Cultural fit is about how well a candidate will fit into an organization’s unique culture.
The cultural fit assessment is a good way to measure whether an individual’s values, morals, beliefs, ethos and behaviors are aligned with the organization they’re applying to work for.
The importance of cultural fit cannot be underestimated. It’s beneficial to both employer and employee as it seeks to ensure hires are made based on how aligned someone is to the company, and how well they’re likely to gel with their colleagues. This can save lots of stress, time and money in the long run for both parties.
Just like a personality test, a cultural fit assessment can be used at any stage of the recruitment process, but it’s often set as a pre-screening device. The results of the assessment can then be used to determine which candidates employers want to meet with, and it can even help inform some of the questions or tasks you may be met with further down the line.
Why is it important?
For an employer, a cultural fit assessment can really help color in the picture they have of each candidate applying for a role at their company.
It allows them to ensure a candidate’s values and morals are akin to the organization’s, to assess how well someone might gel with the people they’ll have to work with, boost any gaps in the team, and even save time and money by making smarter hiring decisions earlier on.
And for an employee, the cultural fit assessment is a unique chance to gain access to the ethics and ethos of a company before you sign a contract. As much as it’s a device used by employers to make good hiring choices, it’s also a great opportunity for you to ensure you’re making the right decision too.
The exact format of the cultural fit assessment will depend on the test provider and how bespoke it is to the hiring company. But in most cases, questions tend to fall into these three broad categories:
Standard questions — these are common in a lot of interviews and are designed to probe candidates on their ambition, motivations and characteristics. These might include: Are you a team player? Where do you see yourself in five years? What is your greatest strength?
Interactive questions — interactive questions are designed to provoke discussion and require candidates to give a more detailed, thoughtful response. Examples of interactive questions include: Describe how you like to work in a team. What type of management style do you respond best to and why?
Unconventional questions — these questions are designed to catch you off guard and maybe even without a pre-prepared answer. Unconventional questions could cover many things, but some examples include: When was the last time you failed? What negative quality would your friends identify in you?
In any cultural assessment, there are a whole host of different questions, covering a variety of different topics including personal development, business acumen, teamwork and motivation.
Depending on whether your assessment is more of a test or a conversation, you may be met with multiple choice questions, free-form text boxes in which to write your response, or an in-person conversation.
When looking to understand your personal ambitions and motivations, you could be challenged with questions such as: Where do you see yourself in five years? What does success look like to you? What’s your ideal work day? In what kind of work environment do you thrive?
You may also see questions related to how you work with others. Questions such as: Do you enjoy being part of a team? Do you like working from home? How do you feel about becoming friends with your coworkers?
There is normally a section that will look to assess how well you’d live by the company’s values. Here, you may see questions such as: What drives you? Which of our company values do you most ascribe to and why?
The great thing about a cultural fit assessment is that a company can shape it to work for their needs and to find out the things that are really important to them and the role. So while the above questions are common, you could meet just about anything!
How to prepare for a cultural fit assessment
Although you might think it would be hard to prepare for a cultural fit assessment, it is possible. The best thing you can do is research the company and learn as much as you can about them.
In particular, you want to focus on reading up on their objectives, ambitions, values and ethos. This will allow you to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager or employer and ask what kind of employee they would want or need to hire to achieve their goals.
When answering the questions on the test, it’s also important to be honest. As much as the test is there for the employer to see if you’d fit into the company, it’s also a chance for you to see if you’d be happy there.
You may well be asked questions further down the line about certain answers you’ve given, so it pays to be as truthful as possible.