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Looking for Culture-Fit - Interviews
Batko OS #9 - Questions Part 1 - External
The deciding factor for me joining MadPaws in 2015 was a soccer game.
>> Dog lovers show - Melbourne, April 2015
One of the biggest concerns when hiring for a role or joining a company is culture-fit.
Will I love working with these people?
Will this person fit into the culture we have created?
Traditional interview processes are inherently flawed.
You observe the candidate through a lens which doesn’t resemble the real work environment. It’s like getting married after a first date. The candidate is on edge, shares only their best side and you can only assess them on what they choose to reveal.
More often than not the prospective employee and hiring manager are at the mercy of the company’s rigid, one-size-fits-all hiring processes.
If you are a hiring manager, how can you get a peek behind the facade?
If you are a candidate for a role, how can you assess the company culture from the outside?
The easiest and most effective way is to spend time with your future team / employee in a work or social context.
Outside of the fake interview world.
Before joining MadPaws, I played a game of football with the team.
Before joining Expert360, I joined the company Friday drinks.
At Startmate, we had the final two candidates for our most recent hire join a “problem solving” session with the team.
Within minutes I had an insight into how the candidates integrate within the team, and the candidates had a real insight into the Startmate culture and team dynamics; both arguably not possible from a traditional interview.
If you don’t have the luxury to join a work meeting or social event when trying to make a decision about a potential employer or candidate for a role
>> then here are a few questions to ask in an interview.
For Candidates - Assessing Company Culture
As a first step read through all of the company’s Glassdoor reviews. This will give you a good first insight and material to ask about in an interview.
What and how do you celebrate?
How do you recognize top achievers and who are they?
These questions will give you a good idea of the company DNA.
What is valued and recognized?
Is this a product or sales lead organisation?
How do you give and receive feedback?
What’s the most difficult piece of feedback you have provided or received? How was it handled?
Does the organisation thrive and embrace feedback or is it a tick the box exercise?
To the CEO - What information do only you know and nobody else?
To the hiring manager - What’s taboo in your company?
These questions are hard, so at first you might get an elusive answer.
Rephrase the question and prompt with some examples.
Once you break through the ice, you can dive into the true depths of the organisation.
Who can make a $1k decision? What's the process?
What was the last big mistake someone made - what happened and how was it handled?
What does the hierarchy ladder look like?
How does the management team handle mistakes?
For Hiring Managers - Assessing Culture-Fit
What are your life principles?
What has nobody believed in but you did anyway?
Give the candidate some contemplation time, these are deep questions.
Poke the surface with a “Why?" and you'll get a peek behind the facade.
What’s the best feedback you ever received?
What's something you know you need to get better at?
What are you not good at professionally? What drains your energy?
Are they self-aware?
Do they thrive on feedback?
What feedback do you have on <<our organisation>>? What can we improve?
What’s something you’d be nervous or reluctant to ask me about this role?
This gives you an insight into how willingly the candidate shares hard feedback, at the same time, it also establishes trust in your feedback focused company culture.
Take 2 minutes to think about something that interests you most. What really gets you excited, or maybe it’s something you geek out about? When you’ve thought of something please teach me about it.
This is an excellent question to get to know the candidate better and also shows if the candidate can articulate a new concept well.
How did you prepare for this interview?
The killer question.
Ask this at the very end.
The very best candidates will amaze you.
The average ones... well... you’ll see - they will be average.
H/T Nick Crocker, Partner Blackbird for the Killer Question 🙌