30 types of cultural fit interview questions (with examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To be successful in getting your dream job, it's important you prepare for your interview. Most modern interviews have a structured format that includes a mix of basic 'getting to know you', competency, behavioural pattern and cultural fit questions for the interview. Knowing what cultural fit you're seeking may help you answer interview questions with more ease. In this article, we discuss some of the cultural fit interview questions that may come up.

What is the purpose of cultural fit interview questions?

When a manager is interviewing candidates for a job, they're trying to determine if the applicants are going to fit in at their company, which is why they ask cultural fit interview questions. During an interview, employers are looking for candidates that have:

  • relevant qualifications and expertise for the job.

  • desired behavioural traits or competencies to operate effectively in the role

  • an ability to be a good cultural fit for the organisation and team.

These questions relate to soft skills, such as your preferred working style and natural fit within a team to assess attributes such as your personality and values.

Related: Creating a healthy corporate culture (with tips)

Why cultural fit in a business also matters to candidates

Business cultures aren't right or wrong, although some are healthier than others. They may instead suit different people or personality types. Cultural fit refers to how well a new employee may work in the business environment. This is important because every business and team has its own working culture, and this may not suit everyone. For example:

  • A legal services department may be quiet and methodological, with lots of process-driven work and individual-based tasks.

  • A recruitment services team may be very outgoing, energetic and sales-oriented, with an emphasis on cold-calling and healthy competition to reach targets.

  • A start-up business may have a highly creative, entrepreneurial culture, where individuals work with minimal management and supervision to carry out their tasks.

With this in mind, job applicants want to confirm that a particular business culture is right for them. So although the bulk of the interview may focus on the interviewer asking culturally fit interview questions, it's important for the candidate to have questions of their own.

Related: What is workplace culture, and what are its characteristics?

30 typical cultural fit questions asked in interviews

Many interviewers have a preferred set of questions to determine cultural fit. This is because every business, team and job is different. So, certain questions may be more relevant than others. These are some common questions that candidates can expect during an interview:

  1. What is your preferred working environment or culture?

  2. What characteristics describe the best manager you've ever worked for, or that you wish you had worked for?

  3. What management style brings out the best in you?

  4. What would motivate you to go above and beyond and give extra effort to perform at your best?

  5. How do you think a manager can help to get the most from their team members? What different styles and traits do you find most valuable in an effective line manager?

  6. Do you like to make friends with your coworkers, perhaps to socialise after work? Or do you prefer to maintain a line between your work and social life?

  7. What aspects of your existing role (or study) do you find the most rewarding and why?

  8. Do you prefer to work alone or in a team? Similarly, do you like working in an office with other people or do you prefer home working?

  9. For you to be successful and happy in your job, what are the three main factors that you're looking for?

  10. How would you describe your preferred working style? Do you prefer to work independently or collaboratively, for example?

  11. What does success mean to you?

  12. How would your coworkers describe you as a team member and as a contributor?

  13. Tell us about a time when you really pleased a customer by going above and beyond - either an internal customer or an external customer.

  14. Everyone in a team has a different informal role to play. How would you describe your contribution to a team?

  15. When working with others, what is your preferred style of interaction and relationship with them?

  16. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond to get a job done. What did you do and what was the outcome?

  17. Tell me about a time that you brought creativity or fresh thinking to a task or project to get a better outcome. What happened?

  18. Tell me about a time that you received particular praise and recognition at work. What was it for and what did you do?

  19. How do you handle pressure and stress?

  20. How do you like to relax and let off steam after a busy week?

  21. Tell me about the last mistake you made at work. What happened and how did you remedy the issue?

  22. How do you prefer to receive feedback on your performance from your manager and your peers?

  23. How important is it for you to have a good work-life balance? What does that look like to you?

  24. What gets you really excited about work? Other than earning an income, what really drives you in your work?

  25. How do you handle disappointment and setbacks?

  26. Why do you think you would fit in well at our company and which of our corporate values resonates most with you?

  27. Tell me about a time you experienced conflict at work, perhaps with a coworker, for example. How did you resolve it?

  28. What would you do in the first 30-90 days of this job if you were to be successful in this interview?

  29. Do you do anything to support charitable causes outside of work, such as volunteering?

  30. Tell me something about yourself that surprises others.

Related:

  • Job search guide: finding companies that value diversity & inclusion

  • Interview question: 'How do you motivate your team?'

What is the best way to answer interview questions about your cultural fit?

While there is no single best way to answer cultural fit interview questions, there are practices that can make it easier to give a good answer and to impress your interview. Try these tips to be as authentic, open and helpful as possible, remembering that the whole point of these questions, and the interview, is to determine a good fit for you and the organisation:

Pause before you answer

Often, when you're nervous, there is a temptation to gabble and to give a fast response to look quick and motivated. But it's usually more effective to pause and gather your thoughts before giving an example. Pause, think about some examples and take a moment before you answer the question.

If you need the interviewer to repeat the question, ask them to do this. Similarly, if you're unsure that you understand a question, ask for clarification. This doesn't show that you lack intelligence. Rather, it shows that you're smart enough to clarify instructions before responding, and this is something that all managers value.

Related:

  • A guide on how to ace an interview (with tips and examples)

  • Things to do before an interview to prepare (plus benefits)

Be open and honest

In the same way that the interviewer is seeking to understand if you may be a good cultural fit for the organisation, you're using the interview to assess whether the organisation could be a good fit for you. Give honest examples and speak freely, whilst portraying your best side. Interviewers know when candidates present an open, honest and authentic demeanour and when they're embellishing answers.

Related: What are motivational interviewing questions? (Plus examples)

Give real examples

Many cultural fit questions are situational, meaning that the interviewer can ask you to give real-life examples of situations that you have been in. Describe things that really happened, and use real-world examples to bring cultural questions to life. For example, if your interviewer asks about your preferred working style, talk about your best recent day at work or something similar. This helps to bring your personality to life and make your answers more interesting and memorable.

It's great to show some personality, as the interviewer wants to know who you are as an individual. Situational answers are also far easier to explore in greater depth and make it easier for you to answer with tangible examples. It's also far easier to be authentic and enthusiastic with a real-world answer, and your body language and tone of voice can really help the interviewer get to know you, even if you're nervous.

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