Top Culture-Fit Interview Questions
Think of these questions as conversation starters. They are a
springboard for a deeper discussion about how a candidate could
potentially fit into the culture of your
organization. This is your chance to convey the values of your
company to the candidate and identify potential concerns or red
flags about their fit.
1. Why do you want to work for our company?
Most candidates will probably be prepared to answer this common
question. Nonetheless, it's a great starting point for assessing the
candidate's knowledge and expectations of your company. Sofia
Quintero, CEO of EnjoyHQ, advises that
interviewers “focus on understanding the underlying motivations of
the candidate. Ask what success looks like to them and how they see
your company helping them achieve their personal goals.”
It's important to remember that there are no right or wrong answers
to these questions, nor do you want candidates to just parrot
talking points about your company. What you are looking for with
this answer is self-awareness and a peek into the respondent's core
motivations for seeking this role. It's a great sign if they can
point out the ways they will fit in with or strengthen your
Follow-up questions: Why are those attributes important to you?
How do you see yourself fitting into our company?
2. How would you describe the culture at previous companies you’ve worked at?
Getting candidates to talk about their past experiences gives you
insight into their views and opinions on company culture. It's a
good jumping-off point to discuss how your company culture stacks up
against a candidate's past experiences. Shrav Mehta from Pilot likes this question because finding out
what the candidate liked and disliked about past companies “can
yield some insight into what is valuable to the candidate.”
Their answer should illuminate the kind of cultural environment your
candidate is used to working in, and their attitude about that
environment. This can help you determine whether your company's
structure and atmosphere align with the candidate's preferences.
Follow-up questions: Did you enjoy working in that company
culture? What does a healthy work culture mean to you?
3. Tell me about a time you solved a problem at work. What was the issue, and how did you approach it?
Having a candidate recount anecdotes from their past can open a
window into their decision-making process and their behavior at
work. In this instance, you're asking them to illuminate their
ability to problem-solve by providing real-life examples.
The actual problem they describe is unimportant; what matters is how
they approached it and how that attitude aligns with your company's
values. Some companies stress the importance of teamwork and asking
for help, while other companies encourage independent
troubleshooting and initiative. Make sure that your candidate can
fulfill the job's responsibilities by using the resources available.
Follow-up questions: What do you wish you had done differently?
What would you have done if (XYZ) resource wasn't available to you?
4. Tell me about a team project you did at work. What was the project, what was your role, and what was the outcome?
Instead of asking a leading question like, “Do you prefer working on
a team?” ask them to describe a real-life example of their ability
to be a team player.
The candidate's answer will show you a number of things. Did they
like being part of a team? Do they blame others for failures or take
responsibility? Do they say they did most of the work, or do they
give credit to teammates? The answers to these questions can help
you determine how they might fit in with your existing team and what
kind of coworker they would be.
Follow-up questions: What do you think the team could have done
differently to improve results? What role would you like to play if
you were to repeat that same project with a new team?
5. How do you like to be managed?
Employees who thrive under
their supervisor are able to do their best work, while those who
struggle with their managers are more likely to underperform or
leave the company. With this question, your goal isn't to determine
the type of management style the candidate prefers; you're looking
for self-awareness about their work preferences.
Does the candidate know what they want from management, and can they
ask for it? Do they know how to manage themselves? Do they know what
type of direction they best respond to? How flexible can they be?
Most managers can accommodate workers with different preferences,
but only if the employee can be vocal about what they need to
Follow-up questions: Tell me about a disagreement you had with your
last manager. What was the issue, and how did you approach the
6. What does your perfect workday look like? Take me through it.
This question is one of Sofia Quintero's favorites: “This normally
helps me understand what they value on a daily basis. Do they value
routine and structure? Are they more productive in specific
conditions? It tells me a little bit about how they treat themselves
and that, in my opinion, is a good measure of how they will treat
A good answer to this question shows self-awareness and a level of
professional maturity. Do they have a best practice for tackling
email versus deep-concentration work? Do they protect their time
from distractions? Do they know they need routine and build it, or
do they know they need creative freedom and set the conditions for
that themselves? It's also a good sign if they show a level of
flexibility and an awareness that nobody has an ideal schedule every
Follow-up questions: What gets you excited about coming to work?
What would make you dread coming to work?
7. Provide an example of a time when you went out of your way to delight a customer.
If customer service is highly valued by your company, you can use
this question to test your candidate's commitment to that value. You
will learn far more by asking them to name an example of their
customer service prowess than you will by simply asking if they
believe in delighting customers.
Are they able to come up with a good example, and does it reflect
well on them? If they can't come up with a good story, or their
example of “going out of their way” is something your company
expects as standard, they may not match your values. But if they
have several great stories that show a commitment to customer
service, then they may be a good match.
Follow-up questions: What did you enjoy most about this interaction?
Can you name a time when you weren't able to make a customer happy?
8. Describe your preferred relationship with coworkers.
Some companies put a premium on fostering a friendly work
atmosphere, such as scheduling happy hours or team-building
activities, and are looking for employees that value this same
environment. Other companies find this to be a less important part
of the culture. No matter where you land on the spectrum, it's a
good idea to gauge a candidate's expectations and attitudes toward
Is your candidate all business, or do they treat coworkers like
friends, and how do those views align with your workplace culture?
If your employees are very social, then a candidate who
yearns to cultivate deeper relationships with coworkers is a good
fit. If your company prefers to keep relationships professional,
then a party animal who loves community happy hour may not fit in.
Follow-up: Talk about a time you had a conflict with a coworker
and how you resolved it.