Cultural managements

Recruitment Roadmap: How to Assess Cultural Fit

This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, be sure to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

Sometimes a CV can tell a story about a candidate – for example, that they are very detailed, or that they prefer a long writing style, or even how stable someone’s experience is. However, for the most part, resumes are bland black-and-white sheets of paper that best describe the work experience and always leave out the intricacies that truly make a person a human being.

There’s not much a resume will tell you about a person. Rarely does a candidate’s personality pop off the page of a resume.

Ultimately, people will work longer for companies if they agree or feel aligned with the other people working around them. Whether it’s having similar values, approaching problems the same way, or working together, people want to feel welcome and excited to come to work every day.

CVs alone are not enough to tell you about the person who wrote them. People are so much more than the words written about their careers on a piece of paper. So how can a hiring manager determine if a candidate really fits culturally within an organization?

Here are three interview tips to determine just that:

1. Ask behavior-based open-ended questions.

Certain questions – or better yet, the way the question is asked – can reveal personality traits. It’s essential to ask questions that get the candidate to speak for themselves, and it’s essential that the interviewee listens for a real answer.

A good example of an open-ended question is: What makes you an excellent team player? This type of question raises a topic that is likely important in any context, and how the candidate’s answers can tell you everything you need to know.

If the candidate seems to need a moment to think or stops briefly, give them a moment to collect themselves. These questions sometimes catch candidates off guard, as they are not always typical. If after a while they can’t provide a solid answer or provide an off topic answer, the truth is they may not be a very good team player. If the answer sounds scripted on the other hand, they probably repeated it. A solid answer should sound very genuine and off the tongue.

Ask candidates what kinds of situations frustrate them, what values ​​are important to them, and name a few examples of things their former company did for them that they really appreciated. There really is no limit if the questions are open-ended in nature. This method of questioning will tell you everything you need to know.

2. Ask for what-if scenarios.

A what-if scenario can also help hiring managers determine if the candidate will fit. These scenarios are excellent for exhibiting judgment, integrity, and critical thinking.

Asking a candidate how they would handle a difficult client or co-worker can tell a lot about their character, and it will most likely give you great insight into their personality and how they handle conflict.

Another great scenario would be to ask a candidate what their dream job would be, money aside. This tells you where their passion lies and can give you great insight into their values.

3. Be careful when using cultural assessments.

Some employers have opted for lengthy assessments to determine cultural fit. These are usually surveys or questionnaires based on a set of responses provided by management. It’s a nice idea in theory, but honestly, a lot of these tests are biased, and a good number of potential candidates — even some who hiring managers think would be a good fit for the team — fail them. My suggestion would be to use these tools if you’re on the fence with a candidate, but remember to take them with a grain of salt.

Ryan Joseph is an executive recruiter for Recruit Group (, with a focus on operations, sales and sales leadership in the security industry. For assistance with your security recruitment efforts, contact her at [email protected] or call (954) 278-8286.