The importance of interviewing for a cultural fit


“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair

Finding the right employee for the right role can make a significant difference in the success of that position, the workplace culture surrounding it and the company’s overall projection.

As one of the first points of interaction, the interview is where you, as an employer, determine whether the individual is the right person for the company. This can be stressful, especially if the position is needing to be filled within a limited timeframe.

Why you need a great interview process:

  • Improved workplace culture

Hiring employees that don’t mesh well with the existing company culture can lead to poor work quality, decreased job satisfaction and a potentially toxic working environment. This results in turnover which has high costs - both hard and soft (Inc).

Improved workplace culture can lead to an overall increase in production through greater communication, improved collaboration and a better team-building environment.

  • Show who you are Your interview should express your company values and showcase your desired work culture. Whether the interviewee is successful or not, setting a positive company image is important. If you left the interviewee with a bad experience, negative Glassdoor and social media reviews can be damaging to your organisation.

Make sure you respond back to applicants notifying them of their success or failure, particularly if they have gone to the effort of an interview.

This is increasingly important for attracting new future talent to the organisation. In one study, for instance, out of 4,633 random job seekers surveyed, 48% had used Glassdoor at some point in their job search (Forbes).

Survey respondents were also unlikely to apply to an organisation if there was consistency among the negative reviews.

Make your interview authentic, show empathy to interviewees and showcase your company’s values.

  • Create job expectations The interview sets the scene for what is to come later, including everything from job duties to potential work culture.

Understanding what the job entails from the get-go can reduce future employee dissatisfaction. Unrealistic job expectations can lead to disgruntled employees, which in-turn can affect organisational output and create a damaging work culture.

Outline clearly what the job will depict, along with who they will report to and where the potential progression of the role may lead.

  • Look for desirable personality traits Far too often companies hire based on qualifications and technical skills, often overlooking the individual’s personality and willingness to learn and adapt with the organisation. These soft skills are key traits for someone who will make a positive impact on the organisation’s culture.

Important soft skills to look for are:

  • self-awareness
  • collaboration
  • conflict resolution
  • communication
  • empathy
  • authenticity

Those with highly developed soft skills such as communication, are more likely to interact well with others, creating a better collaboration and team-building workplace.

What to do before you interview: (The Muse)

  1. Define who you’re trying to hire Understand the scope of the role and the requirements the individual candidate will be required to have. This goes back into the premise that clear expectations will lead to a overall better experience. Outline the job title, who they will be reporting to and what skills they need (such as education or technical experience) before you progress.

  2. Decide how you’ll evaluate candidates Define what are the most important traits that a candidate should have. Are soft skills more important than hard skills? Do they need to be familiar with a particular software that you use? Do they have similar hobbies that will make them a great fit?

To do this you must first understand who you are as an organisation and how then would this particular individual represent that.

  1. Outline the interview process Have a clear-cut procedure that you follow for each candidate and try not to stray from it. This will minimise biases and allow you to make your decisions on each individual fairly and clearly. This includes the amount of and types of interviews you will conduct. This is typically dependant on the type of role.

“Customers will never love a company until its employees love it first” - Simon Sinek.

The interview connects the company with more than just the successful individual. It represents who you are as a brand and helps to set the tone for your brand image among the public. If your hiring process ignores workplace culture, eventually passion and production will fall.