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Although candidate experience, achievements and education are prioritized during the recruitment process, finding employees who will seamlessly integrate into the company culture is equally important. Candidates who fit company culture will experience less friction during onboarding and training, and will complement the dynamics of the existing team.
Recruiters should keep the company and team culture in mind when asking interview questions to ensure the right candidate is hired. Employers can assess whether a candidate will fit the company culture by asking strategic culture fit questions during interviews.
Company culture interview questions are not only a great way for employers to assess whether the candidate will fit the team; they also give insight to candidates which can help them make informed decisions during their job hunt.
Company culture is the lifestyle and attitudes that a company and its employees practices. Company culture permeates throughout the business, and impacts everything from workload, employee interactions, and communications to office facilities and events.
Cultural fit is an evaluation of whether a potential employee’s values, experiences and priorities will blend well with the company’s existing practices. Therefore, cultural fit interview questions are an important part of the interviewing process.
Company culture is an integral part of a company’s practices that impacts the way employees work. A company’s culture is unlikely to change drastically and is a widely accepted part of employee lifestyles. By asking cultural fit interview questions, you can evaluate how candidates would handle both positive and negative aspects of the job, beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.
Cultural fit interview questions give you insight into candidates’ work habits, priorities, work styles, social expectations and ambitions. This information can allow you to envision potential new hires working with the existing team, and determine if they are an appropriate cultural fit. Asking interview questions about company culture can help you avoid issues and conflicts between existing employees and new hires.
Depending on the specifics of a company's culture, cultural fit interview questions can vary in detail. Culture fit questions can be very straightforward or abstract, and there are usually no right or wrong answers. Here is a list of 20 culture fit interview questions you can use or practice with when interviewing for cultural fit:
This cultural fit interview question allows interviewers to understand your work style and methods, determining whether you align with their productivity and work goals.
For artistic or innovative industries, questions about culture will usually explore candidate motivations, passions and ambitions, and how they translate into work ethic.
Whether or not the role is a leadership position, culture fit questions will likely have a leadership-related question, to determine whether work styles conflict with the management structure.
Positions in teams or large departments require candidates who are capable and open to working with teams. Team fit interview questions like these will help recruiters understand the dynamics employees work best in, which can directly impact their ability to fulfill the role.
Asking directly about the company’s appeal will allow candidates to share their true intentions behind applying. Candidates who speak only about their experience, advertised work duties, promotions or pay likely did not research the company culture.
Disagreements are a normal part of working in teams; however, recruiters want to hear how candidates handled the situation professionally. This team fit question will determine a candidate's ability to handle conflict and different work styles.
Although not explicitly related to company culture, organizational fit interview questions are often asked in workplaces where protocols, methods or laws need to be adhered to. Candidates who do not acknowledge the importance of this are likely not a good fit.
For client-facing roles, culture fit questions will prompt candidates to share their boundaries and priorities in their client relationships, and whether they align with company practices.
Explicitly asking for qualities, values or priorities when interviewing for cultural fit will allow recruiters to directly compare answers between candidates, and with target answers. It also provides a snapshot into their attitudes towards management.
Cultural fit interview questions can very bluntly imply the expectations of the role. For roles with deliverables, deadlines or frequent business trips, cultural interview questions will ask directly for a candidate's opinion.
Culture fit questions unrelated to work are asked to give recruiters a better idea of the candidate's personality either directly or indirectly. Hobbies such as sports, arts, team and cultural activities can show candidate motivation, interests, tolerance and ambition.
For roles with a steep learning curve or innovative practices, cultural fit interview questions will ask about learning styles. As most culture fit interview questions do not have a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, this question is more for candidates to share how they will approach joining a new team.
This is another organizational fit interview question as it relates to interactions with managers or bosses. This work culture interview question allows recruiters to understand how well a candidate will adjust to workplace goals, evaluations and management.
Often asked in tandem with the previous question, this organizational fit interview question allows recruiters to evaluate a candidate's resilience, especially for high-pressure roles. Culture fit questions should bring up the realities of work, such as negative feedback.
This work culture interview question provides valuable insight into ways potential employees’ would interact with managers and leaders. When interviewing for cultural fit, recruiters also are looking for ambitious, motivated candidates who can improve the business as well.
Culture fit interview questions are also an opportunity to determine whether a candidate's expectations are reasonable for the role they are interviewing for. Candidates with vague or unreasonable answers are unlikely to fit with the company culture.
There are many reasons employees leave their previous roles. This culture fit interview question can allow recruiters to evaluate whether the positives of a candidate's previous work environment are applicable to the role they’re interviewing for.
The opposite of the previous culture fit question, interview questions about company culture often explore whether a candidate’s work style is simply mismatched with the company’s fit. Recruiters will be listening out for aspects of company culture which are also present in the open position.
Culture fit segments of interviews will often ask about social aspects of work, as employees spend all day together. Recruiters might ask interview questions to determine personality fit in workplaces where social events, lunches, meetings or clients are involved.
A candidate's answer to this interview question about company culture can give recruiters a well-rounded answer regarding preferred work styles, social priorities and work-life balance.
Although culture fit interview questions can give recruiters insight into a candidate's work priorities and personality, “cultural fit” is a rather abstract concept in recruiting. Cultural fit is a mixture of intangible qualities, which can be difficult to assess. When forming culture fit questions to ask in a cultural fit interview, consider these principles to guide your evaluation of potential new employees:
Many companies have their values which they use throughout all practices. Recruiters can source company values from company websites or from HR, and use them as a basis for directing culture fit interviews.
A company might have a core belief or ethos which they use to guide the business. Company beliefs are often reflected in their company culture, workflow and goals, and can be incorporated in cultural fit interview questions.
Behaviors of a company involve the actions and attitudes which companies encourage in their employees. Work-life balance, professional development and improving skills are examples of behaviors which recruiters can consider when forming cultural fit interview questions.
When asking interview questions to assess cultural fit, there are further things to consider. Here are our tips for conducting cultural fit interviews, and the best ways to prepare for interview questions about company culture:
✅ Be aware of personal biases:
Avoiding discrimination is a requirement for the recruiting process, and cultural interview questions should be worded appropriately. However, everyone is subject to subconscious biases, and being aware of this can help you objectively conduct culture fit interviews.
Cultural fit interviews are a way for recruiters to hire the most compatible new employees; however, this might interfere with inclusivity practices. Instead of trying to find the perfect cultural ‘fit’, think of ways candidates might add positively to company culture as well. Using open-ended cultural fit interview questions is a great way to allow candidates to share a variety of experiences.
✅ Ask the team for suggestions:
Ask the existing team what they would like from a new hire. Confirm what skills, experience and education is necessary, and then ask for their opinions on preferred work styles, priorities and personality traits. Then, ask team fit interview questions with what the team mentioned in mind. Another tip is to make a mental note of the team dynamics, and envision candidates working with them during team fit interviews.
✅ Make sure you understand the company culture:
As the example cultural fit interview questions have mentioned, knowing what the company’s values, lifestyle and expectations are will help you direct culture fit interviews. Interviewing for cultural fit requires an understanding of company culture, organizational practices and team dynamics; so doing internal research can help form high-quality cultural fit interview questions.
Cultural fit interviews require preparation by both the recruiter and the candidates. Based on the role or company, recruiters should tailor their culture fit interview questions to reflect the lifestyle of the company, and to attract the right candidates. Team fit interviews should keep the team’s feedback, requests and dynamics in mind, to hire a candidate that assimilates naturally into the role. Most importantly, company culture interview questions should reflect the company’s values, beliefs and behaviors, and avoid bias.
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--- Originally written by Bronte McNamara ---