How to Interview for Company Culture

Are you hiring for a résumé or for a culture fit?


Lisa McLeod, author of Leading with Noble Purpose, discusses how to interview someone to ensure they fit with your company culture.

“One of the big mistakes that leaders make in an interview process is they're hiring for the résumé instead of hiring for a culture fit, and they both matter,” says Lisa. “But it's really hard to change someone's DNA.”

Watch the video to learn how to phrase your questions to find someone who is passionate about the work your company is doing and a fit for its culture.

One of the big mistakes that leaders make in an interview process is they're hiring for the résumé instead of hiring for a culture fit, and they both matter. But it's really hard to change someone's DNA.

When we work with clients, one of the things that we do is make sure that, especially for a critical position, is that one interview is devoted solely to culture. And it's not done by someone who's going to be a manager for that person. Because as a manager you're thinking, "Can you answer the phones right? Do you know the software? Can you produce this? Can you produce that?" and you've got all this list tasks and you tend to focus on those, but culture is something different.

So, I was just working with a leader for a big healthcare company and they had had some turnover and they said, "We want to hire people who really get it, who are passionate, who are on fire." So, we changed the interview questions. We started asking questions like, "Why do you think we're different than everybody else out there on the market?" We asked a question like, "Tell me about a time when you cared about something so much that you went the extra mile."

That's not telling you whether the person has the skillset to do the job. That's telling you whether the person has the mindset to do the job. If they can't come up with a good story about a time when they cared passionately about something, if they… When you ask, "How are we different?" if they say, "Well, your compensation package was better," then you know they're not the right fit.

So, what you're looking for is someone who has the ability to care passionately about something and someone who was attracted to you for something besides the job. You want people to be attracted to your company because they see something special in you. Those are the kind of people that you want to hire. You can teach skills, but that's that DNA, that ethos, that really will make you have that great culture that will become a source of competitive differentiation for you.
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Lisa McLeod

Lisa McLeod began her career at Procter & Gamble, where she was a sales leader, sales managers, and sales training. She went on to become the Vice-President of Vital Learning --an international training company - before founded he...

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