The 5 Best Interview Questions to Ask for Company Culture Fit

Caroline Chessia | December 13, 2021

To check if your candidate is a good cultural fit, ask them questions about their valueS, day-to-day needs, and long-term goalsKnowing what questions to ask a prospective employee is the key to building a stable, productive workforce. When up to 80 percent of employee turnover is directly related to poor hiring decisions, those decisions end up costing the company. For example, a bad hire can cost 30% of that person’s salary in the first year alone. That’s why it’s so important to ask the right interview questions – especially questions that highlight cultural fit.

On paper, you have the perfect candidate – but how do you tell if their values line up with your company culture? Many companies recruit candidates for their knowledge or skills, but a cultural fit can be just as important to determine whether your new hire will excel or not. To check if your candidate is a good cultural fit, ask them questions about their values, day-to-day needs, and long-term goals. We’ve compiled some of our favorite questions to ask for a cultural fit below.

1. Are you a team player or do you prefer to work independently, and why?

There is no right or wrong answer (depending on your company and the position), but you want to have a good idea of what makes a person happy and productive. This question helps gauge how flexible the person is and what role might be the best fit. Some people like to work independently and be left alone, while others need the synergy of the crowd or a clear set of directions with timely feedback.

You want to make sure you’re recruiting the right person, so make sure you’re knowledgeable about the team they will be joining. That way you’ll be able to advance or eliminate candidates that won’t jive well with the team already in place. As a bonus question, you can ask how they react to working in a work style that isn’t their favorite. Everyone has to work independently and collaboratively at some point in their workweek, so it’s useful to know if a seasoned collaborator is going to be able to buckle down and turn in an extensive independent project as well.

2. How would colleagues describe your personality? In what environment do you thrive?

People have different strengths and weaknesses – just because they aren’t detail-oriented doesn’t mean that they won’t be a good fit in your company. It might just mean that they need to have a co-worker who will keep them accountable. There are many different work styles and personalities, but we’ve listed a few here:  

  • Doers (like mechanical engineers, who love physical labor)
  • Thinkers (like lawyers, who are analytical and curious)
  • Creators (like artists, who thrive on creative expression)
  • Helpers (like nurses, who derive satisfaction from healing)
  • Persuaders (like sales professionals, who love competitive, leadership-oriented roles)
  • Organizers (like accountants, who need an orderly, pragmatic approach to tasks)

A great way to turn this question on its head is by asking about their favorite type of coworker. Ask a question like, “with who do you most successfully collaborate, and why?” – this will give you insight into their personality and how well they will work with others on your team.

3. What aspects did you like and dislike about your last work environment?

Drill down into particulars to discover whether your company’s pace and structure appeals to your candidate. Some individuals wish to climb the corporate ladder – knowing that is helpful if you don’t have a lot of fluid mobility within the organization. Employees leave their positions because they are dissatisfied with the company in some way, and you need to make sure they’re not going to be dissatisfied in your company as well.

When an applicant discusses a dislike, look for someone who can finish the discussion with a positive spin, such as: “I felt I was spending the bulk of my time on paperwork, which prevented me from doing what I do best – engaging directly with people.” There are always ups and downs in any position, but a person who can work through those low points is a person you want on your team.

4. What excites you about this opportunity?

The answer to this question will give you an idea about the candidate’s first impressions, pre-existing notions, and expectations about the company and the role being filled. A disconnect will spell potential disappointment and turnover down the road. Additionally, by asking this question you can sniff out whether your candidate has done their due diligence to learn more about your company before interviewing. 

5. What management style motivates you?

Friction between managers and workers can significantly affect job satisfaction. 52 percent of workers have quit or are currently considering leaving due to management issues. It pays to know how your employees like to be managed – for example, does your candidate like a hands-on boss, or one that only occasionally checks in? 

Learn More About Our Tools to Hire Faster and Smarter

You can always upskill or re-skill an employee to provide the technical knowledge needed for a job well done. However, you only have one chance to decide whether or not to bring a new person on board. That’s why it’s important to ask the right interview questions the first time.

Our one-way and live video interviews can help you connect with your candidates in a low-stress setting. Reach your candidates when and where is best for them by using video interviewing technology to frame your interview. Ask a hiring expert how to start today.

About The Author

Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.


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