Discover at Interview Stage Whether a Candidate Fits Your Company Culture

When making a hiring decision, are you asking yourself whether the candidate will not only fit the role but also the company culture? If you’re not asking this, you should be…

Discovering whether a candidate will fit into your company culture is almost as important as to whether they will fit into a specific role. In order for an employee to thrive, grow and stay within your company, they must be able to gel with the team and the company as a whole.

It can be difficult to assess whether someone will fit into your culture after meeting them once. But there are questions you can ask to help inform your decision.

Most companies and teams will have a culture that is designed by the business owners and those in leadership roles. There will be certain company values and practices that will have a huge impact on the way that the organisation runs.

To know if a candidate fits this, you first need to establish what these values are and what the culture is as a whole.

Understanding your culture

Understanding your own company culture can be difficult to assess objectively when you live within it. It is like trying to assess your own personality – difficult to remain objective right? In order to understand, you must take a step back and look at everything as if for the first time.

Observe the way that leaders interact with the teams they manage. Do you have a system of micromanagement or do the leaders allow autonomy and guide the employees rather than dictate?

Take note of the way team members interact with one another. Are there friendships outside of work? Do the management teams foster an environment that lends itself to a friendly work place? How much emotion is involved with the interactions from team members?

Look at the office environment itself. Are there common areas for the employees to feel comfortable and socialise or is it a sterile environment? How close do people sit to one another and what do employees have on their desks?

Don’t be afraid to ask the employees what they believe the company culture is. The view of the culture can be distinctly different from the top down as it is from the bottom up.

There are so many variables to company culture that it would be difficult to cover in one article. At Apto we spend time with business owners and team leaders to understand the values they hold and produce an objective review of the culture.

Interview process

The interview stage is the first opportunity you will get to understand whether the candidate will fit within the culture. However, it is equally as important that the candidate understands the culture you have, so they can make a decision as to whether they will fit.

It’s critical you make a candidate feel at ease during the interview process. A person is more likely to ‘be themselves’ when they feel at ease. Additionally, when there are opportunities to expand on an answer, a candidate can speak about something naturally which tends to be more reflective of personality when compared with a prepared response.

When asking a question, encourage answers that reflect their personal life as well as their work life; a candidate who is innately organised will be organised in their private life, not just at work.

Ask the candidate questions that allow them to tell you what kind of culture they work best within, or would want to work in. Organisations tend to fall into the leadership style of either micromanagement or autonomy which suits some people, but not others. Ask the candidate how they like to be managed.

What to remember

It is critical to be honest with a candidate at this stage. Consider whether there are any flaws to the company that might affect a candidate’s decision. It is better to be honest now than to have them discover a flaw later and leave the company.

Wherever possible, try to stick to the same process and questions for each interview that you conduct. If you stick to the same questions it’s easier to make a decision on who to hire as you will have a direct and fair comparison.

Remember… the interview is as much of a decision by the hiring manager as it is the candidate as to whether the culture is right. Encourage the candidate to think about this themselves.

An employee who fails to fit within the company culture is much more likely to leave and to find an organisation that does sit with their own values and beliefs.


Give us a call at PACC on 0161 883 1149 to see where we can help to find you the right candidates for your culture.