ll tell it anyway. It’s the one about a candidate, let’s call him Matt, who was interviewing at a big company in the US. He was doing pretty well and got to the final interview stages.

Matt was one of those people who interview incredibly well – the perfect candidate in that regard. So from a management level, he’d gotten all the necessary green lights and was going to get an awesome job offer.

Unfortunately for Matt, the company attached great importance to the way its employees treat support staff – both inside and outside the organization.

As it turned out, Matt hadn’t been all that charming or respectful to the taxi driver and the receptionist…

Needless to say, there was no professional happily ever after for Matt at this company.

But to cut a long story short: involving as many – different – people as possible to create plenty of interactions with your candidates is a great way to learn more about them as human beings.

7. Do your reference checks

Un what you may think, reference checks are more than just a formality.

Yes, most people will sugarcoat a candidate’s not-so-great character traits a little. But if you ask the right questions (yep, there they are again) and in a good way, you’ll be able to get valuable insights.

First off, what do we mean by the ‘right’ questions? That will depend on the candidate and your organizational culture, but generally speaking:

  • Try to avoid closed-ended questions
  • Focus on questions that can give you more information about performance, accomplishments, and difficulties
  • Make sure you listen carefully so you can dig a little deeper where necessary

Think of reference checks as a way to confirm – or not – your internal assessment of a candidate’s organizational fit.

Wrapping up

It’s no secret that many companies struggle with high employee turnover and low quality of hire. And while there are more ways that lead to Rome when it comes to battling these issues, organizational fit is one road you should definitely go down.

Instead of solely focusing on finding the perfect candidate for the job, concentrate on identifying the right organizational fit too.

Consider it a two-way street; not only do your candidates have to fit your company culture but your organization also needs to fit their values and beliefs as well.

There are various ways to measure organizational fit. To assess culture compatibility in an efficient way, you may want to opt for a combination of some of the 7 ways listed in this article.

A candidate who is both a job and an organizational fit will make for an enthusiastic, loyal and productive colleague, and that is who we’re all trying to find, right?


How to Determine If a Company Is Right for You During Your Interview

Assessing the Right Company for You

A recent survey revealed a majority of adults value company culture over salary … but how can you evaluate a company's culture before taking the job?

You might be surprised to learn that more than half of adults consider a company's culture more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction, according to a recent Glassdoor survey. Additionally, 77 percent of adults take a company's culture into consideration before even submitting an application — and it makes sense. 

“You can have all the right qualifications for a role, but if you don't mesh well with the organization and its team, you ultimately won't be successful,” says Amanda Augustine, TopInterview's career expert.

Yet, un salary and benefits, gauging a good cultural fit isn't always straightforward. You can't necessarily Google “[name of company]'s culture” and find your answers.

Even if your search yields a result, you'll probably find a bunch of buzzwords “collaborative”, “fun”, “innovative”, and “inclusive.

” There's nothing wrong with those, but will they really tell you if the company is a good fit for you?

The best time to assess a company's culture is during the interview process, where you can make your own observations and ask questions. Not sure where to start? Use these tips to help thoroughly evaluate a company's culture during your next job interview:

1. Notice the way you're initially received

You're told first impressions are everything during job interviews, so you need to dress the part.

But what about your first impression of the company? Notice what happens during the first minute of your interview experience.

Does a receptionist greet you? Does it seem as though they've been expecting you? Or are they surprised and flustered? Or is no one around, so you linger awkwardly?

The way a company greets you can tell you a lot, so keep that in mind.

2. Request a tour of the office

Your point of contact will ly offer to show you around the office, but if he or she doesn't, don't be afraid to ask.

As you walk around, make mental notes on these specific areas:

  • Have employees personalized their workspaces — or are they pretty sparse?
  • How are the desks and workspaces arranged?
  • How do employees treat the receptionist?
  • What are the employees wearing? How are they interacting with each other?
  • What do the common areas look ? The meeting rooms?
  • Where are employees eating lunch? Are they eating at their desks or the break room?

Taking note of these details will help you better understand the values of the company and its employees.

3. Ask the right questions

Remember: A job interview should be a two-way street, so ask some questions to help gauge whether or not the company is a good cultural fit for you.

Sure, you can simply ask your interviewer to describe the company's culture in three words. But you can also ask more subtle questions that'll give you an idea of what the company values. These might include:

  • How long have you been with this company?
  • What's your favorite part about working for this company?
  • What personalities tend to be successful here?
  • How does the company recognize employee wins?
  • How often does the company meet as a whole? How often do you have team meetings?
  • Are activities outside the office offered for employees?

Whether you value innovation, feedback, affirmation, teamwork, flexibility, or all the above, don't hesitate to form questions around these values and ask them during your interview.

4. Evaluate your interview

After the actual interview, take some time to evaluate your overall experience.

First, consider the interview itself. Note the types of questions the interviewer(s) asked. This will help you better understand what's important to the company and its employees. You might also consider the interview style.

Was it a structured interview, which tends to be more formal and organized? Or was it a stress interview, which is designed to see how you react under stress? Or maybe it was unstructured — more laid-back and conversational.

If the interview style didn't sit well with you, that's something to look at.

Second, consider your overall experience. Did you feel at ease? Did you connect with your interviewers? Did you find yourself nodding along as the interviewers answered your questions about company culture — or did something in your gut feel off?

Finally, consider the entire recruitment process. How quickly has it moved? How many steps has it required? What are the next steps? Are those clear? Has the company valued your time? Answer these questions to yourself, taking note of how smooth the entire process has been.

Final thoughts on evaluating company culture

When it comes to assessing a company's culture, you can research, ask questions, and chat with as many people as you want, but in the end, you'll need to trust your gut. Sure, it sounds cheesy, but you'll probably have a good —or bad — feeling about your interview experience, so don't disregard those feelings.

Remember: Salary and benefits are important, but you'll spend most of your days in an office, so you want to feel as though you fit in and can fully support the company and its values.

Before assessing the cultural fit of a company in your interview, work with a professional interview coach from our sister site, TopInterview, to gain the confidence you need to ask all the right questions.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on our sister site, TopInterview.


Cultural Fit: Use these questions for your cultural fit assessment

Assessing the Right Company for You

In some ways, cultural fit is as important as whether an employee can do the job. At the same time, a cultural fit assessment may be the key to figuring that out. So, how do you go about assessing whether a potential candidate is the right cultural fit? In this article, we break it down for you.

It starts by making sure that you’re asking the right cultural fit questions. You know, the kind of inquiries that truly get to the heart of how someone works, and how they collaborate with others. We’ll share some of those below, and why they matter. But first, we have something we want to share with you…

We asked professionals from across the industry for their favorite interview questions. Now, here they are, just for you.

What Makes For A Cultural Fit?

A cultural fit for your company is somebody who embodies the same values that your company embodies. They are the kind of person who seamlessly fits in on day one, who excels at their role, and who leaves a good impression with colleagues, clients, and customers. In short, they are an ambassador for your organization, for all of the right reasons.

But, how do you find that person? On a fundamental level, the answer is pretty clear: First, candidates need to have the right qualifications. Then, these qualifications need to be bolstered by what they value. They share a fairly dynamic relationship, and truly go hand in hand, in order to define the term ‘cultural fit.’

How Do You Determine Your Company’s Own Cultural Fit?

Before you can go and decide whether someone fits in or not, you need to have a distinct idea of what it means to be a ‘cultural fit’ at your company. It helps to start right from the top, by identifying and defining your company’s values. This way, you can put your culture into words so candidates can know what to expect.

Then, you need to live those values. We have put together a fairly in-depth post about corporate culture before, but it is worth repeating: your values are not simply posters that hang on the wall, they are deep, ingrained ways in which employees interact with one another and management interacts with employees.

Once you’ve done that, then we can start to think about candidates in our pipeline. Let’s start by investing some time in research your target group. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of talents do we want?
  • Are those talents looking for something in return?
  • How can our offering align with what they need?

This reveals itself in putting together job requirements, writing job postings, and generally putting together a great applicant sourcing and applicant tracking process. Once you have people who talk the talk, how will you ensure that they walk the walk?

A requirements profile can ensure that you’re getting the right candidates into your pipeline. Feel free to use this complimentary template to ask questions during screening interviews.

What Is A Cultural Fit Assessment?

Determining cultural fit comes down to asking the right questions.

A cultural fit assessment is a point in an interview, whether it is identified as such or not, where you can ask questions to determine if a candidate’s values align with your company’s values.

It is basically the way you determine whether someone can simply do the job, or whether they can excel at it, what your company values and how they would live those values.

As you might have guessed it, your list of questions for your culture fit assessment is crucial. For us to focus our thinking, let’s consider cultural fit questions in three unique buckets:

  • Standard Questions
  • Interactive Questions
  • Unconventional Questions

Let’s dive into each with the sections below…

Cultural Fit Questions: Standard Questions

Standard questions are the kind that you’ll find in just about any guide for applicants. They’re the standard ones, the cliched varieties, and are the ones candidates know the most about (so, they know how to answer them, sometimes flawlessly).

While they are useful for getting things going, and helping candidates feel comfortable (because they expect them), they aren’t super effective when it comes to cultural fit. That’s because there is little about them that is revealing, as a rehearsed response won’t tell you more than a candidate’s memorization skills.

Standard questions may include:

  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • Tell me three strengths and three weaknesses of yours

Cultural Fit Questions: Interactive Questions

Interactive questions are where we can get to the heart of the matter when it comes to cultural fit. These are the kind of questions that demand a more nuanced response and are more springboards for a larger discussion rather than a simple call-and-response rhythm.

Think of questions :

  • What do you appreciate most about working in a team?
  • Do you dis any elements of teamwork?
  • What drives you in your day-to-day work?
  • Is there anything you about your current colleagues?

It is also important to keep the conversation flowing, as this allows you to learn more about an applicant and assess them better. Basically, what we are doing here is using small talk to gain insights into a candidate’s personality. It relaxes the atmosphere, is more colloquial, and allows a candidate to be themselves rather than the rehearsed version of themselves.

Ultimately, these kinds of questions will determine if a candidate’s personality is broadly aligned with the company’s values and vision. It will tell you who they really are, what they care about, and even where they see areas of improvement in themselves. After all, even if a candidate does not immediately represent a value, the capacity to grow is a value unto itself. 

Cultural Fit Questions: Unconventional Questions

Now, you’ll want to leave the best for last. These are a bit more unusual questions, the questions candidates never expect, and for that reason, they can be both incredibly effective and revealing. They’ll give you a better picture of them, as a person, while inviting them to open up a bit more, too.

Here are a handful of examples — but feel free to get creative with them:

  • What do your friends not about you?
  • Where on your resume have you lied or left something out on purpose?
  • When was the last time you messed up on a project or task?

The idea here is not to call a candidate out, but to allow them to express a more humble side of themselves. Candidate interview situations are often too much about what a candidate has accomplished and how great they are — it is important to know that they have a human side, as well.

Define your individual recruiting process in Personio and make sure that all involved employees ask the right questions during interviews.

How Do You Make Cultural Fit Consistent?

Don’t forget: it is absolutely essential that you try and ask the same questions. This is to help ensure comparability and consistency, even if the discussion ends up differing. If it helps, create a list tailored to your company ahead of application rounds to give some structure to interviews.

Later on, you can rely on this list as excellent guidance for your decisions about candidates’ cultural fit. It’s superior to gut feelings and helps avoid costly mistakes when hiring new employees.

No candidate needs to be perfect, and each will have their own weaknesses. But, there should be as much overlap as possible in terms of motivation for teamwork, shared values and principles, in addition to candidates having the required qualifications. This is essential if both company and candidate are to enjoy a successful, long-term relationship.

Build Processes That
Convince Candidates

Learn More


Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: