How to Find the Best Candidate for Your Workplace Culture

It’s easy to argue that workplace culture is almost as important as qualifications or experience when looking over candidates for a role. However, it’s an aspect that is often ignored or under-established in the hiring process. After all, if a candidate has all the qualifications but they can’t cooperate with the team or have different standards that lead to clashing, you will have hired someone that isn’t a fit for the role.

Even if fitting into your workplace environment was a priority for you and your candidates, how do you determine that? In the recruiting world, relying on “vibes” isn’t enough and you’ll have to try and get real evidence of culture preferences from the candidate. If you’re looking to fill a new role, take a look at our tips to make sure your candidates fit your workplace culture.

Define your workplace culture

It’s important before you start the process to put words to your workplace culture, otherwise, you might come off as someone who isn’t taking the process seriously. Plus, it will become a blockage when you are looking to write your job description.

Make sure to add a paragraph about what the candidate should expect from your workplace culture. Be upfront about the attributes and attitudes that are valued and successful in your organization to attract candidates who fit that mould. Is it a fast-paced environment where professionalism extends to your attire and mannerisms, or a more casual environment where creatives can work at their own pace? Defining your workplace environment will help candidates and yourself to better find that fit.

Focus on qualifications and culture

As mentioned, there is too little importance placed on reviewing candidates for workplace culture. You should remember that when even reviewing CVs. Does their previous experience reflect a similar workplace environment to yours and were they there for a good amount of time to determine if they would fit in your workplace culture?

Technical skills can be taught, but personality and values are harder to change. In the interviewing stage, look for candidates whose work styles and priorities align with your company culture.

Ask about more than job experience

Use your time to interview the candidate to address workplace culture. If not directly, with questions like, “what kind of environment do you thrive in?” then indirectly with questions asking about the role of past jobs, what the candidate liked about it, what previous coworkers would say about your work style and personality, and a new edition that is becoming more apt by the day: what are your expectations for a work-life balance? Get candidates talking about their hobbies, motivations, pet peeves, work styles and preferences to get insight into their personality and values.

Pay attention to soft skills

How candidates communicate, collaborate, problem-solve and manage stress can reveal if they’ll thrive in your particular work environment. Note how clearly and effectively they communicate during the interview. Do they ask thoughtful questions? Can they explain complex concepts simply? Are they concise or long-winded? Ask about group projects and team successes. See if they use “we” vs “I” language. Look for signs they value collaboration. Explore how they’ve adjusted to changes like new processes or systems in the past. Do they seem open and flexible? Observing these soft skills rather than just hard qualifications will help determine culture versus qualifications.

Check references

When going through a candidate’s references, ask former employers and colleagues not just about the candidate’s abilities, but their style, temperament, and preferences.

Hit key areas like work style and personality, self-awareness, social abilities and emotional intelligence, work motivations, and alignments with your company’s values.

The goal is to get unscripted, honest reactions that reveal if the candidate’s intangibles are a match or mismatch with your culture.

Establish a probation period

Sometimes, all the preparation in the world, especially for an area as neglected as workplace culture, will not land you that perfect fit. Establish a probation period to be sure that the candidate can fit in and adapt in this environment. Make sure you have time to evaluate if the new employee is a good match with your culture once they begin working.


It’s important to prioritize workplace culture in hiring decisions. Be willing to pass on a candidate with perfect credentials if they don’t seem like the right personality and values match for your company. An employee who fits well with the office culture is more engaged, motivated, and likely to thrive in their role. A poor fit can be frustrated and distracted and, importantly, less productive. Finding the right fit matters.

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