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Interviewing for Cultural Fit

Interviewing for cultural fit can be a challenging but essential aspect of any hiring process, particularly for sales professionals.  A sales team’s success can almost ‘live or die’ by having a coherent sales culture, be that a collaborative one or another where competition and ‘dog eat dog’ is encouraged.

By assessing whether a candidate’s values, beliefs, and behaviours align with the organisation, employers can better determine whether the individual will thrive in the company’s unique culture and work effectively with their colleagues.

How To Effectively Interview for Cultural Fit

Here are some tips for how to effectively interview for cultural fit:

Define your company culture:

    • Before effectively assessing whether a candidate is a good fit for your organisation, it is important to have a clear understanding of your company culture. This may involve identifying your core values, mission, and goals, as well as the behaviours and characteristics that are most important to your organisation.  I think it’s helpful to think of your organisation as a famous person.  Once agreed upon, what is it about that famous person that resonates with your firm – what are their values, what do they stand for, what part would they play in a team?  Reading our list of values may also help.

Prepare cultural fit interview questions:

    • Once you clearly understand your company culture, you can develop a list of cultural fit interview questions tailored to your organisation. These questions might focus on an individual’s values, behaviours, and approach to work, as well as their ability to adapt to new environments and cultures, handle feedback and criticism, and work effectively with others.  It is worth seeing our pages on Values Based Interview Techniques and TopGrading Interviews for further information.

Use a variety of methods to assess cultural fit:

    • In addition to asking cultural fit interview questions, there are various other ways to determine if a candidate is a good fit for your organisation. These could include asking for examples of how the candidate has contributed to the success of a team or project or having the candidate complete an aptitude test or personality profile.

Consider the candidate’s fit with your team:

    • In addition to evaluating a candidate’s fit with your organisation’s overall culture, it is also essential to consider whether they will be a good fit with your team. This may involve assessing whether their values and behaviours align with those of your team members and whether they will be able to work effectively and collaboratively with your team.

Don’t rely on cultural fit alone:

    • While cultural fit is an essential factor to consider in the hiring process, it should not be the only factor. It is also important to assess a candidate’s skills, experience, and qualifications to ensure that they can perform the tasks and responsibilities of the role effectively.  There is an argument, effectively articulated by Matthew Syed in ‘Rebel Thinking’ (2019), that you should recruit talent over cultural fit to get the very best possible team dynamics.

By following these steps, we hope that you can better determine if a candidate will be able to thrive in your organisation’s unique culture.

Date published: 2nd March 2024

Headshot of George Humpries in a suit, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

George Humphries

George is an experienced recruitment consultant at Aaron Wallis, specialising in recruiting top sales staff for technical and commercial positions. With a background in both FCMG and technical sales, George has first-hand experience in the sales industry, giving him great insight into identifying top performers. 

If you're looking to take the next step in your career, George is a valuable source of professional advice, working daily with some of the brightest and biggest businesses throughout the UK. 

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