How to Evaluate for Values Fit During the Interview Process

How to Evaluate for Values Fit During the Interview Process

When hiring a new employee, it’s important to hire someone who fits both the open role and your company culture. How someone behaves, interacts with their colleagues, and accomplishes their work is just as important as the daily tasks they complete. In some organizations, that how is even more important than the tasks themselves, as a person’s communication and work styles, along with the values they bring to their work, can radically alter a work environment.

As with determining future job performance, figuring out how someone might fit in with your culture relies entirely on behavioral interviewing. The questions you ask make all the difference! Where job fit questions are designed to determine whether the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and experience meet the requirements you’ve set for the position, culture fit questions hone in on behaviors that indicate whether a candidate’s values align with your organization’s values and mission statement.

While you could simply ask candidates what their values are, behavioral questions instead ask them to show you those values. It’s the old adage “actions speak louder than words”; it’s much more useful for you to hear candidates explain how they live out those values. That will speak to how they actually work, not just how they think they work.

Your goal with values fit questions is to get your candidates talking honestly, so questions should be open-ended. Here are some examples of useful culture- and values-based interview questions.

If your company values diversity and inclusion, behavioral questions may include:

  • What experiences have you had working with people with backgrounds different from your own?
  • Describe a time when you included someone on your team or on a project because you felt they would bring a different perspective to it.

If your company values feedback and continual employee improvement, you may ask:

  • Tell me about a time when constructive feedback was difficult for you to receive. How did you overcome this? How did you use this feedback to improve your work?

Of course, to be useful to you, you’ll need to tailor your culture questions to whatever is important to your organization. To draft a set of culture questions, start by reviewing your core values, then define specific behaviors associated with those values.

Make sure to use the same set of questions with each candidate you interview so you can accurately compare them. And always ensure all employees participating in the interview process are trained in legal and appropriate interviewing.

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Suzi Wear

A valued member of Xenium’s Senior Leadership team, Suzi gives clients the guidance they need to be better employers. With over 18 years of experience in human resource management, Suzi has provided her expertise to clients across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, nonprofit, retail and professional services. As VP of People Development and Culture, Suzi oversees Xenium’s training and development programs, regularly leading workshops and seminars for business owners, managers and human resource professionals throughout the Northwest.

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