How to Ace Cultural Interview Questions

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A company’s culture defines the environment where the employees work. It encompasses the type of work environment, the company mission, as well as its values, beliefs, and attitudes. Employers use cultural fit interview questions when hiring people to see if you are the perfect candidate. How you answer sheds insight on whether you will be productive and happy at the company.

You will need to do a bit of preparation before going into that job interview. Businesses want to hire employees that will be successful and thrive. Here are a few practices to follow as well as sample cultural interview questions and how to answer them.

Preparation

Step 1. Research the Company

The first step of the hiring process to show that you fit in with the company’s culture is by knowing what the company represents. Remember, employers are hiring for cultural fit. You can start by identifying the values and principles that drive the organization.

Take a look at the company’s website and read their “About Us” page. A good thing to note is how they got started. Is it a small startup that consists of a small tight-knit team? Did the business start as a small business but is now a Fortune 500 company?

To learn about how actual employees feel, take a look at Glassdoor and read some of the company reviews. Additionally, you can check the company’s career site and social media pages. In this way, you can see real pictures of the office and what the people working there are like.

Step 2. Identify What You Want to Highlight

As you learn about the company’s work style, you will be able to reflect if it matches your own personality.

For example, if the business is a start-up, you would want to emphasize that you work well independently because you are self-motivated and you frequently can contribute new ideas and work collaboratively.

On another note, if your research shows you that the organization hires department heads,  project managers and that your position is part of a team, you know that there is a clear system of hierarchy, accountability, and teamwork. As a result, you may want to highlight that you are comfortable being part of a group and working together to achieve a common goal.

Step 3. Rehearse

You need to rehearse your answers aloud. Even though you may know what you want to say, if you cannot formulate your thoughts into coherent sentences, your responses may come off as confusing. On the other hand, if you don’t feel comfortable and confident, your answers may be perceived as ingenuine and fake.

Using a service like Interview School can help you rehearse your answers aloud. We use authentic interview questions from real interviews from around the world. Additionally, our AI technology will give you a grade during our mock interviews to let you know how you did.

Practice our list of sample cultural interview questions below.


Practice cultural interview questions being asked by top companies.


Step 4. Dress for the Job

The days of your go-to suit and tie or jacket and pantsuit are gone. Some companies have gone business casual or just casual. Knowing the company culture will help you avoid showing up overdressed and starting out on a negative foot.

As a rule of thumb, you should dress slightly nicer than how the employers dress every day. For example, if the company’s Facebook shows that the employees wear T-shirts and jeans, you should probably wear a nice pair of slacks with a button-down or blouse to the interview.

You should also consider calling your recruiter or a friend at the company that works in a similar position. Ask about what your interviewer will be wearing, what the office is wearing, and whether or not you would feel out of place if you wear formal business attire. The Business Insider has an excellent infographic depicting executive casual attire, or smart business casual outfits, for men and women.

Step 5: Ask Questions

At the end of the interview, your hiring manager will likely ask you if you have any questions. This is the last opportunity for you to make one more lasting impression.

Ask questions that show that you did your homework and are a good fit for the company. For example, you can ask if the company does any community service or what type of people tend to be successful there. Then, reinforce how your interviewer’s answer matches with who you are and what you know about the company.


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Sample Questions and How to Answer

1. What motivates you to come to work every day?

Although the paycheck may be the first thing that pops into your head, it’s time to think about the company. If the company values curiosity and ingenuity, your answer should reflect your drive and hunger to learn. Entrepreneur magazine explains that these types of new hires tend to stay current with the business and the industry. As a result, they are able to anticipate trends. A prospective employee that is a good match for the organization will have innovative contributions and be around for the long term.

2. What environment do you thrive in the most?

Of course, you can say that you are flexible with different types of environments. However, you will need to be more specific about the conditions that you will potentially work in and relate it to the workplace culture.

For example, you could say that you prefer work environments with high productivity and working with teammates that are passionate about their work.

On the other hand, if you are interviewing to be an accountant, you may genuinely need a quiet space to crunch numbers. Be honest about what you need to complete the job.

3. How would co-workers describe the role that you play on a team?

Your personality greatly influences your role in a group. In general, louder, more vocal members tend to be leaders. On the other hand, more introverted members play supporting roles. Remember, cultural interview questions help get a sense of your self-perception as well as determine how you fit in a group dynamic.

In general, employers lean towards leaders. However, you will need to support that claim. On the other hand, if you are not automatically the leader in a group, be reasonable about your role. Instead, say that your co-workers would describe you as organized and trustworthy. Your boss entrusted you with the finer details of the project, which included x, y, and z.

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Author: Kimberly Ellis
Kimberly is a researcher, content generator, and language lover. With over 15 years in the professional workplace, a Bachelors in Education, and a passion for accuracy, Kimberly is uniquely qualified to help others overcome the many struggles that come when pursuing new employment. Her mantra is, "May your coffee be strong, your lashes be long, and your Monday’s be short."