Monday, April 15, 2024

How To Ask About Work Culture In An Interview

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Would It Be Possible To Get A Tour Of The Office

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While Augustine says you probably want to hold off on this question until youve made it through at least one round of interviews, this is one of the most significant ways to understand a culture. And how a recruiter or a hiring manager respond to your ask can give you a clue about how much real interest they have in you.

If they jump at the chance to show you the digs first-hand, then youre probably in the clear. If you get to take the tour, pay close attention to your surroundings. Are the workers nestled in cubicles, or sitting in an open-plan design? How loud or quiet is it? Is the break room stocked with energy drinks and beer or kombucha and green tea?, she explains. These details will help you determine whether this is the right work environment for you.

Remember, even if youre only expected to be in the office two or three days a week, those are still days you need to be productive. Dont use hybrid arrangements to make excuses for things that will start to matter to you.

How Long Have You Been With The Company

âThis is a question to ask each of your interviewers. If everyone you meet has only been there a short time you need to probe further,â says Career Counselor and Executive Coach Roy Cohen. âUnless the company is a startup, expanding rapidly, or the department is newly established, this is a serious red flag. High turnover could be a sign of low pay, long hours, lack of opportunity for career advancement, or incompetent management.â

What Will Separate Someone Who Is Good At This Job From Someone Who Is Really Stellar

Desiree Caballero, Brand Strategist at Robinhood leans on this question for assessing mutual fit you want to work somewhere that values your skills as much as the company is looking for the ideal candidate.

Its a favorite for Kimberly Muñoz, Engineering Manager at Slack, as well. When I ask this, I usually get a better picture of what the hiring manager is looking for and the perceived needs of the organization, Muñoz says.

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Tips For Asking About Company Culture

Follow these tips when figuring out which company culture questions to ask during your interview:

  • Do some research. Before your interview, do some digging to find out as much about the company’s culture as possible. See what kind of social media presence they have and whether they include anything relevant on their website. Use what you find to inform your questions and guide your conversation.

  • Ask employees questions. If you get the chance to meet with any employees of the company, make a point to ask them some questions about the company’s culture. They may be able to give you more authentic answers since you may potentially become one of them.

  • Reflect on your own preferences. When coming up with a list of questions, determine what’s important to you. If you need a social work environment, come up with questions that can help you learn if a company is open and collaborative. If you need flexibility and freedom, ask about their schedule expectations. Make sure your questions help you gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work there.

  • Ask the same questions. When you have a series of interviews, ask the same questions at the end of each interview. Afterward, write down some notes to help you remember each interviewer’s answers. Once you are done with all of your interviews, compare your notes to see which workplace is the best fit for you.

What About Working Here Appeals To You Most

What Are Problem Solving Interview Questions?

This is very similar to the why do you want to work here interview question, which weve tackled before. Not only does it let the hiring manager determine what you know about the company, but also why you think its a good match, the latter of which can help them determine if there is a strong culture fit.

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What Are Cultural Interview Questions

Before we dig into the cultural interview questions, lets talk about what they are. While culture fit may seem like a buzzword, it really isnt. Its simply a reference to how well you mesh with the companys mentality, priorities, values, work approach, and environment.

For example, lets say you prefer independent work, but the workplace is highly collaborative. If thats the case, you may not be a great culture fit.

Overall, 90 percent of employers think that finding new hires that are good culture fits is a priority. Because of that, they ask questions that help them gauge how well youd fit into the workplace.

So, should you skew your answers based on what you think the hiring manager wants to hear? No, you shouldnt. While you do want to remain professional, honesty is the best policy. After all, finding a good culture fit increases the odds that youll achieve job satisfaction. And by being honest, youre chances of finding a great fit go up dramatically.

Can You Tell Me About Your Founding Teams Background And Why Youre Tackling This Particular Problem

Ryan Hoover, Founder of Product Hunt, has a firm directive here:

More job candidates should think like an investor.

After all, joining a company is one of the biggest investments one can make, he says. Much like an investor will look closely to assess founder/market fit and intrinsic founder motivation to tackle this problem, so too should candidates when theyre hitching their career goals to a startups wagon.

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Interview Questions About Company Culture

Interview questions about company culture are designed to determine whether you will be a good fit for an organization. There are no right or wrong answers to these questionssince a bad fit is just as problematic for you as for your employerbut you can practice answering typical questions in order to increase your confidence for your interview.

Here are examples of interview questions that are used to determine whether you’re a good match for the company:

How Are You Received When You Arrive

5 Questions to ask to get a sense of company culture

When you arrive for the interview, what is your first impression? Is it warm and welcoming or cold and foreboding? Is there is a receptionist? If so, do they know to expect you or are they surprised by your presence? Are you offered a glass of water? All these little things speak volumes about the company culture.

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Which Of Our Company Values Resonates Most With You

Most companies have core values or mission statements they use as principals in how they operate the business. Having a strong answer to this question will show that youve done your research on the company and that your motivations are in alignment with the companys.

Example: *I identify with your companys value of putting the customer first. I am a strong believer in great customer service. When I receive great customer service from a company I am much more likely to return. I would love to work for a company that promotes putting yourself in the shoes of a customer before making any decisions.

Hiring For Cultural Add Versus Cultural Fit

First, lets understand the difference between hiring for cultural fit versus cultural add.

  • Cultural fit: We define a cultural fit as sharing the same behaviors, values, interests, and work preferences. But the key part of this phrase is the term fit. To fit into a culture means the person must have some sort of homophily. In short, culture fit is about looking for someone based on their similarities to the group.
  • Cultural add: A culture add is someone who brings diverse experiences, perspectives, and ideas to the workplace. This perspective embodies the idea that a cultural add enhances and adds to the current company culture. A culture add shares certain core behaviors and values that are important to the group but shows and interprets them in new and divergent ways. A cultural add empowers growth for the team and individuals.

Research tells us that cultural fit can actually be detrimental to your organizations success. Hiring for culture fit can be extremely detrimental to your belonging, equity, inclusion, and diversity efforts.

If you hire for culture fit, it could mean youre encouraging bias . Similarly-minded and homogenous groups can encourage groupthink, which can spiral into toxicity or even hostility in the workplace.

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What Challenges Is The Company Experiencing

While this question could go beyond company culture, it can help you see if the company has any internal issues. For instance, if they are rapidly expanding, this could lead to a fast-paced company culture. Asking this question can help you decide if you can handle any challenges the company is currently working through.

How Do Managers Provide Feedback To Employees

5 Revealing Questions That Job Seekers Should Ask Their Interviewers ...

In a survey by HR services provider TriNet, nearly nine out of 10 millennials said they would feel more confident in their current position if they had more frequent performance conversations with their manager.

Sound like you? Find out the companys approach to performance reviews, managers preferred method of communication , and whether the boss has an open-door policy.

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What Are The Main Values Of This Company

You can learn a lot about a company’s culture by getting to know its core values. If your interviewer can easily list them off, this is a good sign that the company’s values are a central part of the work you will be doing. You could even go a little further and ask how they reflect these values in the work that they do.

Related:5 Types of Work Environments

The 40 Best Questions To Ask In An Interview How To Go Deeper Than Whats The Culture Like

When it comes to interviewing advice, theres plenty to go around for hiring managers. Weve certainly covered our fair share here on the Review none more popular than last year’s 40 Favorite Interview Questions from Some of the Sharpest Folks We Know.

Since we published this guide, its racked up hundreds of thousands of views and received tons of wonderfully-kind feedback, turning into something of a staple for interviewers prepping to dig in with a candidate. We were thrilled to see that getting folks to share their best interview questions and crucially, why they ask it and what makes for a good answer seemed to strike a chord. It confirmed our hunch that despite the wealth of content around crafting the right questions, theres still a hunger for these resources to keep your hiring skills top-notch.

And theres an appetite to match it on the other side of the table, of course. As a candidate, prepping for a job interview can feel like a job thats never fully done. From shaping up your resume and settling on the key stories to highlight from your career path, to researching the company and stalking the interview panel on LinkedIn, theres a daunting pile of prep work to tackle and an insatiable need for advice to help get you through it.

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How Do You Resolve Differences Of Opinion

Interpersonal skills are important in almost any position. This question helps you understand whether a candidate has the soft and interpersonal skills needed to mesh with your team. It also provides a look into someone’s conflict-management style: are they passive, aggressive or somewhere between? WIll their approach to conflict lead to a harmonious workplace or does it spell trouble with other team members?

An alternative to this question during job interviews is to ask the candidate to relay a story of a time they dealt with a difference of opinion.

Do You Prefer To Work Alone Or On A Team


The answer to this question will help employers know if youd be happy with the amount of collaboration that is required of the job. For example, a sales associate position may involve more working together to achieve shared goals and ongoing teamwork than a position as a technical writer who may spend most of their day working on their responsibilities alone.

Example:I have always thrived in positions where I can collaborate with others. I strongly believe that great work is achieved when more opinions and ideas are shared. However, I am fully capable of doing heads-down work when its needed.

Read more: Interview Question: Do You Prefer To Work Alone or in a Group?

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Transparency Around Mistakes And Concerns

This one ties back to the importance of trust, Grace said.

People need to be able to speak up about mistakes they make, or the concerns they have. Usually, people feel more comfortable doing this in a psychologically safe environmentwhere they dont feel like there will be negative consequences to their image or career. When people dont feel comfortable communicating their mistakes, sharing their concerns, or asking for help, problems can escalate. For some organizations, this can have dire consequences.

Grace added that transparency around mistakes is a cultural trait that should be considered especially important to startups. Problems cost money, and expensive mistakes can sink young companies.

Plus, she added, reporting concerns early can actually lead to better results. Amy Edmondson has done pioneering work on this idea. In the medical field, for example, shes found evidence to show that teams that have psychological safety report more errors, and as a result, have better patient outcomes.

Questions to ask during your next job interview:

  • How do you coach employees to handle concerns theyre having about a project? What are the avenues they have for getting help?
  • How are mistakes handled here? What is an example of the biggest mistake someone made, and how did people respond?

Whats The Busiest Time Of Year Like At The Company

You might have the urge to ask about when people typically leave work, or if people are always stressed out at the company, but if you ask those questions youre going to seem like you arent a hard worker. Instead, ask about the busiest time of year.

Use a phrase like, Tell me about your busiest times and how the team gets things done, says Marikaye DeTemple Kane, client relationship director at Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies, based in Alexandria, Virginia. This way, your interviewer can paint you a picture of how the company reacts when the workload gets heavier.

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How Would I Receive Feedback On My Work

You are the only one who knows how fragile your ego really is. Maybe peer review isnt your thing. Maybe you prefer to work in a collaborative environment where feedback comes in micro-doses.

Or maybe you thrive on working alone and being corrected in code review settings. The feedback loop at a job is about personal and professional growth, and you should find something that works best for you.

Its also a question many interviewers arent prepared for, so dont be surprised if they need some clarification from you. Its entirely possible they dont really consider how feedback is provided on an individual basis, so dont judge too harshly if this one trips them up. But take note of what they say.

What Are Your Favorite Things About Working Here

How to ace a job interview

This question plays into peoples pride of their company, which can be strategic when asking about work culture. If someone can answer quickly with things they love, it shows theyve got genuine love for their job .

Similarly, its actually a good idea to ask the opposite of this question, too: If you could change two things about the company, what topics would you tackle? recommends Leigh Steere, co-founder, Managing People Better in Boulder, Colorado.

But only ask this question if youve asked about that persons favorite aspects of working at the companythat way its a natural counterpart and not taken out of context.

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Additional Culture Fit Interview Questions

  • What do you need to be productive?

  • Whats your ideal work schedule?

  • Whats the last book you ready?

  • Whats your favorite podcast?

  • Describe your dream job.

  • What is your leadership style?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • Do you do any charitable work?

  • What would be your goals for the first 90 days if you were hired?

  • How do you maintain relationships in the workplace?

  • Do you take work home with you?

  • Whats a common misconception about you?

  • What do you do when others disagree with your opinion or idea?

  • Do you become friends with your coworkers?

  • Whats a lesson youve learned from the workplace?

  • Whats your favorite team-building activity?

  • What are your expectations of a senior leadership team?

  • What is your plan for the next 5 years?

  • How do you prefer to communicate with coworkers?

  • Who inspires you and why?

  • What tools do you use to work efficiently?

  • Tell me about a time you took a risk professionally.

  • How do you handle disappointments?

  • Describe your dream job.

  • What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

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    Could You Tell Me About A Time When A Co

    Its unlikely that anyone on your interview panel will come out and state frankly that the team culture could use some work. This question, from Kevin Deggelman, Senior Software Engineer for the San Francisco Giants and former head of product and engineering here at First Round, gets to the heart of what makes teamwork shine its not necessarily planning fun offsite events or eating lunch together everyday, its being kind to one another. This is a great question to assess the culture of the prospective team. During the interview process the company is trying to figure out what kind of teammate you’ll be, but it’s often hard for yourself as the candidate to assess what kind of team youll be joining, he says.

    Lindsey O’Niell, Director of Product of Crossbeam, still remembers when she found herself on the receiving end of this question in a hiring process. I had a candidate ask me what the last nice or helpful thing I did for a coworker was. It completely took me by surprise and I thought it was a unique way to get a sense of the culture at a company and showed how thoughtful the candidate was about being a supportive teammate.

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