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Question: Outside of asking interview questions to determine technical knowledge and skills, what are good questions you can ask candidates to determine if they are a good cultural fit?

Answer: We find that using the behavioral interviewing format elicits the best information to understand how the candidate actually combines his or her hard and soft skillsets to get the job done. The behavioral questions asked should be tied to situations that are real in your company that this person would face in the job. If you want to understand how the applicant:

  • Handles conflict: Ask him to tell you about how he handled working on a team with another person who challenged his ideas.
  • Solves problems: Ask her about how she handled a difficult problem with an upset customer or managed to fix a product flaw or design challenge.
  • Works with teams: Ask him to describe a team project he worked on that required working with people from other parts of the company and how he managed his role on the team. Or ask him about the time he had to work with a difficult team member.
  • Leads: Ask her to describe a time when she coached or mentored another team member successfully, or how she delegates work, or how she took the lead on a difficult project.
  • Deals with adversity: Ask him to tell you about a mistake he made in his job, what he learned, and how he overcame it.

As part of your cultural fit assessment process, you can then compare the applicant’s answers to those types of practical examples with your expectations for managing similar situations in your company.