Interview Questions to Ask for Culture

When you’re interviewing a candidate, it’s natural to want to focus on their hard skills and professional work experience. When you’re too preoccupied with their technical qualifications, however, an important consideration can fall through the cracks: Is my candidate a good culture fit? 

This article will break down why culture interview questions are important, why culture add is equally as important culture fit, plus list some of the best culture interview questions to ask candidates.  

Why are Culture Interview Questions Important?

If you’re not asking yourself this question during the interview process, it’s time to start! Assessing a candidate’s cultural fit can help you maintain a cohesive and productive work environment, reduce turnover, enhance communication and teamwork, promote your company’s image, and so much more.  

But prioritizing cultural fit should not come at the expense of diversity and inclusion. In other words, don’t get caught in a pattern of hiring people with the same or similar backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions. You should ensure that diverse perspectives and experiences are represented on your team—which is exactly why you should also be evaluating your candidate’s potential for culture add, too.  

Culture Fit vs. Culture Add: What’s the Difference?

When you assess a candidate’s culture fit, you’re looking for signs that their beliefs, values, and overall ethos align with that of the company’s. The idea is that someone who “fits in” will be productive and effective in their position based on their alignment with the team’s already-established values.  

Culture add, on the other hand, focuses on hiring people who can bring unique perspectives, experiences, and skills to your organization. The goal is to create a more diverse, inclusive, and productive workforce by avoiding homogenous ways of thinking that could stifle innovation, as well as reduce bias in the hiring process.  

24 Interview Questions to Ask for Culture

To assess whether your candidate aligns with your team’s values, you need to ask the right questions. Do their answers coincide with the attitude and values of your team. Do they fit in with the organized, risk-taking, and dedicated spirit of your department?  

It’s not a good idea to just evaluate their potential to assimilate, however. Consider how their perspective, experiences, or methods could enhance your team or improve a process.   

We’ve created a list of 24 strategic interview questions that assess whether or not your candidate’s values align with those of your team, and if they can bring something new to the table: 

Culture Interview Questions on Teamwork and Collaboration 

  • How do you approach teamwork and collaboration?  
  • In what ways can your manager best support you? 
  • What work habits do think best promote team collaboration and camaraderie?  
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for building strong relationships with colleagues and clients? 
  • How do you go about making sure all team members feel valued and included in the team’s work? 

Culture Interview Questions on Work Ethic, Learning, and Growth

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? What about 10 years?  
  • If you saw an opportunity to improve an existing process or workflow, how would you broach the subject with your manager?  
  • What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned in your professional career?  
  • What do you wish to achieve in your first six months in the position? What about the first year?  
  • What’s your preferred learning style?   
  • Which tools, apps, or methods do you use to stay productive?  
  • If you could learn a new skill, what would it be, and why?  
  • Can you describe a time when you had to balance competing priorities? 

Culture Interview Questions on Communication 

  • Can you describe a time when you had a disagreement with a colleague at work? How did you work to resolve it, and what was the outcome?  
  • How do respond to constructive feedback?  
  • How do you go about giving constructive feedback?  
  • How do you go about communicating with coworkers who have different communication styles than your own?  
  • Can you provide an example of a time you had to persuade someone or change their approach? 

Other Culture Interview Questions

  • What inspired you to apply for this position?  
  • What is your impression of our company’s culture? Do you see any places where you would make improvements?  
  • What role does empathy and emotional intelligence play at work?  
  • What unique skills, qualifications, or traits will you bring to our team?  
  • Can you tell me about a time you actively sought out an opportunity to learn from someone with different perspective than your own? 
  • Can you describe a time when you challenged the status quo? 

In summary, culture interview questions are a powerful tool for hiring managers seeking to build a strong and cohesive team. However, it’s crucial you’re taking care to balance cultural fit with diversity and inclusion to create a dynamic and innovative team.  

Not sure where to start? We can help! As a talent optimization and management partner, we’ll tailor our recruitment solutions to fit your unique needs, culture, and values. Contact us today: