Open-ended Questions to Ask Job Applicants to See if They Are Culture Fit

Open-ended Questions to Ask Job Applicants to See if They Are Culture Fit

By Mainak Biswas August 05, 2016 - 3,798 views

Hiring can be a long and tedious process for an organization. It is the priority of an HR manager to find the most suitable candidate for a particular job profile. It is comparatively easy to shortlist a candidate based on objective questions that match the job description. However, what really differentiates one candidate from another is their ability to be a culture fit.

Open-ended questions are used to encourage an elaborate and meaningful answer from an interviewee. Unlike closed-ended questions that result in a simple yes or no answer, open-ended questions encourage the candidate to talk more and be more expressive during the interview. The interview is more interactive rather than being a mere monologue.

Following are some of the open-ended questions to be asked and their significance:

  1. Why do you think this company is suitable for you?

This will help you to understand their motive behind joining the company. You can expect different types of answers like company brand name, customer’s trust, employee work culture, or even compensation benefits on offer.  This will enable you to put a counter question to know more about their drive.

  1. Why did you leave your previous job?

Knowing the reason for leaving a previous job is important to find out. This will help you to assess their stability to stay in the organization. It will also help you to know their strengths and weaknesses. You can expect answers like a conflict with the boss, work saturation, or unsatisfactory work culture, etc. Again, don’t take the answers at their face value and try to dig deeper.

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  1. Do you prefer to work in a team or alone, and why?

 A job profile that entails teamwork must have a team member who loves to engage. Communication within the team is absolutely necessary to succeed. However, a person who likes to work independently without collaboration is not fit to be in a team. Knowing the reasons behind their answer will help you to assess demeanor and temperament of the candidate.

  1. How do you manage a conflict with your associates?

When working in a team, conflicts are likely to arise due to a difference of opinion. However, it is important to reach a consensus to move forward. A candidate based on past experiences with conflict would be able to give an appropriate answer. If not, you can also propose a conflicting situation and ask the candidate to act on their predicament.

  1. How do you handle job pressure?

A demanding job can soak up a lot of energy. It is important to rejuvenate and unwind oneself. Asking about how candidate beats stress would be reassuring for you to decide upon the suitability of the candidate.

Add value to the hiring process

To be culture fit, a candidate has to conform and adapt to the core values and collective behaviors of an organization.  An interviewer must explore this opportunity to understand the candidate better and his suitability to take up the job. The best way to do so is by asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions add value to the interview because both interviewer and interviewee are likely to gain something out of the conversation.


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