When an organization is planning to fill a new leadership position, we often see hiring managers and candidates focus on technical skills and practical experience. Having the right tools and experience to do the job well is important but if a candidate does not fit the culture, he will not be able to be effective in the long term.
A recent article, When Choosing a Job, Culture Matters from the Harvard Business Review, discusses the importance of understanding culture fit. The article explains, “The culture topic is certainly not off-base and it is necessary to know for future growth in the company. Hiring managers should expect it.”
At Dinte Global Executive Search, we believe that hiring managers at all levels not only expect these types of questions from candidates but they also prepare their own. When we identify candidates, we focus on key culture competencies specific to the needs of the client. This helps us ensure that our client is able to choose a candidate with both the right skills for the job and the right fit for the culture. The following list is a sample of key culture competencies and related questions to consider asking candidates in the interview:
Ethical Standards and Values
- How do you develop trust with superiors, peers, subordinates, as well as customers?
- In your communications with your organization, what do you routinely try to emphasize about the business and organization?
- What is the value you place on self-starting, self-initiating behavior within your organization? How do you develop that in your staff?
- How do you go about resolving a dispute?
- What are the typical metrics you use to measure the progress and health of your business?
- What is your philosophy of customer interaction? How do you manifest that within your business?
- What were the top two “best ideas” you have come up with during your career and what did you do with them?
- How comfortable and effective are you in moving a business or operation into new areas? Markets? White spaces? Technologies? Give an example of where you did that.
- What is your track record in achieving your business goals/objectives?
- Describe an innovative approach that you took to solve a problem.
- What has your experience been with integrating inherited/acquired organizations into a cohesive unit? What are the typical challenges in these situations?
- Are you at a point in your career where you still roll up your sleeves or do you accomplish tasks primarily through delegation?
- Give an example of a situation that was a great challenge to your leadership? How did you resolve it? What was the outcome?
- Give an example of where you turned a failure into a positive.
What other areas of culture competencies does your organization look for? What types of questions do you consider asking in interviews?