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Are you a match with the company? Be prepared for these culture-fit interview questions

Are you a match with the company? Be prepared for these culture-fit interview questions

Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina

  • 7 Common culture fit questions, and what they’re actually asking
  • Culture interview questions: don't forget
  • Key takeaways

Aligning with a company’s culture is more important than you’d expect. Learn about how you can utilize questions in your next interview to determine if the fit is right for you.

When employers are conducting interviews for a pool of applicants, they are looking for the right personality just as much as they’re looking for great qualifications. One of the ways a recruiter determines if a candidate will be a good fit is to ask questions that gauge if they’ll click with the existing team. This idea is often referred to as a culture fit. 

Culture fit interview questions won’t necessarily be described as such during the interview. There won’t be a portion of the interview called ‘culture fit’. Most likely, the questions will be casually slid into the conversation. 

Be prepared for this genre of question to pop up during your next interview so that you can apply the best strategy for yourself. We’ve provided some of the most common culture fit questions to help you think ahead. 

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • 7 of the most common culture fit questions that you’ll be asked during an interview. 

  • How to use culture fit questions to your advantage. 

  • Using these types of questions to influence your standing in a company

7 Common culture fit questions, and what they’re actually asking

When you read through this list of common culture fit questions, take some time to think about it from the perspective of someone hiring. What might they be trying to derive from your answer, and how can you represent yourself in a way that appeases their needs too?

1. How do you handle stress and pressure?

With this question, you are being asked about conflict management and time management. Do you have the tools to self-regulate when you’re under a lot of pressure? Do you buckle under stress and not complete your tasks? Or do you rise above it and commit to following through?

A great way to take  this question, is to use it as  a story prompt such as, “Tell me about a time that you were put under a lot of pressure to do well at something, and how did you respond?”

2. What is your ideal company culture?

There is no wrong way to answer this question. This is a genuine opportunity for you to describe your ideal. Stray away from describing environments that you wouldn’t thrive in. Instead, focus on illustrating a culture in which you would thrive. 

Do you prefer being given explicit directions, or do you like being given an outcome for which you create the path to get there?

Do you like a co-working environment, or do you do best in assigned workspaces?

Do you feel motivated by a manager who checks in frequently, or does that kind of attention end up stressing you out?

Are weekly meetings a fun way to connect with your work community, or do they frustrate you for taking time away from your work?

These are the types of details to consider before your interview so you’ll be prepared to give an authentic answer.

3. What values are you drawn to?

This question is pretty straightforward. Excellent workplace values could be: work-life balance, dependability, integrity, inclusion, social awareness, tolerance, and consistent follow-through.

4. What makes you excited about coming to work?

Maybe it’s the people, the environment, the mission, or just knowing that you’re earning a paycheck every time you walk through the door. 

Some people love knowing what’s expected of them. They can show up to work, receive the day’s directives, and go on autopilot to achieve them.

Other people love not knowing. They never know what the day is going to hold, and that is thrilling. 

Whichever side of the line you fall on, this is a great prompt for describing it. 

5. What is your leadership style?

This is another question with no wrong answer. And it’s a very valuable question to ask every person in a work team. Leadership comes in many forms, there’s no one right way to be a leader. So think about your experience in leadership roles, and find a way to describe it. 

Are you assertive, passive, go with-the-flow, or hyperactive? Are you a team player or do you work best when flying solo?

Do you have an easy time coming up with solutions, or are you better at achieving solutions designed by others? 

Do you like to give directions, or do you prefer to trust that others can come up with their own paths?

Alternatively, if you prefer to not be in a leadership role, this is a great time to state it. 

6. What do you need to be productive?

For some people, it’s a standing desk and the freedom to wear headphones and slippers to work. 

Some people have the best productivity when they work from their home office, are off by 4 pm every day, or only work four days a week. 

Some people like a quiet space isolated from others, while some people work best with background chatter.

There are some people whose productivity declines if they’re in front of a window, and the exact opposite is true for others. 

Be specific and honest when answering this question. A good employer will do what they can to meet you where you’re most productive. 

7. How would your friends describe you?

This question is aiming to understand you in a non-professional light. In a way, it's gauging your morals and ethics. Who are you when you don’t have office rules guiding your behavior?

This is absolutely a time to market yourself. You want to come off as a well-rounded individual, with a solid head on your shoulders. 

This is also a good time to think about the direction in which you want your career to go. For example, if you’d like to move into a leadership role, think of words that describe a leader.

A leader, a team player, determined, a great listener, driven, accomplished, and decisive. These are all great descriptions. 

Culture interview questions: don't forget

Finding the right company culture should be just as important to you as it is to your potential employer. You have a right to ask questions too. Try asking some of these same questions during your next interview. 

Key takeaways

  1. Answer honestly, it will end up helping you reach your dream company culture.

  2. Be strategic. his could position you well for career growth.

  3. Prepare your answers ahead of time.

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