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    Bamboo Blog

    6 Ways To Use Company Culture to your Advantage in an Interview

    Company culture

    If I could summarize why I joined BambooHR last month in one word it would be this: culture. From the first time I came into their offices to interview with their team, I felt like I had found a culture that fit my (seemingly complex) personality. It felt like home (yes, I meant to include that link). But that’s not to say that I think everybody I know should join me here. Simply put: BambooHR, like all companies, is not for everyone. But it’s right for me.

    Are you hiring people who match your company culture? Chances are sometimes yes and sometimes no. While strong businesses are built on those yeses, others can crumble because of the nos. Among other things, it costs you up to 213 percent of an employee’s salary when they quit. And that’s a problem.

    The more closely aligned your employees are with your company culture, the more likely they are to stay there for a long time. And quite often, they come into an interview knowing that – so you have to be prepared to discuss culture then. With that in mind, here’s a list of 6 ways to use company culture to your advantage in an interview.

    1. Make it a big deal from the beginning. Typically, by the time a candidate comes in for an interview you should have already filtered out those lacking the necessary experience or skill set. Now you just need to know if they’ll fit in with your team. Therefore, make company culture a big deal from the outset of the interview. Start the interview by asking them to pay attention to, and seriously consider, your company culture throughout their visit.

    2. Let the candidate show they fit. Before you get into too much detail about your company culture, develop a list of open-ended questions to see if the candidate fits your company culture, and let them show they belong. Then you can give them the answers, so to speak. Clearly define your company culture and company values, discuss their origins and history, and explain how the candidate’s role helps accomplish the mission of the company. You can then ask them to single out one or two of your company values that resonate with them, and find out what makes the candidate happy and fulfilled. After all this, you should be closer to knowing if they’re the right fit or not.

    3. Be candid. The candidate may have reason to be guarded. Maybe they feel underqualified for the job or maybe they’re hiding a secret identity (maybe Batman?). While they may be guarded, you should never be. Give them the real Company X. The quicker they see the real you, the quicker you’ll filter through those that don’t really want to be there. This includes honestly discussing what people like and dislike about working at your company. Even your best employees have some dislikes, and that’s okay. As long as you’re honest and candid, the candidate will trust you and feel prepared on their start date.

    4. Be accurate. On a related note, don’t inflate or minimize your company culture. There’s no sense in hiring somebody with the wrong perception about your company culture. If they come in expecting a non-stop party (“They talked a ton about their foosball table and popcorn machine!”), they’re bound to be let down. Unless you’re the circus. Wait – are you the circus?!

    5. Match the tour to your candidate. “Here’s the gym.” “Over there in the shadows you’ll find our programmers.” “Oh, do you like food trucks?” You’ve probably already developed a solid tour program. But never be on autopilot when giving the tour. If you take a candidate on a tour, they know things might be getting serious, so they’ll be especially observant. You probably shouldn’t give the exact same tour to a gregarious salesperson that you would an introverted accountant. A lot of this will depend on how much you know about the candidate – but guess what? You can find them on Facebook (or elsewhere) to find their personal preferences. Or you can just read their body language when they come in.

    6. Make sure they know their team. Always make sure that the candidate’s direct supervisor (and, when possible, another team member) is involved in the interview process. Your candidate may love your recruiter and HR team, but if he or she won’t work with these people regularly, the candidate won’t get the clearest picture of what your company culture will mean to him or her specifically. Along with this, make sure there is a clear understanding of what his or her team dynamics will entail. If the company as a whole prides itself on autonomy, but this specific role has less autonomy, make sure the candidate knows that from the outset. The last thing a new employee – or employer! – wants is a curveball on day one. What you both want is for it to feel like home.


    BambooHR is the #1 HR software for small and medium-sized businesses. We set you free from spreadsheets so you can do great work.

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