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Interview Questions for Cultural Fit Assessment

A few years ago, my client interviewed a candidate for an engineering position. The candidate passed all their technical interview questions with flying colors.

As a result, he was hired

After about a month, it was quite clear that the candidate was not getting with the team. He wanted to work irregular hours, while most of the team worked a pretty standard day. He wanted to go out after work but many team members had families to get home to.

Quickly, these little things became actual issues with his work and ability to interact with other members of the team and it was decided that it would be best to discontinue the working relationship.

What he was looking for in his ideal work environment is completely fine, but my client was not the right company to provide it. It was partly my fault for not taking the time to properly assess his cultural expectations and relay our own. We both ended up wasting our time.

If there isn’t a good match between what your company values are and what’s important to the candidate, then regardless of their experience, neither party is going to be happy in the long run.  The most successful hires will have not only the skills you desire but also fit your culture.

Many of these responses focused on cultural fit.


After spending time and finding out from employers and HR Managers, I have come up with the 7 best cultural fit interview questions from my survey.

1. What environment do you thrive in the most and what drives your passion?

This question helps frame the conversation in terms of what the candidate wants rather than what you want. It’s open-ended, so they have to think about their response.

The answer to this question may give you insight into how this candidate prefers to work alone uninterrupted or perhaps does best on a team.

There’s really no wrong answer. You just need to assess whether your company is an environment they will thrive in.

2. If you were starting a company from scratch, what would you want your company’s culture to be?

This is a great opportunity to dig into what they think company culture is. Do they want pizza and beer or do they care most about a good work/life balance?

You should be thinking about whether their answer matches your company’s actual culture

3. What does your ideal workday look like?

We all have different ideal days. I prefer silence while I work but others like to play music. You need to know whether you are a good match to provide the candidate’s ideal day.

4. What are your personal values and how are they aligned with the company’s values?

Here you can make sure the candidate understands what your company’s values are. They also have to justify how their values fit yours.

5. Describe your perfect job, company, and work environment. Whatever factors are most important to you.

This is similar to asking about the candidate’s ideal workday, but a little more specific.

It should give you some insights into what they value most in a job. It’s great to always follow up and ask for specific examples.

6. In your opinion, what is leadership?

I like this question because it can give you insight into what the candidate’s past experiences with being lead are. Since the question is framed in a very general way, you will get a more honest answer than if you ask them directly about their previous boss.

7. What is your leadership style?

This is a great follow-up to the previous question. Once they describe their style, you can ask them to provide specific examples from their life where they demonstrated these leadership qualities.


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