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In Print The Essentials

Hiring for Cultural Fit


The best hires for your organization are the ones which fit best with your organizational culture. As the saying goes, “hire on attitude, train on skill.” Of course, our industry does have a minimum specific skillset requirement, but by following a strategic values-driven approach to recruiting, you can improve the chances of getting a good culture fit with your team.

As the first step in hiring, an initial phone interview is a quick way to screen candidates to assess their level of passion, enthusiasm and interpersonal skills. Rather than the standard interview questions, ask behavioral questions that are tailored and aligned to your organizational values. If you value the importance of a high-quality member experience, an example question may be, “Tell me about a time when you went out of your way to provide exceptional customer service?”

Ask relevant questions about what they know about your business. Have they done any research? Always take the time to discuss your company history and core values to check alignment with cultural fit.

If you have enough applicants, a group interview provides an excellent opportunity to view applicants in a more realistic environment than just one-on-one. Team tasks and activities in this format not only assess knowledge and skill, but also assess engagement and observation around leadership, teamwork and initiative.

For fitness-based roles, where applicants progress to the next stage, a surprise gym floor practicum is an invaluable tool to observe the applicants thinking on their feet. Simply give them a staff shirt and a name badge, and ask them to walk the floor. Observe body language and how the conversation with members starts. Notice who they speak to, which part of the gym do they gravitate to? Do they just go straight to people their own age in the weights room? If they do, then they’re probably not the right fit if you’re looking for customer service advocates on your team.


Kristen Green is the executive general manager at AquaFit. Email her at kgreen@aquafit.com.au.


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