When recruiting, assessing if a candidate meshes well with your team is as important as evaluating their qualifications and skills. The concept of ‘team fit’ revolves around how well a new employee’s personality gels with the existing company culture. It’s a vital aspect of the hiring process, as working with someone who doesn’t fit can disrupt your team’s dynamics and impact your company negatively.

How Do You Know if an Employee is a Good Team Fit?

Happy employees are more productiveUnderstanding your company’s culture is the starting point for hiring for team fit. This involves a clear definition of your company’s values, objectives, and customary practices. Integrating this understanding into your recruitment process enables you to identify candidates who are not just skilled but also resonate with your work environment. It’s about seeking a candidate who can contribute positively to your team’s dynamics. In doing so, consider the mix of personalities within your current team. A diverse range of characters who collaborate effectively is desirable. If an employee feels that their unique personality is an asset to the company, it often leads to higher job satisfaction and productivity, potentially by as much as 12%.

The negative impact of a poor personality fit within a team is a wide-ranging issue that can lead to significant disruptions in team dynamics, productivity, and individual well-being. A simple internet search will tell you it’s clear that when an individual’s personality does not align well with the team or organizational culture, it can have far-reaching consequences.

The cost of poor fit

One key aspect of this issue is the concept of cultural fit, which refers to the alignment between an individual’s values and those of the organisation or team. When there is a mismatch in this area, it can lead to a sense of strain or discomfort for the individual, negatively impacting their performance and well-being. This can be particularly pronounced in cases where, for example, an introverted individual is placed in an environment that heavily favours extroverted traits, such as open-plan offices or frequent social gatherings. Such a poor fit not only affects the individual’s job satisfaction but can also lead to mental and physical health issues.

Organisational psychologist John Morse’s study in 1975 found that individuals in jobs that matched their personality felt more competent and had higher self-esteem. Conversely, poor cultural fit can lead to depression, anxiety, and even shorten life expectancy due to the stress and dissatisfaction it generates​​.

Another angle of this is the impact of personality types on team performance and job satisfaction. Teams are made up of individuals with different personality types, and when these types don’t align well, it can lead to conflicts, misunderstandings, and reduced team cohesion. A study by The Myers-Briggs Company highlighted how individual and collective team personality types influence perceptions of team performance and job satisfaction. For example, team members who value collaboration and harmony might clash with those who prioritize concrete results over interpersonal dynamics. These different approaches can create tension and dissatisfaction within the team. The study also found that the perceived performance of the team leader, which is influenced by their personality type, has a strong correlation with individual job satisfaction. This suggests that the leader’s ability to manage and harmonize these diverse personality types is crucial for maintaining a positive team environment​​.

Make the Most of the Interview

During the interview process, maintaining an objective perspective is vital. Avoid relying solely on instinct, as perception of a candidate can vary significantly based on personal biases. For example, a trait perceived as arrogance by one interviewer might be interpreted as assertiveness by another. The objective is to look beyond first impressions to gauge how a candidate might integrate into your team and align with your company culture.

total costs are 90% to 200% of annual salary which is why team fit is so importantLooking through a wider lens to ensure you’re representing your company, and the team the candidate will be joining, is crucial. With research indicating that total costs associated with employee turnover can cost 30% to 150% of that person’s salary, hiring someone who isn’t a fit for the company is not a risk worth taking. You cannot know for sure if someone will fit in with your organisational culture, but using the interview process can help you get a feel for the person’s personality and decide if they’re a good fit for the job.

The interview is where you’ll get a feel for the kind of person that candidate is and whether they’ll be a good fit for your team. Get the most out of the interview process and use your organisational culture to form your behavioural questions. This will show you whether a candidate aligns with your company vision or not, and whether they’re a good fit for your organisation’s values. Remember, personality traits are often more fixed than technical skills, which can be developed over time. However, by using the interview process to ask behavioural questions and carry out assessments, you can discover the core elements that make up the interviewee’s personality.

Behavioural Interview Questions

Interview timeThe focus of behavioural interview questions is to uncover a candidate’s soft skills. These soft skills are skills that are part of a person’s personality, such as teamwork skills, problem solving skills, and communication skills. Whether you require much in the way of soft skills depends on the role you’re interviewing for. For instance, when hiring a Software Team Lead you would be looking for excellent communication, leadership, and problem solving skills.

Based on your requirements, ask the interviewee a time they demonstrated the skill you’re looking for in the workplace. For example, “Tell me about a time where you struggled to meet a project deadline?” or another question, “Tell me about a time you overcame a conflict within a team.” By getting specific examples and understanding how they have reacted you’ll be able to determine whether their approach will be a suitable fit for your company. If you’d like to know more about which interview questions to ask, you can take a look at our previous comments on this year’s top 10 technology interview questions.

Psychometric Assessments for team fit

Psychometric assessments can be very useful when hiring, however there seems to be a bit of misinformation, and unfortunately, misuse, of what is otherwise a very powerful tool. Understanding when and why an assessment is to be used is critical, as is the selection of the type of assessment you’re going to use. Remember that these are not ‘tests’ to be passed or failed, and psychometrics should not be used for selection purposes in the way you might assume.

Personality assessments are a helpful tool in understanding aspects of personality and preference, but first consider what you’re getting from the experience and define some profiles that you are and aren’t looking for with your assessment provider. To ensure assessments are evaluated in an appropriate context, a lot of pre-work needs to be done. There are a wide number of different types of psychometric assessment available, but most centre around cognitive and personality questionnaires that measure a candidate’s personality, behavioural preferences and sometimes, knowledge, against an appropriate group of peers and respondents. They bring a scientific approach to the art of team building and selection and can give you a better insight into the needs of your preferred candidate in a range of work-related and interpersonal scenarios.

Remember: Assessments not Tests

The end result is that you can develop more tailored training initiatives, and ensure the new employee will be supported to contribute to your company long-term. Although for employers, psychometrics can be a helpful hiring tool, they can also be used as a development tool for both employer and employee, identifying aspects they may need to improve on and helping both parties long-term. Before conducting any assessments, we recommend asking for expert advice. A specialist recruiter, such as Sourced, can discuss with you which assessments (or one of Sourced’s talent solutions) best suit the needs of your company and hiring process in order to find what you’re looking for when it comes to team fit.



Although interviews can give you an idea of a candidate’s personality, that idea is only based on one interaction. By effectively using a candidate’s referees, you can back up any data or evidence that you’ve gathered. The referees a candidate provides will have built strong professional relationships with them throughout their career. Though it might seem obvious, getting in touch with referees can give you testimonials from former employers, colleagues, or tutors. While able to back up the candidate’s skills and experience, referees can also speak on their personality.


When you’re hiring someone, the most important thing is to have a strong understanding of who your team and your company are. Although you can never know for sure when it comes to team fit, using facts and evidence to supplement your own brand awareness gives you a better idea of what to look for. A good hire is someone competent, motivated and a successful team fit. When you have all three of these components, they’ll add something special to your team and contribute to your company long-term. If you need assistance and want to feel more confident with your hiring choices, get in touch with our experts at Sourced.

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