I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Christmastime early in my recruiting career. The company was doing well, and we were achieving unprecedented success. So much so, that it was determined that we were going to need to hire about 300 more people in the next few months. To help with that, we needed to hire about five more recruiters. We interviewed what seemed like hundreds of potential candidates. It was exciting when we narrowed it down to the top ten candidates. Next of course, narrowed that number down and hired what we thought were the top five candidates.


All of the hires were to start the same day as our gift exchange. During the onboarding process, we discussed the basics, and at the end, I proudly said, “We call it a gift exchange, but really it is more like a top shelf liquor exchange.” The gift exchange was always one of the biggest highlights of the year. The day of the party, people are selecting presents under the tree, trying to steal gifts that they found more desirable you know, the usual. There was this odd shaped gift that eventually got selected. We are all yelling and carrying on to see what was in this weird shaped package. Finally, someone opened it, and it was… wait for it… an electric blanket.

No one said anything, and no one fessed up to bringing the blanket either. But everyone was thinking, whoever brought the blanket is not going to last here. Remember that look that Michelle Obama gave Melania Trump when she handed her that Tiffany’s box? That had nothing on the looks on our team’s faces. Let me be clear, I didn’t work for a company that manufactured liquor, we didn’t drink during work, new recruits were not brought to the bar as part of the onboarding process, and there were no standing happy hours going on. But, we had a pretty solid culture at the company I worked for, and I don’t think anyone noticed until “blanketgate,” as it would come to be called.

determine cultural fit#Same

Now keep in mind, you may not want to hire your drinking buddies, but, to reduce turnover, you need to make sure that the person you hire is ok with your existing company culture. You can find out if your candidate will “fit” in part to questions you ask during the hiring process. Here are some questions to consider:

  1. What are your biggest pet peeves at the office?Everyone has pet peeves. So if someone says, “people tapping their pens all day.” OK, we can deal with that one. But if they say, “Too many company meetings” and you know that are your company has daily meetings, this could be a problem.
  2. Describe the management style that will bring out your best work and efforts.All employees are motivated differently. Some are motivated by money, other recognition, some job title, etc. If you hire the candidate who is recognition driven and you know the hiring manager things that a paycheck is thanks enough, be prepared to backfill this position.
  3. What made you proud to work at your last company?This will give you an idea of the sort of projects the candidate worked on and what makes them tick. Also, listen to see if what they were proud of was a result of teamwork or individual work.

As with any buzzword, there are several products that can help you determine company culture fit. At least they say they do. The biggest problem seems to be that the culture reflected in the company mission and vision statement, does not always align with the culture a company actually has. Here are the five tools that can help you determine if a candidate will be a good cultural fit, by helping you decide what the cultural fit is in the first place.

The Five Tools to Help Determine Cultural Fit


Instatalent, helps you find candidates that fit your culture before you hire them in the Information Technology, Healthcare, and Finance verticles. What stands out as a bonus with this tool is that by using their app, you can post a job, find candidates and look at resumes all from your phone. Instatalent is powered by IBM Watson to determine fit based on natural linguistic data and uses something called a Cognitive Talent Discovery Engine’ (CTDE) to understand candidates personality attributes. Scary.


TinyPulse has two tools. TINYpulse Engage is their survey tool, and TINYpulse Perform is a performance management tool. Basically, TinyPulse allows companies to keep a pulse on how employees are feeling. (Get it?) Part of why people like TinyPulse is because the surveys are short, you can use it on your phone, and it is easy to use. And of course, it is completely anonymous.


CultureAmp uses data received from employee surveys to determine Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, and Employee Effectiveness. That is the short version. They actually have a team of organizational psychologists and data scientists to back this stuff up. You longer have to figure out on your own what the information you got from a survey means or hire a data scientist to do it for you.  Watch this to learn more.



RoundPegg has several products, but when it comes to hiring, they give candidates a pre-hire assessment tool and gives each candidate a “fit” score to determine cultural fit. They determine the fit because existing employees are asked to fill out a 7-minute survey. As long as ALL of them complete the survey, employers can get a Culture DNA. A piece of this tool that really stands out is their custom interview questions. Once a candidate completes the pre-hire assessment, RoundPegg will let you know areas where they think the candidate will fit as well as areas that you should probably pay attention to.



Weirdly makes the arduous process of searching for culture fit fun for the candidate and the recruiters. You tell Weirdly what kinds of attributes you are looking for and how weird you want the quiz to be. They will come up with quirky questions to pose to candidates. Say you pick flexible, pragmatic and competitive as attributes you would like a candidate to have. Questions like, “How much do you like surprises?” or “How fast do you walk?” You have to admit; those questions are more exciting than, “What is your greatest weakness?”


The takewaway – don’t hire your drinking buddy. But more importantly, pay a attention to the signs that a candidate won’t be a great fit for your company. It is not worth the cost of replacing that candidate. When a candidate tells you they will not be a great fit, beleive them.