Main image of article Using Behavioral Interviewing to Assess Cultural Fit

Hiring the right talent in today's dynamic tech space is vital, but technical skills are just one prerequisite. Cultural fit is equally crucial. Cultural fit is the alignment of individual beliefs and work style with the company's values and working environment.  It fosters employee engagement and a sense of belonging, which can create a stable workforce. 

Teams that share core values and enjoy free-flowing communication can work better together and achieve more.  In this guide to the cultural fit interview, we share helpful tips and best practices for finding candidates who can thrive in your tech company.

Identifying Key Cultural Values

Core values resonate with everyone and run deeper than gym subscriptions and free lunches. They motivate teams, drive innovation, inform hiring decisions and influence employee behavior. Your company's culture may involve invigorating brainstorming sessions that spark ideas. Or team members might give celebratory high-fives after completing a daunting task. 

In the real tech world, core cultural values include:

  • Innovation.
  • Collaboration.
  • Agility.
  • Openness.
  • Diversity.

To find your company's values, look at its mission statement and guiding principles. Gather long-serving employees and ask them what's so special about your company. Listen to how they describe the workplace and note standout practices or habits.

Investigate your company's origin story to learn what drove the founders and the challenges they overcame. You'll discover core values that have stood the test of time.

Why Cultural Fit Matters

Each musician in an orchestra may be a virtuoso, yet their brilliance shines through even more when they play together. This principle guides successful tech firms. Cultural fit helps build cohesive teams that consistently smash targets. Hiring for perfect alignment can improve communication and innovation. Personality clashes become less frequent. Individuals channel their energies to achieve shared aims.

A Gallup survey showed employees who feel connected to the company are 3.7 times more engaged at their workplace and less likely to leave their jobs. You can build a dedicated team that works well to achieve common goals by asking cultural fit interview questions.

Examples of Key Cultural Values

Innovation: This involves turning creative ideas into solutions that challenge traditional approaches. Tesla exemplifies this with its electric-powered vehicles.

Agility and adaptability: The dynamic tech landscape means firms must be flexible and adjust to changes. Amazon stays ahead by re-evaluating its business model and services. 

Diversity and inclusion: Diverse teams working in harmony drive success. Slack hires from a global talent pool and trains managers to build trust. 

Openness: Being open-minded means you're receptive to new ideas or insights. GitHub maintains an open culture where employees can share ideas and contribute to the company's growth.

Crafting Behavioral Interview Questions

Strategic use of culture fit interview questions and answers can help you find a candidate who dovetails into your team. Here's how to craft your questions.

Understand your cultural values: Find out what makes your company tick. Is it innovation, teamwork or agility? 

Mirror values with questions: Align each cultural fit interview question with a specific company value. If you're results-oriented, ask, "Describe a situation where you had to overcome odds to deliver on time."

Focus on action, not tales: Ask questions that look at past behavior rather than "What did you do" queries. For example, "Describe a time you differed with a teammate and how you resolved things." 

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions

Ask questions that gauge the candidate's values, work style and teamwork ability. Check out examples of cultural fit interview questions for a software engineer or other tech role.

  • What's one thing you liked about your past job that you'd want to see in this role? 
  • How would your former manager and colleagues describe you? 
  • Describe the work environment in which you're inspired and productive. 
  • Would your ideal job be on-site, remote or in a hybrid environment?
  • Do you prefer working on solo projects or with a team? 
  • How would you motivate a team working on a challenging project?

Evaluating Candidate Responses

Behavioral interviews help assess candidates for cultural fit. But how do you decode responses to see if the individual is a good cultural fit? Probe for specific information with follow-up interview questions. For example, “Can you describe a situation where you had to deal with a teammate who was always late?”

Their answer will reveal their communication style and conflict-resolution skills. It will also tell their ability to learn and develop. Encourage interviewees to answer using the STAR (situation, task, action and result) method. It enables candidates to share specifics about an experience. 

Techniques for Effective Evaluation

Relying solely on culture fit interview questions and answers pdf can leave you unprepared for the crucial next stage - evaluation. Here's how to assess candidates for cultural fit.

Scoring rubric: Create a rating system based on criteria such as teamwork or communication. This will ensure consistent evaluation during interviews. 

Diverse interviewing panel: Add members from different departments to the interviewing panel. This will give you a wider perspective on whether the individual is a cultural fit.

Action focus: Listen to how the interviewee describes their experience. You'll get a sense of their approach to tackling problems.

Balancing Cultural Fit with Technical Skills

Hiring for cultural fit is as crucial as hiring for technical skills. But how do you strike a balance? Here's how to spot a tech-savvy candidate who embodies your company's core values. 

Understand your needs: Define the role's technical requirements, such as programming languages or industry experience. Test this from the cultural lens: is it a team-oriented environment, a high-octane job or a structured role?

Assess for technical skills and cultural fit: Use technical competency tests to check the individual's hard skills. Ask behavioral questions to uncover their personality and soft skills.

Be strategic: Decide if someone with technical skills can adapt to your company culture. Consider if an individual with a strong cultural fit can develop the tech skills for that role.

Find Candidates Who Fit

Assessing cultural fit during tech interviews can help create a unified team and thriving work environment. Cultural fit can boost engagement levels and lower turnover rates. Ask specific questions to find candidates with beliefs, values and behaviors that match your company's. It's crucial to find a balance between technical skills and cultural fit. 

Align your interview questions with cultural values. This will identify an individual who resonates with your company. Don't miss out on the top talent. Now that you know how to prepare for a cultural fit interview as a tech company, leverage the expertise of the DICE team to find the perfect match!