Hiring Tips

The 5 Must-Ask Interview Questions to Determine if Someone's a Fit

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I often tell my teams “it is all about the people” and for that to be true, you need to make sure everyone you bring on fits the culture of your business. And whether you are leading teams at a Fortune 500 company or just starting up, the need to make great cultural hires never goes away.

To hire for culture, your interview should not only consist of basic questions centered around values and team work but also more in-depth questions. to understand if this person will be a good  need to focus on certain questions. How do you hire for culture? What types of questions should you ask potential candidates?

There are the basic questions: What are your values? Tell me about a time you were part of a great team - what made it great? They are descent questions to ask, but they only give you surface level insights into whether a potential new hire will be a great cultural fit.

Throughout my career, whether it was my time at Microsoft or presently at home-improvement network Porch.com, I have always taken a hands-on approach towards building teams and hiring people that are the right cultural fit.

To help those looking to make great cultural hires, here are my five must-ask questions to determine if the people you are bringing on will be the right fit for your company.

Related: The Best Way to Avoid Toxic Hires Is to Articulate Your Company Values

1. Why do you want to work at this company and what are your expectations?

You need to know if people want to join your company for the right reasons.

For example, do they know what it takes to be successful at an early-stage company? Are they prepared to embrace ambiguity? Are they ready to get their hands dirty? Are they ready to execute quickly with limited resources? Are they scrappy? Whatever values you hold true at the heart of your culture, you need to hire people who are aligned with how your business operates and the values you live by.

Related: Think Culture is About Ping-Pong Tables? You Are Wrong.

2. Who inspires you and why?

I like to learn from people who their points of inspiration are. Who are their role models and what makes those people special to the candidate? You often garner quite a few insights from this question as it gives you a peak into the behavioral patterns an individual respects and in many cases models themselves after.

3 What’s your superpower?

Everybody is great at something. Everyone has a superpower. It is the go to trait you pull from when times get tough and you need put your head down, crank and produce. People should be honest about this and you should encourage an honest answer. Part of setting people up for success is ensuring you have them in the right role at the right time.

As I recently shared, I believe that the job of a manager is to get the very best out of their people. Putting them in right position with the right team is an important part of the equation. Doing so goes along way towards ensuring positive cultural fits.

4. What motivates you to come into work every day?

There are a number of ways for people to answer this question, but I have found those that carry a great energy and hit on curiosity as a reason to run up the stairs every day. Great hires know that learning never ends and they maintain a high degree of intellectual curiosity throughout their day-to-day work. You will find that these hires stay on top of what is happening around them, the business and the industry. They identify trends before they happen and they think in a very pragmatic way. It’s a superpower not everyone possesses. When you find someone who is thinking about the world in a way that is bigger than him or her, that energy is contagious.

5. How do you rely on others to make you better?

I like this question because it gives people the opportunity to showcase one of my favorite traits: self-awareness. The best hires know that they don’t know everything. They are aware of their strengths and limitations and can speak to them both with transparency and candor. In particular they can focus on specific areas they want to improve, grow and learn. They spend more time talking about their losses (and what they learned) than their wins. This shows that they cherish collaboration and the development of a transparent working environment.

Related: How to Keep Company Culture Alive After an Acquisition