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How to Answer Cultural Fit Interview Questions

Why do companies care about cultural fit? Being a good cultural fit for a company means your work preferences and your values align with those of the company. Recruiters need to assess this, as not only will a new employee who’s a good cultural fit help the business reach its goals, but they’ll also thrive in an environment that suits their values.

Questions in a cultural fit interview

Cultural fit questions come in various forms and may seem similar to values-based questions. Besides wanting to see if a potential employee will fit into their organization, employers are also trying to weed out toxic employees before they’re brought on board.

While there’s no right or wrong company culture, when it comes to interview questions on the topic of cultural fit, you must answer honestly to see if you’re a match. In preparation for your interview, take a look at these examples of cultural fit interview questions and answers.

  • Describe a work environment in which you are most productive.

If you’re the adaptable sort, keep your answer neutral, showing an openness to different work situations. However, if there’s something you feel strongly about, such as a quiet place to work without distractions, say so. The company may be willing to adjust to your needs.

Sample answer: “In the past, I’ve worked in various work environments so I have no particular preference. I love working in a collaborative atmosphere but I enjoy the independence of autonomous work too.”

  • Do you take work home with you?

Some companies want to know that you’re able to complete your work in the allotted time and that you have a good handle on your work-home balance. Others expect their employees to continue their work at home, especially in industries that require after-hours activity.

Sample answer: “Once I start a project, I create a schedule that ensures I’ll be able to meet the deadline. So, my strong organizational skills make it unlikely that I would need to take work home. However, I do check my emails after hours to ensure any client queries are dealt with timeously.”

  • Have you ever found a company policy unfair or inefficient? Why and how did you deal with it?

There are a few factors your interviewer is assessing here. Firstly, is the policy you object to one they have in place? Secondly, can you recognize unfair practices and justify why you feel they’re unfair? And lastly, what actions did you take to handle the matter?

Sample answer: “My last company had a policy in place that required the permission of your manager for any transfers between departments. I emailed my manager and asked for a meeting with him and Human Resources as he had denied my request for a transfer. I explained that this policy could stunt the growth of employees causing them to seek career opportunities outside the company.”

  • What would make you quit a job in the first month?

Your answer here brings to light the values you live by that would make you want to leave a workplace. Do they conflict with the company’s culture? Interviewers are also testing your flexibility in adjusting to a new work environment with this question.

Sample answer: “Quitting in the first month is a huge decision that I would not take lightly. Some of the reasons I would leave are if the job did not meet expectations or the culture was not conducive to my needs. This would only happen after communicating my issues with my supervisor and no solution was found.”

Final thoughts

Remember, you’re being assessed from the moment you walk into a building. Information about you is gathered from the way you greet the security guard to your interaction with the receptionist. These all give insight to hiring teams on your potential cultural fit within a company.  

If the topic doesn’t come up, feel free to ask questions about the company’s culture – they need to suit you just as much as you need to suit them. Once you’ve prepared your cultural fit answers, follow up your research with these top 10 questions asked in an HR interview.

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