Spark A Conversation: Corporate Culture Based Interview Questions

Here at Spark Hire, we want to help companies utilize the power of online video to find the best candidates. We get a lot of questions from readers about best practices for using online video in the hiring process. These posts will address those questions about how to find your next superstar employee.

Question: What questions do I ask to determine if candidates will fit into the corporate culture?
–Adam from Connecticut

That’s really a great question, Adam. It’s so important for companies to ask interview questions that hire for fit in terms of corporate culture. An employee can learn new skills, but it’s much more difficult to mold an employee to fit into a corporate culture that you have already established. In fact, most times it is impossible.

The best way to tackle this corporate culture hurdle in the interview process is to ask behavioral interview questions or have an all out behavioral interview with your candidate. Behavioral interviews are aimed at delving deep into a candidate’s work past to see how they have dealt with work issues or struggles. Rather than simply asking questions on the surface level such as “what are your biggest strengths” or “why did you leave your last job,” behavioral interview questions delve deeper and force candidates to reveal aspects of their personality and work ethic. Their answers can help you determine if they will fit into your particular corporate culture.

The most important aspect in hiring for corporate culture fit is to first understand what your corporate culture is. Do you stress teamwork in your company or are employees generally working on their own? If your company does stress teamwork and it’s a big part of your corporate culture then you can ask behavioral interview questions such as, “Tell me about a time in your previous or current position where you had to work with a team to complete your tasks or goals. How did it go and how did you like it?” The answer given will likely tell you if this candidate is focused on teamwork or likes to work alone. Then you can asses if they will fit into your corporate culture.

Other great examples of behavioral interview questions aim at why the candidate is in this industry. If passion is a must for someone working at your company then you will want to know if this candidate has it. Interview questions such as, “Why did you choose this industry,” or “What do you think it takes to be successful at our company?” can help you out with that. If you simply don’t want to ask behavioral interview questions, then you can get right to the point and ask interview questions about the culture at their last company. Or you can come right out and ask them, “What was the worst corporate culture you ever worked in and how did you cope with it?” If the candidate answers with a corporate culture that sounds just like yours, then you know this likely won’t be a great relationship. On top of that, you will gain great insight into the way this candidate deals with rough work situations. This can make or break their chances of fitting in and making it in your corporate culture.

At the end of the day, it’s most important that you, the employer, understand what kind of corporate culture you are fostering at your company. When you have a firm grasp on this, you can then ask specific questions aimed at judging whether or not a candidate will fit in. Good luck with your interview questions in the hiring process!

Do you have a question you need answered? Spark a conversation with the Spark Hire team by submitting your question to blog(at)sparkhire.com or in the comments below.

Best Practices in Cultural Hiring [E-Course]