How does the TestGorilla culture add test work?

The TestGorilla culture add test uses a series of questionnaires that enable you to hire for culture in an objective, measurable, and repeatable way.

Nearly four decades after the first variant of the adage “culture eats strategy for breakfast” appeared in print, there seems to be no consensus in business circles on how to hire for culture—or even if you should at all.

The challenge is that culture is not a tangible thing. Culture is a set of values that a team holds collectively (whether consciously or unconsciously) and is expressed in the behaviors and actions that individuals members of that team take on a daily basis. As such, culture has been historically hard to define in an objective and quantifiable way that could be leveraged for hiring.

At TestGorilla we’ve created a test to help you do just that: hire for culture in an objective, measurable, and repeatable way. We call it the culture add test because it helps you identify and hire individuals who can thrive at your organization and make positive contributions to its culture. 

How the TestGorilla culture add test measures culture alignment

To measure something objectively you need a standardized measure against which to evaluate it. To measure many things objectively, you need to evaluate all of them against the same measure and compare the results. 

That’s no revelation. It’s the reason we have things like rulers, scales, and standard cup sizes. It’s also the reason we offer skills tests at TestGorilla. A candidate’s years of experience can’t reveal how skilled the candidate is in an area and how skilled they are in comparison to other candidates. A standardized skills test can. 

The TestGorilla culture add test does the same thing but for your culture. It begins by setting the standard for your culture through a questionnaire you complete and then uses the same instrument to measure your candidates’ alignment.

The test evaluates alignment on three parameters: 

  1. Values: We measure how each candidate’s personal values align with your organizational values.
  2. Behaviors: We measure how the behaviors each candidate exhibits within their role align with the behaviors you’re looking to bring to your team through the specific role.
  3. Activities: We measure how the activities each candidate likes to perform within their role align with the activities you’re looking to fulfill through your open role. 

The first part of the test helps you build a strong foundation by measuring the alignment of values between your organization and your candidates. The last two parts help you determine and evaluate the behaviors and activities that will round out your team and its current culture into a more diverse and innovative group.

How the test measures values, behaviors, and activities

To measure the three parameters for the culture add test and set a standard for your candidates, we give you a list of relevant words in each category and ask you to rate their importance on a scale of one to five. 

We then give each candidate the same lists of words (without showing them your scoring) and ask them to select the 10 words from each category that most apply to them. Once candidates submit their selection, they are automatically scored based on the ratings you provided. Then you can see how well candidates align with your organization. 

In addition to overall comparison scores, you can also see the specific words each candidate chose, so you can discuss their choices and what they mean to them at a deeper level during a culture add interview to understand why the candidate made certain choices. These discussions can provide additional context about how candidates align with your team and the contributions they can make to your culture.  

Values apply to your entire organization and you should keep the same ratings across all your roles. 

Examples of values include:

  • Achievement
  • Equality
  • Independence

    Many of the values on our list will not match the exact words you use to define your company values, but that’s totally fine. In fact, it can actually benefit you, as candidates won’t be able to quickly guess your10 most important values based on your company website.

    Behaviors relate to how candidates approach their work and what you consider essential for success in a particular role.

    Unlike values, desirable behaviors will vary from role to role based on the needs of the role and the current composition of the team.

    Example traits include:

    • Analytical 
    • Diligent
    • Helpful

    By screening candidates for particular behaviors from role to role (and defining those behaviors in advance), you can identify and interview a diverse roster of employees. That’s because when you look at behaviors in a standardized way across your candidates, you avoid subjective assessments and assumptions based on factors like background, race, ethnicity, gender, and other parameters that could (unconsciously) influence your evaluation of a candidate). 

    Activities are high-level task categories that relate to how an employee will be spending most of their time.

    This outlines the activities that a role involves and the activities you’d like to add to your team and culture. Candidates who enjoy these same activities will demonstrate strong alignment with what you’re looking for.

    Example activities include:

    • Strategizing 
    • Designing 
    • Coaching 

    Similar to behaviors, interests can be prioritized based on the current composition of the team. For example, if you have a team of hands-on doers, you can balance the team out by hiring someone who prefers to tackle strategy.

    Rating what you’re looking for in a new team member across the three parameters of values, behaviors, and activities will allow you to define both the core of your culture and the additions you’re looking to bring into it through your new hire.

    Tip: Be strict with your 1-5 ratings for each word. While you’ll find merit in a lot of the words listed, assign high scores only to the ones that truly differentiate you as a company or that would truly make your candidates stand out. Give all other words a low score (1 or 2).

    Doing so will lead to greater differentiation among candidate scores, allowing you to better identify the candidates that will help you build the team and culture you desire.

    Taking the culture add survey

    If you add the culture add test to your assessment, you are being prompted to take the culture add survey on the screen where you can invite your candidates. By filling out the survey, we can display the culture add scores for your candidates. This is how you get access to the survey: