Finding candidates who meet the required skills and qualifications for your open positions may be your top priority when it comes to hiring. But in addition to hiring based on your job requirements, you should focus on hiring candidates who fit best within your company’s culture. Assessing culture fit will allow you to look beyond the candidates’ experience and qualifications to determine if attitudes, work ethic and workplace values align with your company.

Experts suggest a cultural misfit is the No. 1 reason new hires leave a job. To avoid the cost of a potentially wrong hire, you should make culture fit assessments part of the hiring and recruiting process. According to hiring expert Lou Adler, there are a few key areas of an applicant’s work experience HR can focus on to assess culture fit. Here we discuss three of those focus areas and provide questions you can ask throughout the candidate screening and interview process.

Past Accomplishments in Relation to Work Environments

By examining a workplace environment in which a candidate was able to put forth her best work, you can get a sense of the type of culture that allows a person to thrive, Adler suggests. For example, candidates who were successful in a previous job at a startup may continue to thrive in a fast-paced environment. Large-scale organizations that are slower to change exhibit a different corporate culture that could hinder employees who need momentum to excel.

To learn more about a candidate’s accomplishments in past work environments, ask the following questions:

  • In what type of work environment are you most successful?
  • What are the most positive aspects of your previous work environment?
  • What is the single most important factor that must be present in your work environment for you to be successful and happy?

Job Structure and Work Style

Some jobs are more structured than others, and how a candidate performs considering the pace of the role can be telling about how the candidate will fit into your company’s work culture. For instance, a creative individual with past success in a free-flowing environment could experience culture shock if tossed into a heavily supervised environment.

To determine if the job structure and company pace align with the candidate’s preferred work style, here are a few questions you can ask:

  • What is your preferred work style? Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team?
  • How would your former coworkers describe your work style?
  • Describe the role in which you were most productive and happy.

Managerial Relationships

The hiring manager’s managerial style can be another critical factor when evaluating culture fit. “Subordinate needs vary from those requiring heavy direction and supervision to those wanting none,” says Adler. “The in-betweens include those that are trainable, coachable and manageable.” Because managerial relationships are important to job satisfaction, performance and motivation, you must be able to assess culture fit based on how successful the candidate has been working under different management styles.

Investigate a candidate’s culture fit based on management styles by asking the following types of questions:

  • How have you worked best with past managers?
  • What do you think are the most effective roles a good manager plays in your relationship?
  • Describe the management style that motivates you and inspires you to do your best work.

Culture fit questions can be easily incorporated into your online applications.