The current day job market is increasingly emphasizing hiring candidates who fit the workplace culture. Every company is working towards defining its cultural values, beliefs, attitudes, and practices. It’s only fair to then seek candidates who are compatible with the culture.
Alongside screening several exceptional resumes and brilliant portfolios, the next step is an interview. A regular interview is daunting enough, but what about the cultural fit interview? We breakdown the entire interview process, cultural fit interview questions, and ways to answer.
So, read on – and leave this article knowing how to get noticed by hiring managers. 🥸
What is a Cultural Fit Interview?
The cultural fit interview is the process of assessing possible applicants to understand their cultural alignment with the company. What values and behaviours they hold and how that adds or subtracts from the organization, is also screened. It also gives candidates control over their job searching strategy.
The cultural fit dates to the 1980s! 💡
It sprouted from the need to see how a candidate does placed in the web of company employees, apart from on-paper skills. The candidate must have a complimentary personality to the workplace culture and his colleagues.
This encourages loyalty to the company, thereby pushing the employee to work harder and stay committed to the job. It is also referred to the homophily principle, which highlights the benefits of similarity in social networks.
That are, less conflict, higher teamwork, and more result production. 📈
Why is a Cultural Fit Interview Important?
A cultural fit interview is important for many reasons. Firstly, the company filters through candidates to see who would thrive in the workplace culture. It is a precursor to any employee retention strategy, as candidates who share the same values tend to be more engaged, productive, and high-performing.
Selecting candidates through a cultural fit interview improves overall teamwork and collaboration within employees. It also ensures that there is a least possible amount of employee turnover as candidates who mesh with the workplace culture have increased job satisfaction and are less likely to leave the company. This is beneficial for both the organization and the potential candidate.
How to Prepare for a Cultural Fit Interview?
[fs-toc-omit]1. Research the Company’s Culture
Before attempting to practice for cultural fit interview questions, research on the company’s culture. Deep dive into their values, beliefs, and mission statement.
Additionally, it helps to connect with existing company employees to gauge the social atmosphere in the workplace. You can do this through virtual coffee chats, the company website, or social media platforms, all of which are a great way to network.
You could also contact the interviewer directly, which creates a great first impression and shows dedication.
[fs-toc-omit]2. Assess Your Personal Values
Look inside yourself to see if your personal values align with company values. List the values which you hold most important in your professional life. For example, collaboration, integrity, respect, creativity. Then, prioritize your values in order of importance and dealbreakers.
[fs-toc-omit]3. Identify Your Soft Skills
Start by making a list of your strengths such as creative problem-solving or leadership. Locate the self-taught skills or transferable skills that are applicable across various job positions and fields. Then, see if those skills are required and respected in the company culture.
For example, if your greatest skill is communication or hospitality, focus on a company that values and emphasizes on customer service. If your strong suit is creative problem-solving, a workplace culture that enjoys strategizing or experimenting with new technology would be the perfect fit.
Top Cultural Fit Interview Questions
We’ve broken down the type of questions asked in several categories. Let’s take a look at these cultural fit interview questions and tips.
[fs-toc-omit]Q) What Is Your Preferred Method and Way of Communication?
This question aims to dissect your communication style and preferences to analyse how you would interact with those around you. A possible answer would be:
“I believe good communication is speaking in a way the other party understands. Which is to say, using a language and jargon that your audience can comprehend. One should avoid using technical terminology if they know the other party is not familiar with it. Communication should always be straightforward, clear, audible, and articulate”.
[fs-toc-omit]Q) How Do You Sort Through Potential Disagreements with Others?
The interviewer looks to see how you communicate to resolve disagreements or conflicts. A possible answer would be:
“Disagreements and arguments are natural when working with unique personalities in the workplace. I handle conflict by initiating a conversation with my co-worker. I let them speak their mind entirely, listening intently before I explain my perspective. Also, I make sure to not sound arrogant, heated, or condescending.”
[fs-toc-omit]Teamwork and Collaboration
[fs-toc-omit]Q) Do You Prefer Working Alone or In A Team?
The question wants to dissect how much of a team-player you are. Your answer will reflect if you enjoy working along, with a partner, or a team. A possible answer would be:
“I have both worked alone and collaborated with a partner or a team. I have no hesitancies when it comes to either setting, as I believe it depends on how difficult or time-consuming a project is. However, I enjoy working in a team as it boosts communication, creativity, and productivity. I also value learning from my team members.”
[fs-toc-omit]Q) What Is Your Favourite Way to Team Build?
This question is targeted to see if you fit in with the company culture and would enjoy the team building exercises. A possible answer would be:
“I love any team building exercise that are slightly challenging and encourage me to interact with others. Company game nights, trivia, or sports are my favourites. I am a supporter of light-hearted competition, as it makes everyone enthusiastic, energetic, and motivated. These activities also aid my team work, collaborative, and communication skills, which is a big plus!
[fs-toc-omit]Q) How Do You Respond to Challenges?
The hiring manager needs to know if you can defeat obstacles without disruption or negative consequences. A possible answer would be:
“I believe that challenges present an opportunity for professional and personal growth. Working in this position would present trials that would need my out-of-the box and creative thinking. This would ensure that I’m always look towards the next step and am taking the necessary measures to get there. My skills, previous work experience, and penchant for teamwork allow for any challenge to be easily solved.”
[fs-toc-omit]Q) How Do You Handle Stress?
Problem-solving also requires learning to cope with stress and pressure so that they don’t inhibit your productivity. A possible answer would be:
“I recognize how demanding and strenuous this position can be at times. However, I have stress-management practices that I employ to combat that. To-do lists are my trusty companions, and I break down tasks in smaller parts while prioritizing based on urgency and difficulty. I utilize breathing practices and meditation to calm my nerves. Additionally, I de-stress by engaging with my hobbies, such as hiking or meeting friends.”
[fs-toc-omit]Adaptability and Flexibility
[fs-toc-omit]Q) What Is Your Preferred Working Environment?
The interviewer wants to understand if your answer is compatible with the workplace environment that awaits you, so mention the nature of environment, what it offers, and team dynamics. A possible answer would be:
“My ideal working environment is one that focuses on individual projects since I thrive working on my own. Though I have cultivated my teamworking skills, so a collaborative culture would not be intimidating. I enjoy an environment that focuses on innovation and hard work to get the desired results. It would help build my creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
[fs-toc-omit]Q) How Do You Deal With Disappointment?
The question evaluates how adaptable you are in difficult situations. A possible answer would be:
“Disappointment is a normal feeling whilst working as things aren’t a hundred percent guaranteed to go our way. Therefore, when disappoint I embrace the feeling and avoid being too harsh on myself. I end the project by salvaging whatever I can and trying my best till the end.”
[fs-toc-omit]Q) How Do You Maintain A Work-Life Balance?
The interviewer wants to learn if your approach is similar to others at the company and fits with the workload assigned to you. A possible answer would be:
“I designate boundaries between work and my personal life to prevent an overlap that could hinder either aspect. I try to accomplish my tasks at work to the greatest of my abilities and switch off when I exit the office. I destress at home through quality family and friends time, going on walks, watching television, and reading my novels. This helps me to prepare and recharge for the next work day.”
[fs-toc-omit]Q) What Do You Need From Us To Be Productive?
This question assesses if your requirements can be fulfilled by the company. A possible answer would be:
“While I optimize and organize my tasks and approach, I also realise how important assistance is. I require that my workplace provides a skilled and efficient team, an inspiring manager, and resources to complete my projects. I also appreciate frequent feedback and guidance, so I can minimize my mistakes and produce the best possible results.”
Interviews go both ways. Impress your hiring manager by demonstrating your speaking skills and your listening skills. Active listening portrays you as an applicant who is determined to understand their co-worker in a nuanced manner. That is because active listening leads to minimum miscommunication, efficiency, and timely deliverables.
Similarly, don’t let your interviewer ask all the questions. Partake in this activity to reflect a genuine interest in the company and workplace culture. This will enable you to learn whether you are the appropriate candidate for the organization as well. Research on the company culture to ask specific, targeted questions.
Using real life examples in your answers gives the cultural fit interview a personalized touch. Since it surrounds the more humane and less technical side of business, that is important. Every candidate is unique and different, so it is important to highlight that and stand out within the crowd.
Interviewers can ask you story fit questions which ask you to story tell in a way that presents you as a unique, creative, and valuable candidate. Highlight your past experiences and learning points which display your skills and talents. It is a similar procedure to answering a ‘tell me about yourself’ interview question.
What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid?
Some basic mistakes to avoid are not researching the company culture beforehand, not preparing examples, not asking questions, and being too informal.
A crucial mistake to avoid is focusing too much on personal preferences. Although being honest about your work style is important, it is equally crucial to show adaptability. Ensure you display your ability to adopt to a company’s culture and preferences while sustaining your own.
On the opposite spectrum, trying too hard to fit in is also dangerous. If you fixate on proving you belong, it could backfire. Be transparent about what your preferences are since the opposite can come off as disingenuous and lead to feeling suffocated in the actual job.
In conclusion, cultural fit interview questions are not hard to answer and are a crucial step in determining the compatibility between employer and employee. For a harmonious and optimal work environment, being a cultural fit is key. Prepare your answers and show that you have what it takes to be the best cultural fit!
You can also build your portfolio by completing portfolio projects and stand out to recruiters with relevant experience as you showcase the right skills and tools. Here are a few projects for you to check out;
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can I ask questions about company culture during an interview?
A) Yes! It is highly appreciated if you ask questions about the company culture. Cultural fit interviews are a two-way street, and your questions can demonstrate a genuine interest. You can gain insight and assess if the company is an appropriate working environment for you.
Q: What if I don't align with a company's culture?
A) You won’t always align with a company’s culture. It’s okay if you aren’t, as Qureos is here to help you job search for the perfect company culture. Always remember to be truthful about your personal values and work styles. It’s better for both the company and employee to find the right match in the long run.