Culture Check: How Can I Tell if They’ll be a Good Fit?

posted by Jessica_Henry |

It’s really difficult when a skilled and smart person simply doesn’t fit in at your office. It’s something that’s easy to sense by everyone, yet so difficult and awkward to express and even more difficult to fix. So how can you get a sense of this at an interview when everyone is acting a little more perfect and shiny than their usual self?

This is the key objective of the interview. You should already know if the person has the skills and experience you need, now’s the time to see what sort of person they are and how they might work out. Here are some questions to help you find out.


1. What’s your ideal job?

You’ll likely get a vague answer, but hopefully not too vague. While not really a gotcha or trick question, it does a good job at getting people off their scripted answers. Adaptability is key, and hopefully the answer demonstrates both adaptability and curiosity. You want your next employee to be able to feel very rewarded at their job, and the answer should demonstrate an ability for that.

2. What do you do when a teammate you’re working with gets frustrated and becomes difficult?

This is a pretty common question, so it shouldn’t startle. Still it’s not easy. You want to see some tenacity here in getting the teammate revitalized and on track, but it might also be important that everyone is aware of a stall in work and why, and this is obviously a tricky thing for anyone to manage (staying loyal to the teammate while avoiding leaving your manager with an unexpected delay). The question usually reveals some good insight.


3. What do you do when someone gives you something to do that’s not in your job description?

OK, they can’t blow this one. This is where you can get a sense of their curiosity. Hopefully the answer shows some cleverness and independence, you probably want someone eager to expand their skillset and make themselves more valuable.




4. What do you do for fun?

Sometimes eyes light up at this and other times you get more of the scripted response. If the eyes light then you’ve likely landed on something they’re passionate about. The what is not as important as the why and the way they describe it. Pay attention to how they talk about it, does it seem like a person who can’t put passion behind the objectives you have in store?

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