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Top 10 Culture Interview Questions With Answers

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When applying for a new job, you’re bound to face a series of culture interview questions.

Rather than focusing on skill and experience alone, culture interviews evaluate applicants by their work culture.

With that said, personality inside and outside the workplace matters as much as accolades.

These are the top 10 culture interview questions a job seeker should prepare for.

10 Common Culture Interview Questions

One of the best ways to prepare is by familiarizing yourself with some common culture interview questions.

After all, it won’t do you well if you’re caught off guard by a question you don’t know how to answer.

Once you’ve got an idea of the types of questions, you’ll have a better chance of being a good culture fit for the company.

Here are 10 of the most common culture interview questions you can expect:

  1. What motivates you to be productive?
  2. Which type of work environment do you best fit in?
  3. How did your previous workmates describe you?
  4. What are your thoughts on taking work home with you?
  5. What made you apply for this position?
  6. Do you like to work by yourself or with a team?
  7. Why work with us?
  8. What makes you consider quitting a job?
  9. How do you deal with disagreements in the workplace?
  10. Which of our core values relate to you the most?

While a cultural fit interview can likely have these questions, it doesn’t end there.

There are other types of interview questions you need to be ready for.

For instance, if a position requires you to work with a team a lot, you might encounter some collaboration interview questions.

It’s best to bank on teamwork-driven qualities and experiences for these questions.

You can also expect some peer interview questions.

These questions will test your communication skills and how you build relationships with colleagues.

What Should I Say in a Culture Interview?

Knowing what kind of questions to prepare for in a cultural fit interview is the first step.

Once you have that down, you have to think about how you’ll respond.

You don’t have to memorize your answers. All you need is to understand the questions and have an idea of what to say when they’re asked.

What Skills Are Culture Interviewers Looking For in a Candidate?

An employer asks culture interview questions to gauge your behavior and work ethic.

Since each company has its own set of goals and vision, your employer would like to know how you’ll fit into their corporate culture.

These are some of the traits your employer might look for in a potential employee:

  • Good interpersonal skills: Interpersonal skills sum up how you behave and interact with your heads and colleagues in the workplace.
  • Adaptable: Each company has a different culture and management style you need to adapt to when looking for a new job.
  • Good personality: Your employer can determine if the company culture is suitable to your personality traits.
  • Professional attitude: Professional attitude shows how capable you are in separating your personal life from work.
  • Initiative: Having the initiative to take on tasks you’re allowed to without waiting to be asked is a commendable trait for your employer.

What Traits Are Culture Interviewers Looking to Avoid in a Candidate?

In contrast to the desirable qualities above, here are some traits employers won’t welcome:

  • Dishonest: Credibility is important in the workplace, so if you show any signs of dishonesty, your employer can reject you immediately.
  • Entitled: Standing out is not hard if you’ve got a good set of skills and achievements, but if you brag about them too much, it’ll seem like you think you’re better than everyone else.
  • Close-minded: You must always show openness to change, as it’s an important factor in growth and improvement.

Sample Culture Interview Questions and Answers

Anything can happen in a job interview, so give importance to your interview preparation.

The general rule of thumb is to never underestimate your interviewers.

On that note, here’s how you can prepare for the ten common culture interview questions.

1. What Motivates You to Be Productive?

Productivity is an important trait to have for any applicant, regardless of the field.

This helps determine how much the company can benefit from you.

Why This Question is Asked

This culture fit interview question gauges if you’re worth investing in.

Since productivity is always equivalent to profit in business terms, the employer will try to find out if you can be productive in the company’s setup.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Try to think of ideal and realistic ways that help motivate an employee to be more productive.

Give concrete examples such as a supportive work environment, open communication, and adequate resources.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid vague and generic answers.

When mentioning specific work principles and activities for boosting productivity, be sure they’re feasible.

Example Answer

I aim to be as productive as I can to deliver the work that’s expected of me. However, I feel motivated to do more in a work environment where I can freely discuss ideas and feedback with my team.

2. Which Type of Work Environment Do You Best Fit in?

While there are many different types of work environments, trust and cooperation should be at their core.

As for the physical environment, safety and efficiency are what need to be considered most.

Why This Question is Asked

An interviewer asks this question to see if you’ll fit perfectly with how the company runs things.

They also want to know if you can work in the company’s specific office design and physical environment.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

The goal is to find out how the company operates and what office setup they have.

If the company has a fast-paced work environment, it’s best you mention how experienced you are at meeting deadlines.

Having different backgrounds and cultural diversity is good, but focus on what fits their specific corporate culture.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid describing a work environment that completely opposes the company culture.

Better yet, don’t apply for a company with a work environment you know you can’t adapt to or are uncomfortable with.

Example Answer

I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues to produce the best outputs. I believe in the efficiency of sharing ideas in an open environment to ensure our goals are aligned with the company.

3. How Did Your Previous Workmates Describe You?

Your behavior in the workplace reflects how your previous workmates see you.

Why This Question is Asked

This behavioral interview question is meant to scale your strengths and work personality to see if you’ll be a good cultural fit for the company.

It also tests your cultural awareness as an employee.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

For obvious reasons, you’d want to flaunt the strengths and qualities your previous workmates see in you.

If you’ve built good relationships with your previous colleagues, it’ll reflect on how they see you.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t make things up. Remember that companies have a way of finding out if someone has a bad track record.

If you do have a good track record, avoid being overly confident.

Example Answer

I try my best to maintain a healthy relationship with my colleagues. With the help of our peer reviews, I found out that they see me as a strong leader who enjoys collaboration and helps those in need.

4. What Are Your Thoughts on Taking Work Home With You?

Sometimes you might be requested to work on something outside your work hours.

This can be due to backlog or sudden spikes in workload.

Why This Question is Asked

Your interviewer can use this question to see how willing you are to work extra, in case of unforeseen events.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

It may not sound ideal, but try to be open to the possibility of having an extra workload.

You have to assure your interviewer that you’re flexible and willing to help within reason.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

While work-life balance is definitely important, try to avoid being too against the idea of bringing work home.

It’ll make it sound like you don’t care if the company faces an unexpected issue.

Example Answer

I always aim to finish what I’m expected to work on in a timely manner. It’s important for me to keep a healthy work-life balance. However, I understand the need for an employee to adapt to certain situations to meet business needs. In such cases, I’m willing to lend a hand for the right purpose.

5. What Made You Apply for This Position?

You’ll likely encounter this question in almost any position in any industry.

It measures how knowledgeable you are in a specific field, as well as your motivation.

Why This Question is Asked

This question is asked to determine your purpose and motivation for the position you’re applying for.

In a way, it also analyzes your knowledge and experience in a particular field of expertise.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

It’s best to mention experiences that relate to the position.

Also, try to emphasize your best-suited qualities for this type of work.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid citing skills and experiences that have nothing to do with the position you’re applying for.

Your goal is to meet the demands of the position.

Example Answer

Based on my research, I found that your marketing team is devising new ways to incorporate social media platforms. Projects like these excite me as I have a knack for developing fresh ideas and marketing strategies using social media.

6. Do You Like to Work by Yourself or With a Team?

Depending on the nature of the work, you might be asked to either work with a team or take on individual tasks.

Why This Question is Asked

This helps the interviewer determine if you’re open and capable to work with a team or take on projects and tasks by yourself.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

If the position requires you to work closely with a team, focus on highlighting the importance of teamwork.

If it calls for individual responsibilities, emphasize your independence and capability to handle tasks by yourself.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t answer blindly. If you don’t have the experience or haven’t done your research, your answer may not match what they’re looking for.

Example Answer

In my five years of work experience, I realized I enjoy and work best with a team. However, I’m no stranger to handling projects by myself. I understand different situations require different approaches, so I’m prepared to adjust to the company’s needs.

7. Why Work With Us?

You’re not ready for a cultural fit interview if you don’t know how to answer this. It’s a staple question any employer is sure to ask.

Why This Question is Asked

The interviewer wants to determine how well you see yourself fitting in the company.

It also gauges how much you know about them and if you share the same core values.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Cite specific examples that highlight the company’s reputation or the products they sell.

This assures your employer that you’re driven to be part of the company.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t come to the interview without researching the company’s reputation, culture, and mission.

Having no knowledge of these company values can be considered a sign of disinterest and complacency.

Example Answer

I noticed how intricate and appealing the company’s product designs are. Your product designers are truly inspiring, and I’d love to be part of such a talented team. I know I can contribute creative ideas to the team, and I’m eager to learn from them too.

8. What Makes You Consider Quitting a Job?

No company wants to hire someone who would likely resign immediately.

That’s why it’s important to know a person’s retention rate based on their work history.

Why This Question is Asked

Questions like these are meant to filter out people who think they fit in the company but end up resigning early.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

The ability to work under pressure and take on challenging situations will score you some points for this question.

The more you make your employer believe you’ll stay, the better your chances of getting hired.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t give petty reasons for quitting. The business world is more close-knitted than you think.

If you have a reputation for leaving over the most trivial reasons, it’ll be more difficult to get a job in the future.

Example Answer

It’s hard enough to look for a new job, so I’m not really a fan of quitting. The only time I’d consider doing so is if there’s unjustifiable mistreatment and discrimination in the workplace.

9. How Do You Deal With Disagreements in the Workplace?

As much as we try to maintain a harmonious work environment, conflicts are bound to happen.

How we react and deal with them is key to reaching an understanding.

Why This Question is Asked

This is an employer’s way of measuring your behavior and composure in times of conflict.

Since it can be inevitable, they need to know what to expect from you.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Qualities such as being patient and understanding are important in disagreements.

Try to cite incidents where you exercised these traits to diffuse a conflict.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Anything close to being short-tempered can be seen as a red flag for your interviewer.

Don’t be foolhardy. It reflects on your behavior and track record.

Example Answer

Whenever I find myself in such situations, I try to breathe and think first before I act or speak. I’ve always benefited from considering the perspective of other people. It helps me and my colleagues reach an understanding to avoid further tension.

10. Which of Our Core Values Relate to You the Most?

Each company has a different set of goals, values, and beliefs.

If you’re not aligned with those, you’re not fit to work in that company.

Why This Question is Asked

This is another question that checks how much you’ve researched about the company. It also tests if you can adhere to their core values.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Provided that you’ve done your research, it’s ideal to mention specific goals in the company’s mission statements.

Try to relate those with your personal work experience or ambition.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

This is one of the culture interview questions you absolutely can’t wing.

If you can’t cite a specific core value, your employer will know you’re unprepared.

Example Answer

I strongly identify with your company’s ideologies on honesty and transparency. I believe that if we work on building trust within the company, it’ll reflect on how we forge strong relationships with different clients.

Other Common Interview Questions

There are many types of interviews to prepare for, so try not to focus only on culture interview questions.

Here are some other common interview questions you might encounter.

How Do You Handle Stress?

An employer needs to know how you react to stressful situations since any type of job comes with a bit of stress.

Why This Question is Asked

This question aims to find out how you deal with stressful situations.

It measures how composed you are in such circumstances and tests your problem-solving abilities under pressure.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Try to cite specific instances where you were able to deal with stress in your previous work experiences.

If possible, describe your coping techniques step-by-step.

You can also mention the skills you’ve learned in those situations.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t mention stressful situations that you caused yourself. This might be seen as a weakness by your employer.

Also, don’t claim that you don’t get stressed.

This can be considered a red flag for your employer and is one of the things you shouldn’t say in an interview.

Example Answer

I aim to plan my goals strategically to avoid stressful situations. However, I’m aware that it can be unavoidable at times. Therefore, I try to see it as a challenge to do better and conquer that stressful situation.

What is Your Management Style?

This question appears in interviews for hiring managers or any position that oversees people.

Why This Question is Asked

Employers ask this to know how you lead and manage people.

It’s an assessment of your style of leadership and if it fits the company’s goals.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Try to find out about how previous managers handled the position and if you can relate to their management styles.

Think of your positive qualities as a leader and cite examples of when you were able to put these to good use.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

If the position requires a democratic management style, you should avoid the mentioning qualities of being commanding.

The key here is to find what style they’re looking for, then pattern yourself accordingly.

Example Answer

I’m very fond of the democratic management style. I believe that two or more heads are better than one, and with proper teamwork, we can bring creative ideas to fruition for the success of our projects.

What Are Your Interests?

One of the most basic behavioral questions in an interview. Your answer will say a lot about your character.

Why This Question is Asked

This question helps the employer determine how well-rounded you are as a person.

Your answer can affect how much they see you fitting in the company’s culture.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Give honest answers. Making things up will make you look like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Check if you have interests or hobbies that resonate well with the company.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid sounding overly passionate, and don’t go excessive with the details.

Your employer might see this as a threat to your productivity and commitment.

Also, try not to mention small hobbies like watching TV or playing video games too much.

Example Answer

I love to work out during my free time. It helps keep me healthy, stay in shape, and have a positive outlook on life. It’s also my way of managing stress and boosting productivity levels.

What is Your Work Style?

While this question isn’t as straightforward as others, it’s similar to questions like “which type of work environment do you best fit in” or “what is your management style.”

Why This Question is Asked

This question assesses your work qualities and how well they fit in the company or the position you’re applying for.

Your answer can also easily reflect your strengths and weaknesses.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

This should go without saying, but research the nature of the position and the company’s core values.

Try to find valuable keywords and relate them to your work style and ethic.

It’s also good to emphasize adaptability if your current style doesn’t match theirs.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t stray far from the nature of the position. Your answers must focus on the position you’re applying for.

Avoid cliché answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m a hardworking person.”

Example Answer

I’ve always strived to be punctual and deadline-oriented. In my seven years of work experience, I’ve gotten used to a fast-paced environment without compromising quality. I’ve also grown adaptable to sudden changes to meet business needs.

Tell Me About a Time You Failed

Sometimes failure is inevitable, and this question measures how you overcome it.

Learning from your mistakes is one of the best career advice you can have to keep improving.

Why This Question is Asked

The interviewer wants to assess if you can acknowledge your shortcomings.

Your answer can also show how you improve and make up for your failures.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Be sure that you’re responsible enough for your actions.

You must show your employer that you’re accountable.

Try to be as concise with your story as possible and make sure you explain how and what you’ve learned from it.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t act as if you’ve never failed or made a mistake. Everyone has.

It’s also a must to end your story with a learned lesson.

Your employer might think you’ll make the same mistakes if you don’t.

Example Answer

I once told a client I could finish their budget proposal in four days, but it ended up taking a week. They weren’t too happy about it due to the expectations I set. Since then, I’ve learned to be more realistic with planning and deadlines. It has greatly improved my time management.

Additional Tips For Culture Interviews

Here are some preparation tips that can come in handy for culture interviews.

How Do You Prepare for a Culture Interview?

The short answer is research. Study and understand the company’s workplace culture and how it operates.

As for the specific position, be sure you’re familiar with the requirements.

Relate them to your experience by telling relevant stories that highlight certain skills needed for the position.

It also helps you be prepared if you’re not in a rush for your interview, so arriving early is a must.

Long story short, you basically have to come prepared with everything you need.

What Should You Wear to a Culture Interview?

What you wear in an interview makes the first impression on your employer. You must always dress the part.

Don’t overdress, nor dress too casually. Semi-formal attire is almost always a safe option.

Wearing comfortable clothes can also help you stay relaxed throughout the interview process. You can also gain a boost of confidence with the right interview attire.

How Should You Introduce Yourself in a Culture Interview?

You can prepare your introduction, but don’t make it sound like a memorized reading.

Understand your script by heart and let it flow naturally with confidence.

Your introduction structure can look like this:

  1. Smile and greet your interviewer with a handshake.
  2. State your full name, personal information, educational background, and professional experiences.
  3. Briefly describe your hobbies and interests.

What Questions Should You Ask at the End of a Culture Interview?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions at the end of the interview. It shows how attentive you are and can further increase your chances of getting the job.

Here are some common examples of what you should ask:

  • How does performance review work in this company, and how often do they conduct it?
  • What are the next steps in this company’s hiring process?
  • What is the career path for this position?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Culture Questionnaire?

A culture questionnaire is a list of questions that help assess a person’s organizational culture.

This gives the participant freedom to express their work style and upbringing.

Culture questionnaires are also useful when organizations go through major changes.

What Are the 5 Cultural Traits?

There are five distinct cultural traits common in any type of culture. These traits include:

  • Learned
  • Shared
  • Based on symbols
  • Integrated
  • Dynamic

They stand as proof that culture isn’t innate or inherited, but acquired through the mentioned traits.

Wrapping Up

Culture interview questions may seem nerve-wracking at first, but with the right preparation, you’ll do fine.

Remember to have a good grasp of your strengths and other positive behavioral qualities to help you in your next job search.

Research is also vital, so don’t forget to study the company and position you’re applying for to better your chances of landing the job.

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