5 Ways to Make Sure a Candidate Is a Good Cultural Fit

Staff mobility is the rule rather than the exception these days; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average worker will hold 10 different jobs over the course of their career. As recruiters and HR professionals know, employers have a stake in minimizing turnover because finding replacements for departing staff and onboarding new employees are expensive processes.

One of the keys to reducing turnover is to hire candidates who are more likely to stay in the first place. But in addition to assessing basic job qualifications, how can a recruiter determine whether or not a candidate is a good long-term prospect?

Evaluating a candidate's fit with the company culture is a great place to start. Organizational fit can be a key factor in an employee's decision to stay with a company or move on to a competitor. While there are a number of methods to evaluate cultural fit, these five tips in particular have proven extremely effective in a variety of workplace environments, from startups to larger corporations:

1. Bring a Diverse Range of People Into the Interview Process

The most innovative workplaces today are highly collaborative, so a candidate's ability to work well with others is a critical success factor. Despite this, too many companies limit hiring decisions to the opinions of one or two people. Bringing prospective coworkers and people from other departments with whom the candidate will potentially interact into the mix is a better strategy. Not only does this approach give the candidate a better sense of the work environment, but it also enables decision-makers to leverage diverse perspectives and make better hiring decisions.

2. Keep Cultural Fit Top-of-Mind During the Interview Process

Companies that recognize the importance of cultural fit typically set aside one interview to specifically explore that aspect of the candidate's qualifications. That's a good practice, but it also makes sense to take every opportunity to evaluate cultural fit. Job seekers' resumes and cover letters may contain pertinent information, and if all interviewers are advised to be on the lookout for cultural clues during conversations with the candidate, every interview has the potential to yield valuable insights into the candidate's fit.

3. Make Sure Your Hiring Strategy Reflects Your Company's Values

Businesses that want to build strong cultures typically establish sets of company values that govern individual and organizational behavior. It's a good idea to assign specific company values to each interviewer and ask participants to explore those principles with job seekers. Examples of how this works during an interview might include gauging a candidate's knowledge of the company to explore their preparedness or asking about volunteer work to assess a job seeker's commitment to positive change.

4. Use Planned Activities to Geta  Sense of the Candidate's Personality and Abilities

When asked about traits like the capacity for teamwork, most job seekers will tell potential employers what they want to hear. A better strategy is to plan activities that will allow the candidate's personality and interests to come out in a more natural way. If a sense of humor is important, unusual questions — "If you were a shoe, what kind would you be, and why?" — can be effective in revealing a candidate's sense of fun.

5. Let Candidates Get a Sense of the Company's Culture

It's important to remember that cultural assessment goes in both directions; while the company is evaluating the candidate's fit, the jobseeker is also trying to get a sense of the company's culture. Make it easy for candidates by providing information they can use to make the right decision. Emphasizing the company's core values is a great way to convey the organization's principles in a clear, concise way.

The top priority for companies in today's competitive marketplace is to deliver an excellent customer experience, so it's critical to hire the right people the first time around. It all starts with building a company culture that facilitates innovation and rewards dedication and then strengthening commitment to the company culture via continuous reinforcement of the organization's values.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to make sure every new hire understands the company culture and is ready to contribute to it in a positive way. Recruiters and HR professionals who use these five tips will be well on their way to building strong, cohesive teams and robust company cultures.

Tara Kelly is the founder, president, and CEO of SPLICE Software.