During each part of the recruitment process, the importance of cultural fit is often underestimated. Most candidates focus on showing the company they’re interviewing their work experiences, technical skills, and qualifications. However, candidates tend to dismiss checking if their values and work culture are aligned with the company’s culture.
The cultural fit evaluation is one of the most difficult to do as, unlike technical competence, the only way to verify its quality is based on human judgment because it can’t be objectively measured.
For that reason, we want to share our key tips to help you get more confidence and effectively prepare your culture fit for the interview. But let’s check first what exactly culture fit is and why it’s important.
What does ‘culture fit’ really mean?
Inside the corporate world, ‘culture’ is defined as a ‘set of shared actions, objectives, values and practices that characterize an organization’. Cultural fit is initially an institutionalization of the beliefs, vision, and values of the company’s founders and how they decided to relate to the employees. Further, it is naturally developed by the working coexistence and social behavior of everyone who works there.
So, ‘culture fit’ has a simple meaning: to fit in with the culture of a company.
The importance of cultural fit
Imagine this: You have most of the technical skills this job requires but lack some of them. It’s not inherently a problematic situation because the company could invest time and train you to solve these technical issues.
But it is unlikely to solve a culture fit problem: If the company’s values, goals, and common behaviors are not compatible with your own, no training and resources could fix this incompatibility. Even if you are the best tech professional, the company will likely notice if you don’t match their culture during the recruitment process.
It’s very important to verify if the company’s culture fits you before doing the interview process. It is better to make sure the company you are looking for is right for you, this way you will avoid wasting your time on wrong decisions.
So, keep that in mind, and let’s get you prepared for cultural fit interview questions!
- Know the company culture
The first thing to do is analyze how the company communicates with you in the job description. The language used reveals what kind of priorities and values they have. For example, a job description that doesn’t mention employee perks and emphasizes having a fast-paced working environment and prioritizing tight deadlines, probably won’t prioritize work-life balance.
The second is to search on the internet for any information about the company. Do some research on the company’s social media profiles to understand how they relate to their followers, customers, and employees. Access LinkedIn to know what the company’s account and employees are sharing, for example.
Also, take a look at job review sites, such as Glassdoor, which can provide you with a more solid company culture insight.
Finally, visit the company’s website, read its mission statement and write down some keywords that are based on its values, vision, and goals. Try to notice if their culture embraces communicating core beliefs that are aligned with yours.
2. Compare your own work culture to the company culture
Compare the main aspects of what you consider meaningful and valuable to your personal and professional life and what the company could provide you related to that
Before the meeting, find some common points to start the conversation as an icebreaker. Besides that, It can be a great strategy to identify any other cultural aspects that you haven’t matched with and that you wouldn’t be comfortable working with.
Be careful, if you get a job at a company that doesn’t have a cultural match with you, you may go back to look for a job sooner than you expected!
3. Prepare questions for the interview
The interview is a chance to know if the company’s culture fits with your own. Getting questions prepared will give you confirmation if the company is right or not for you. At the same time, it will demonstrate to the interviewer how genuinely interested you are in the company’s values and work processes. You could use some questions such as:
- Why has the role opened up?
- How does the company reward success?
- What is your management style?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- Is there room for growth and career development?
Prepare for culture fit-related questions
The main goal of the interviewer and the hiring manager is to know more about you. Questions related to cultural fit are to discover more about your personality, core values, behavior, and work style.
So once you have taken notes about the company’s culture, make a list of your own. It is a way to develop self-knowledge and be more confident about yourself. Also, by doing that you’ll know how to introduce in the interview your best qualities that correspond to the company’s values, vision, and beliefs.
Have in mind that there are two common cultural questions the interviewer might ask you. Being carefully prepared for these two specific questions, you will notice that you’ll also be prepared for any other questions that might come at the interview.
- Why do you want to work for [company name]?
Think about what cultural points are attractive to you, such as values and attitudes, and why they inspire you. Show them that you understand the company’s vision.
- Why should [company name] choose you?
Try to put on evidence your values that match with the organization. Tell them about what your work and life passions are, what motivates you, and what your soft and hard skills are.
Before the interview, answer the following cultural questions in bullet point format to practice and to be more authentic and natural during the interview:
- What do you look for in a company?
- What are you passionate about?
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
- What can you bring to the company that other candidates can’t?
- What makes you want to come to work each day?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Describe the work environment in which you flourish.
- How important is work-life balance to you?
- Tell me about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
- Talk about a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
The rise of companies hiring remote workers means we need to consider the country’s work culture as well. In the United States, for example, you can generally expect:
- A live-to-work mentality
- High-commitment working hours
- Casual working environment
- Strong work ethic
So if you are interested in an American remote position, don’t hesitate to ask the company to clarify cultural customs in the workplace that are common to the American citizen.