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13 Interview Questions to Ensure a Cultural Fit

Your employees can help shape your culture in a huge way, so when you’re hiring someone new, it’s important that you hire someone who fits your culture. There should be a good match between your company’s values and your job candidate’s values. If not (and you hire the candidate), there’s a good chance that neither of you will be happy in the long run. During the interview process, ask the right questions to determine if someone is a cultural fit and aligns with your values.

Cultural Fit Interview Questions

During the interview process, your candidate’s answers to these questions will help you gauge whether they’d fit into your culture and would enjoy working for your company.

1. What was your first job? What did you learn from it?

It doesn’t really matter what your candidate’s first job was. What matters, however, is what they learned from that job. Listen to their answer to see if they learned anything that still applies, like reliability, a strong work ethic, or creativity. Compare their lessons learned to your culture. Do they fit together?

2. Why do you want to work for this company?

Look for answers that tell you whether your candidate is just looking for a paycheck or if they’re actually interested in becoming part of the team.

3. Were you ever asked to do something that you didn’t know how to do? How did you handle it?

In a small business, every employee will inevitably take on multiple roles, and they might not always know exactly what to do. Make sure you find employees who are flexible and willing to learn on the job. They should also be able to think on their feet and have strong problem solving skills.

4. What environment do you thrive in the most?

Based on your candidate’s answer, you’ll be able to determine whether they prefer to work alone or as part of a team. You’ll also be able to figure out if they prefer a flexible schedule or a traditional 9-5 schedule. Ask yourself if your candidate’s ideal environment matches your company’s culture.

5. What does your ideal work day look like?

Like figuring out your candidate’s ideal work environment, this question will help you figure out how they prefer to work. Does the candidate like to listen to music during the day? Do they like to take breaks to chat with their coworkers? Do they prefer to come in and get their work done with few interruptions? Their answer will help you determine whether they’ll be a cultural fit.

6. What are your personal values? How do they align with the company’s values?

These questions give you more insight into your candidate. They’ll also have to think about your company’s values and convince you that their values line up with yours.

7. What characteristics were exhibited by the best boss you ever had?

Your candidate’s answer will help you learn what motivates them and if you and your leadership team exhibit the same characteristics as your candidate’s favorite boss.

8. How do you feel about being friends with your coworkers?

Look for an answer that matches your company’s culture. If the candidate does not want to be friends with their coworkers, but your current team goes out for drinks after work, then this candidate probably won’t fit in.

9. How well do you adapt to change?

As your small business grows, things can and will change quickly. Every team member should be open to growing with your business. Look for any answers that might suggest that the candidate doesn’t handle change well.

10. What personality traits do you butt heads with?

You’ve probably figured out your employees’ personalities, so you’ll be able to determine whether the candidate would butt heads with someone else in the team.

11. Who inspires you? Why?

Your candidate’s answer tells you even more about their values. You’ll learn what qualities they value in a person, so you can compare those values to your company’s values.

12. Why do you come to work every morning?

This answer will again tell you if someone is just looking for a paycheck or if they’re excited about working for your company and helping it grow.

13. When working with a team, what role would you most likely play?

You already know what roles your employees play in your team, so you want to make sure your candidate is filling a missing role and won’t be butting heads with other team members.