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Interviewing for Culture Fit: Questions for Common Company Values

In Interviews — by Dave Anderson


When following a standard hiring process, you first and foremost make sure candidates have the required skills, experience and education for the role. But after you find a few people who fit the bill, you should then consider if they’ll gel with their team members and the company as a whole. Every interviewer needs to answer the question, “Is the candidate a good culture fit?”

A lot of times that can be a difficult question to answer. Some companies ask hiring team members to consider if they would want to hang out with the candidate outside of work but those responses can have more to do with personal preference than company culture.

Most companies have an established culture that is defined by a series of core values. Interviewers and hiring managers should keep those values in mind when speaking with candidates and ask specific questions related to each one.

In this blog post, we’ve listed common company values and a series of related culture-fit interview questions hiring team members can ask.


Most companies know success depends on everyone coming together and supporting each other. These questions can help you determine if the candidate is a good team player:

  • Do you prefer to work by yourself or as part of a team?
  • How do you think your previous managers and coworkers would describe working with you?
  • You’re busy with your own responsibilities but a team member asks for your help. What do you do?
  • How do you deal with different personalities in the workplace?
  • Tell me about a time you were the hero in your workplace.

Hard Work & Motivation

You should always strive to hire people who will give their all every workday. Asking the culture fit interview questions below can help you learn how motivated the candidate is to do great work for your company:

  • What excites you about this opportunity?
  • If you get the job, what do you hope to accomplish in your first week, month and year?
  • Do you believe it’s more important to work fast or get the job done right?
  • If you had multiple projects and limited time, how would you go about managing your priorities?

Empathy & Caring

A positive work environment is made up of people who are kind and considerate of other’s thoughts and feelings. This is especially important for customer-facing roles. Here are a few questions that can help you gauge if the candidate is a good match from an emotional intelligence perspective:

  • Do you believe in the saying “the customer is always right?”
  • How would you handle an upset customer?
  • How do you deal with job-related stress?
  • Your friend’s birthday is coming up. Tell me how you go about picking out a gift for them.
  • Beyond taking care of individual job responsibilities, what do you believe will make you successful in this role?

Integrity, Honesty & Accountability

Taking ownership and admitting to mistakes is a trait of great employees and a cornerstone of great workplace culture. Below are some questions that can help you get a sense of the candidate’s honesty and integrity:

  • Describe a time when you weren’t pleased with your work and why?
  • Tell me about something you struggled with early in your career and how you overcame it.
  • How do you feel when someone criticizes your work?
  • What personal or professional mistakes have you’ve learned the most from?

Ambition & Passion

An outstanding company culture is made up of people who truly love what they do. Bringing these questions into the interview room will let you know how passionate the candidate is about the role:

  • What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • Do you want to become a manager, leader or executive in our company?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What kind of work would make you excited to get out of bed on Monday morning?
  • What’s your dream job?
  • What are your favorite industry websites, books or other resources?
  • What type of company culture do you want to be part of?

Focus on what’s important when asking culture-fit interview questions

Following a typical interview process will only help you learn so much about a candidate. If your company lives by these core values or similar variations, ask smart interview questions related to each one. You’ll learn more about the candidate and get a solid idea if they really are “a good culture fit.”

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