Culture Fit Interview Questions and Answers

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Do you hire employees based on your assessment of their answers to interview questions that seek to understand their cultural fit? If you don't, you are missing a critical opportunity to determine whether the prospective employee will work successfully in your company.

Use these interview questions about cultural fit as a starting point to develop your own questions. The prospective employee's answers help you determine whether the candidate will work successfully in your organization. These are the types of responses that will indicate your candidate's fit with your organization.

Assess Cultural Fit

In interview question answers that assess cultural fit, you are seeking an employee who shares the values and principles that drive work and relationships in your organization. You are looking for an employee who will add value, not an employee who will take constant work and effort on your part to bring him or her into compliance with your workplace norms.

You want to hire an employee who shares a common understanding of how coworkers and customers are valued in your organization. You don't want to bring an aggressive, out-for-himself person into an organization that values collaboration, shared goals, mutual respect, and shared rewards, for example. You do not want to hire a nitpicking micro-manager into a company that stresses employee empowerment and reasonable risk-taking.

In conducting interviews with prospective employees, the cultural fit assessment is critical. It is so important that some companies schedule a cultural fit interview in addition to, and often before, the more traditional interviews to assess skills, experience, and potential contribution. Zappos is an example of a company that does a cultural assessment phone interview before scheduling regular onsite interviews. These examples illustrate the assessment of answers to cultural fit interview questions.

Interview Question Answers About the Core Value of Teamwork

Your company has determined that teamwork is a core value. These are the types of answers that will help you assess cultural fit. The candidate:

  • Expresses comfort, and even a preference, for working with and on teams.
  • Articulates his or her strengths in a team environment or working on a team.
  • Is able to discuss the role that he or she typically plays on a work team.
  • Describes a level of comfort how co-workers or bosses view his or her contribution in a teamwork environment.
  • Says we when describing accomplishments.
  • Attributes the success of endeavors to the group.
  • Does not say I and me in response to many questions.
  • When describing past approaches, problem-solving, achievements, endeavors, and projects, in response to other interview questions, includes forming a team or teamwork solutions as viable options.

    Interview Question Answers About the Core Value of Delighting Customers

    This is a second example that illustrates how to assess answers to cultural fit interview questions.

    Your company has determined that delighting customers is a core value. These are the types of answers that will help you assess cultural fit. The candidate:

    • Uses examples in his or her answers to interview questions that demonstrate a commitment to serving customers and meeting or exceeding customer needs.
    • Speaks of coworkers and other internal customers as if they are valued and worthy of service.
    • When asked about values, the purpose of the business, goals, and other related concepts lists the customer as the key reason for existing.
    • Has stories to tell during the interviews that illustrate serving customers.

    You will never find the perfect employee, the perfect manager, or the perfect boss, but you can find an employee who will contribute to, not tear apart, the work environment that you provide for employees. Carefully assessing your candidate's responses to cultural fit interview questions, as suggested in the above examples, will help you select an employee who will fit well into your workplace culture.