by Myles Chadwick and Marianne Lynch

Most of us spend about 8-12 hours a day, 5 days a week with our co-workers. That’s 16,640-24,960 hours a year! And when you think about it that way, it only makes sense to us that when it is time to hire a new employee, you would hire for culture fit before skills and experience. By hiring for a culture you are more likely to find employees that are engaged in the work, stay at your organization longer, and make the workplace more fun for everyone. Not only that, but most skills can be taught on the job (though not all, especially for highly specialized or high-level positions) and if the person you hire is already a great culture fit in the first place, the learning curve might not take as long as you expect.

We know that finding the right person to fill a position AND fit in with your organization’s culture can feel like a one-in-a-million chance, and over the years Emancipet has developed a few systems that help us identify culture fits in the sea of candidates at every step of the hiring process. For example, we interview everyone twice: once for skills and experience, and once for culture fit. When we perform our culture fit interviews, the tone is conversational and specific questions are asked that help the interview team learns more about the candidates’ values, beliefs, and behaviors.

These are our Top 10 Interview Questions for Culture Fit:

  1. If the local newspaper in your community wrote an article about our clinic/shelter/organization, what would you hope they would say about the organization and the people who work here?
  2. What is the very best compliment someone could give you about your work?
  3. What is the one thing you would never want someone to say about your work?
  4. When you see a pet who is not spayed or neutered, or that seems underweight, or not well cared for, how does that make you feel about the situation and the pets’ owners?
  5. What was the best job that you have ever had, and what did you love about it?
  6. What was your least favorite job, and what didn’t you like about it?
  7. Sometimes at work, conflicts arise between co-workers. Tell us about a time you were involved in a conflict at work and how the situation was resolved.
  8. Some tasks or situations energize us, while others make us feel unmotivated or less energized. Tell us about a time at work when you felt energized. What about a time that you felt less energized? What was the situation and what was it about the situation that made you feel that way?
  9. If you were in this job and you noticed another team member was not pulling their weight, what would you do or say?
  10. What would you do if you noticed a co-worker was obviously struggling with something, and it seemed as though they weren’t pulling their weight on the team?

It is important to leave time for the interviewee to ask their own questions as well – sometimes these can be as revealing as their answers to the questions you asked. Remember, hiring for culture may take a bit more work and time on the front end, and the benefits are worth it in the long run!

For more information about Emancipet’s full hiring process or other tips for improving your organizational culture, register for Great Culture, Great Results coming up on November 2-3.


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