Strategic Human Capital Insights

Top 6 IT Culture Fit Questions: How to Avoid the Culture Clash

Top view of people joining hands together as a symbol of partnershipWe often hear hiring managers say, ”I can teach people skills, but hiring people to work in our culture is more important. I can’t teach that!” These words are so true. So how important is this topic to hiring within IT? It’s critical! Get this right and employee retention, productivity and engagement will follow. Get this wrong, and the management nightmare begins. And with that nightmare, goes productivity issues, disengagement, and the spread of discontent among your staff and the client users who must interact with your people. Culture clash affects and infects your entire organization.


Additional IT Culture Considerations

In IT, there are additional culture overlays that impact IT as perceived through the optics of the rest of the organization:

  • Is IT reactive to the business or proactive business problem solvers?
  • Is IT a business maintainer or a business accelerator?
  • Is IT a business partner or a cost center and cost drain?
  • Is IT a value creator or a value ‘eroder’?
  • Is IT equipped with the right business skills that can anticipate and innovate to make the business more competitive?


These issues, which all come down to culture and the way IT acts, are determined by each individual within IT. How they embrace the operating norms set by IT, person by person, will determine the operating culture of IT. And we must remember that culture is fragile and can be fractured by one or two wrong hires.


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How to Optimize Hiring for ‘Culture Fit’ 

Did you know that employees who are a good culture fit tend to have greater job satisfaction, superior job performance, and are more likely to stay with the company?  When a large majority of hiring failures are due to poor culture fit, screening for this quality is key to finding the right employees for your organization.

The Top 6 ‘Culture Fit’ Questions to Ask During Your Next Candidate Interview:

  1. What are the three things that are most important to you in a job?
  1. Tell me about a time in the last week when you’ve been satisfied, energized and productive at work. What were you doing?
  1. Tell me about a time in the last week when you’ve been dissatisfied, disengaged, energy depleted and not productive at work. What were you doing?
  1. What’s the most interesting thing about you that is not on your resume?
  1. What would make you choose our company over others?
  1. What’s the biggest misconception that your coworkers have about you, and why do they have that misconception?


Are you looking to build the IT department of the future? Download the IT Competency Checklist to help you determine if your IT Department is ready to perform at sustainable peak levels in your organization. 

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Topics: Information Technology, Soft Skills

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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