How to Nail a Cultural Fit Interview - Especially for OmbuLabs

At OmbuLabs the first step in the interview process for any of our open positions is the cultural fit interview. This interview will tell us a few things about the candidates. It should let us know if they have the kind of experience that would match well with the open job, it also shows us if the candidate would settle in well with the values of the team, and it tells us if we think we should offer a second interview.

Why the Cultural Fit Interview is Important to Us

At OmbuLabs we often find that the most successful team members are the ones who love being a part of the team, and live our company values. Finding candidates who have the right technical skills or the right experience is important, but finding people who love being a part of our team is even more critical.

We find that members who are the right fit culturally will stay for years, will strive to succeed, and will just generally love their jobs and being a part of the overall goals we are all working towards. People who love their jobs are generally motivated to do better work.

We do the cultural fit interview first because it gives us a chance to get to know the person in a less pressured situation than a more technical interview. If the candidate makes a really good impression, it may help us to understand them better if they end up struggling with more technical questions in later interviews. A good impression on the cultural fit interview can sometimes help take a candidate all the way through the process.

So What Makes a Good Impression

Answering questions truthfully and with thought. It’s okay if a candidate needs to pause and take a moment to gather their thoughts when we ask a question. We prefer that they think, and not necessarily ramble off an answer that they have prepared ahead of time. We also want to hear what they have to say, we are trying to get to know them. When we ask questions it is helpful to have well rounded answers. If the answer to every question is just a few words, then something isn’t going right.

Candidates don’t need to sell themselves, but they do need to be able to explain themselves well. Non-cliche answers can go a really long way. Giving personal examples to go along with answers is an excellent way of enriching a shorter answer.

If we ask what a candidate would do in certain situations and they can’t think of a good example of exactly what we are asking, that’s okay. We don’t mind if a candidate shifts answers a bit, or uses the question to explain about themselves in a different way.

We realize that not every question makes sense for the experience of every interviewee. As interviewers we try to navigate that as the interview progresses. We skip questions which the candidate may have already covered in another answer and we ask questions to try to dig further into things they have mentioned. This doesn’t need to be one sided. If a candidate wishes to share something about themselves they can try to find a way to weave that into one of their answers.

Tell us Why OmbuLabs

This is a question that we ask in almost every cultural fit interview at OmbuLabs, and it is an important one.

We don’t expect that candidates know every single detail of our company before they apply, we know that the job hunt is long and can become repetitive. However, we do expect that they have basic knowledge of the company and we hope they have read through some things on the website before their first interview.

We want to hear about what values of ours align with theirs. What about our website caught their eye? What about our company culture spoke to them?

Ask us Questions

There is no bigger flag in a cultural fit interview than a candidate who says “No, I don’t think I have any questions”.

When preparing for an interview the applicant should take the time to really think about what they would want to know about the job or the company. We are looking for people who want to stay with us and work specifically with us. If a candidate doesn’t ask questions, it signals to us that they just want any job and they don’t really care what. That won’t make for a happy employee in the long run.

This doesn’t mean that applicants should pull a long list of questions off of the internet and ask them just for the sake of asking, it does mean that people should think about what they want to know about the company before they come to the interview. Questions like “What will my daily tasks be like?” are simple, but very important.

This will be a mutual relationship, we want both the candidate and the interviewer to come away from the meeting with a better understanding of each other and whether or not this would work.

In Conclusion

The candidate should use the interview to illustrate their skills, abilities, and experience. Using examples can help to enrich answers. Questions are extremely important. Being a self-starter, curious, and proactive will go a long way in the interview process, but also with being a part of the team at OmbuLabs.