Get All Access for $5/mo

4 Ways to Test 'Cultural Fit' During the Hiring Process It's vital to be able to recognize a strong fit for your company, even when a candidate's personality and ideas might be far different from your own.

By Sathvik Tantry Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Andrew Rich Photography

As workplace structures evolve, finding candidates who are the right "cultural fit" is now a top priority of recruiters.

In the business world (and in life), we tend to gravitate toward people similar to us. Our hiring practices are no exception -- if you're an introvert, you might find extroverted candidates off-putting. A detail-oriented recruiter might be uncomfortable hiring an abstract thinker.

However, seeking cultural fit doesn't mean hiring clones. In fact, research shows that diverse teams actually perform better than like-minded ones. It's vital to be able to recognize a strong fit for your company, even when a candidate's personality and ideas might be far different from your own.

Related: 15 Resources for Hiring an All-Star Team

Finding the right cultural fit

There's no denying that cultural fit is important but make sure you actually know what it is before judging candidates. It's easy to mistake cultural fit for personal biases -- just because you wouldn't mind being stuck in an airport with a candidate doesn't necessarily mean he's a great fit for your company.

A candidate's approach shouldn't be so divisive that it creates rifts among employees, but you shouldn't be afraid to hire somebody whose personality clashes with your own. If you perceive that a candidate would make a meaningful contribution to your company while maintaining decorum, that candidate might be a cultural match.

Here are four ways to determine whether a candidate might be a good fit for your company:

1. Differentiate between the person and the job.

Your applicant is not interviewing to be your best friend; he's interviewing to be a great contributor to your company. Never lose sight of this during the interview. What you like about a candidate personally cannot trump his potential as an employee.

2. Have candidates take a personality assessment.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can offer you concrete metrics by which to judge candidates for a particular position before they ever set foot in your office.

For instance, if your company wants to hire confident individuals with strong leadership skills and the ability to make objective decisions, you might take a close look at candidates' Myers-Briggs results. The assessment can reveal whether somebody is an introvert or an extrovert, how he processes and interprets information and whether he makes decisions through logical reasoning or his intuition. The Myers-Briggs provides a quantitative basis for making hiring judgments based on personality.

3. Don't be afraid to ask off-the-wall questions.

As long as you don't ask prohibited questions during the interview process, it's your prerogative to ask candidates about anything from their appreciation for soccer to their favorite foods.

Related: 5 Questions That Reveal Whether a Job Candidate Is Startup Material

Interviewees prepare for interviews by rehearsing boilerplate responses to conventional questions. Get a real impression of who they are as people by steering conversations toward unexpected topics. The ability to take the unexpected in stride is a plus, even if their hobbies and interests are different from your own.

4. Give applicants a chance to lead the conversation.

We've all been to interviews where the interviewer sticks to an approved list of 10 questions and treats it as a strict Q&A session between the interviewer and interviewee. While this might be the most efficient way to churn through questions, it can only tell you so much about the person.

Instead, hand the interviewee the keys. See how he communicates without prompts or guides. This is certainly a greater challenge than offering a distinct question to answer, and it can provide an opportunity for vibrant personalities to shine. If interviewees have difficulty conversing with you of their own accord, that can be a sign that their personalities don't fit the position.

Cultural fit clearly plays a pivotal role in today's hiring process, but that doesn't mean you should hire clones of your existing staff. Differing backgrounds lead to positive, productive innovations and exchanges of ideas. Once you truly understand your company's culture, make sure you're focused on it -- not your personal biases -- when vetting candidates.

Related: Job Alerts: The New 'Weapon' in the War for Talent

Sathvik Tantry

Co-Founder and CEO of FormSwift

Sathvik Tantry is the co-founder of FormSwift, a San Francisco-based SaaS platform that helps organizations go paperless. FormSwift’s tools allow businesses and individuals to create, edit, sign and collaborate on documents and workflows in the cloud, eliminating unnecessary printing, faxing and snail mail.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Wondering how long your marketing emails should be? Here's what consumers say — so you can send them exactly what they like.

Leadership

Tech Overload Will Destroy Your Customer Relationships. Are You Guilty of Using Too Much Tech?

Technology's value in our world is undeniable. However, there can be a point where it is ineffective and possibly counterproductive. See where it can negatively impact your product, brand, and business.

Management

Most Gen Z Workers Want This One Thing From Their Employer. Are You Providing It?

Millions of college graduates are entering the workforce, and many feel unprepared. Here's the one thing they're looking for from potential employers — and how providing it will benefit you and your business in the long run.

Making a Change

Get a Lifetime of Babbel Language Learning for Just $150 Through June 17

Learn up to 14 languages over the course of a lifetime, with bite-size lessons, personalized reviews, and speech recognition tech.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."