It used to be that all a fresh-faced college graduate or career changer needed to land a new job was a clean suit and a neatly typed resume containing all the right qualifications. Nowadays, the talent pool is overflowing with qualified applicants, which allows businesses to be more particular about finding who they need. For example, in 2010 at least 35.9 percent of people in Colorado had a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education, compared to 27.9 of people in the entire country. With so many credentials floating around, companies can afford to focus on cultural fit before handing out those coveted jobs.
When referring to the workplace, culture is essentially the environment leaders have created for their employees. It is composed of certain values, beliefs and behaviors that guide how employees work together. In some workplaces, culture can be as subtle as the calm color of paint on the walls, or as blatant as a list of guidelines displayed in the lunchroom. Either way, workplace culture exists, and it can determine the satisfaction level of both employee and employer, especially if the fit isn’t quite right.
Think about it; if you had to choose between two equally qualified candidates, but one shares the same interests as the existing staff, you would be wise to choose the latter. By ignoring the incompatible attributes of the candidate, you risk losing productivity, customers, office morale and money should that person leave (or be asked to leave). So the next time you find yourself sitting across from an eager jobseeker, make sure to toss in a few questions like these to give you better insight as to how they could possibly enhance your workplace community.