How To Prepare for a Cultural Fit Interview
There is not only one kind of interview when you are applying for a job. The most common, straightforward interview has diverged into many subsets of interview styles, one such style being a cultural fit interview. You may not have heard of this before– a company culture interview is designed to determine whether a candidate’s personality, values, and work style is a good fit for the atmosphere and inner workings of the company.
What Is Company Culture?
A company’s culture is the set of values they run on. Company culture covers goals, attitudes, values, and behaviors, and all employees are expected to operate under these, regardless of their place on the ladder. Company culture affects many factors in the day to day life of a company; it can influence how often meetings are held, the openness of management to discussing new ideas, and how the company as a whole makes decisions. It is similar to a guidebook on how employees interact, as well as their place in the machine that is their employer.
It is important to note the importance of preparing properly for a company culture interview. A goal of “culture fit” when interviewing potential employees can also lead to unintentional discrimination or biases, especially against those who do not think, look, or act like the majority of current employees. If you suspect that this may happen to you, you can pivot your approach in the interview to discussing how you would be a “culture add”, bringing diversity to the company. With diversity and inclusion comes fresh ideas and perspectives as well!
Importance of a Company Culture Interview
It is important to learn about a company’s culture prior to your interview, and to prepare for the interview accordingly. Obviously, you want to be sure that you and the company are a good fit for each other– this will help you to determine whether or not you would be happy as an employee here. This is why a company culture interview can be beneficial to not just the company, but to you as well! You will want to be able to feel out whether it is a good fit in terms of factors such as responsibilities, interactions with your peers, and the work environment. Every employee wants to feel supported and encouraged, though the environments and types of interactions that do so may vary from person to person, so it is important to evaluate everything based on your own preferences and work style.
How to Prepare for a Company Culture Interview
It is key that you prepare properly for our company culture interview. You will want to make sure that you properly convey to the interviewer how you will benefit the company and be a positive addition to company culture. If you know the company’s values and attitudes, as well as the types of employees they are looking for, you can personalize your answers to reflect this. Below are some of the topics you should expect to discuss in a company culture interview.
When an interviewer asks you to describe your ideal boss or supervisor, this is typically a way for them to uncover how you respond to direction. For example, if you work better when left to do your work primarily independently, vs frequent check-ins, that would denote a particular working style. You should try to tailor your answer to the job that you are interviewing for. You should also be careful not to list past grievances with supervisors at your old job– it reflects poorly upon you. Instead, stay positive and try to balance your response so that it is clear that you are able to work independently but also appreciate the guidance of your higher-ups.
One of the big questions that you might be asked is, “what type of environment do you work best in?”. Naturally, your interviewer will want to know whether or not you will be at ease in your daily work environment. You should be honest when answering this question– after all, if you do not actually feel comfortable or work well in that environment, you will not do well at the company. Some of the different factors you could note as your preferred environment are a workplace that allows flexible hours or telecommuting, or a company with an open floor plan vs one with cubicles to separate you from your peers.
An interviewer may also want to know whether you prefer to work independently or to work as part of a team. This is important because it shows the interviewer if you would be comfortable or satisfied with the amount of collaboration that is required of the job. This may differ due to your disposition, personality, and sociability. The level of communication and collaboration is usually very clear based on the job type and job description. For example, a job in sales will require much more communication and teamwork than an accountant, who spends more time working independently at the computer.
“How do you deal with stress?” This is a common question asked at interviews– even if the interview is not expressly a cultural fit interview. It is important for an employer to understand how you manage stress and then work through it. Of course, no job is without stress, whether this comes in the form of deadlines, a fast-paced environment, or demanding clients. In your interview, the interviewer will be expecting you to answer this question with specific strategies and techniques that you implement in order to navigate these types of stressful situations.
Work-life balance is an important topic, not just in job interviews, but in society these days. It may be tricky to navigate in an interview because different companies and different people have varying ideas of the “right” work-life balance. Employers will be looking for a potential employee who has a strong work ethic, but they are also concerned with burnout. An interviewee who has clear boundaries and can manage work effectively is less likely to experience burnout and therefore a better addition to the company.
An interviewer may also ask you what motivates you. Discovering your motivation is important to a company, because it very clearly tells them whether or not your motivations are aligned with the job that you are interviewing for. Being able to clearly identify and discuss what motivates you shows self-awareness, too, which is always important. Self awareness is key to a successful interview, so you will want to take the time to do a deep dive into your motivations, how you deal with stress, and more in order to represent yourself properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you respond to a culture fit interview?
In a culture fit interview, it is crucial to take your time when answering– reflect on the company culture that would be best for you as an individual, and answer accordingly. You will want to convey how your values align with the company’s, and also convey how you are intentional with your goal to work for this particular employer.
What are culture fit questions?
Culture fit questions are questions that aim to discern whether or not you are a good fit for the culture of the company you are applying to work at. Some examples of culture fit questions could be:
- How would your supervisors describe your work style?
- When you are a part of a team, what role are you most likely to play?
- In what type of work environment are you happiest?
How do you talk about culture in an interview?
When talking about workplace culture in an interview and whether you are a good fit, be personable and show what makes you unique. Be honest, and use examples to illustrate the points you are trying to make. If learning about a company’s culture, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for clarification.
How do you deal with cultural differences interview questions?
Use examples of when you have bridged the gap between cultural differences, such as when you helped a peer or a client feel more comfortable when in a group that was made up of people of different backgrounds. You can also talk about your experiences with diversity in the workplace and how you think it can be fostered even more.
What are examples of work culture?
Work culture is also known as company culture. It is the set of values that a business runs on and operates by. Some examples of company or work culture are collaboration, the work environment, your motivations, and the employee work-life balance.
Why is company culture important?
A positive company culture is important because it fosters a sense of ownership and pride amongst the company’s employees. This will then encourage employees to invest their time in the company and work harder to make it a success. Happy employees are directly correlated to a business’ success and longevity. It pays to keep your employees happy!