Any work place would have management talking about ‘organizational culture’. This word ‘culture’ is quite difficult to define in one sentence but it is considered as a powerful element as it is important in shaping your work relations, your work process and how you enjoy your work. Organizational culture is brought up by each employee’s contribution to the organisations through their life experiences.

interview questions about culture

Now, employer would be mostly interested in selecting candidates who are exhibiting those cultural values that the organisation is looking forward to. They merely review if their values, beliefs, outlook and behaviour is congruent with theirs. Why do they need such employees? It’s just that they would work in sync and work well with the organisation. Those who don’t fit into the culture would tend to leave as their values or beliefs don’t match with the organisation.

What sort of questions need to be asked to assess the employee’s culture?

The questions are not only centred around beliefs, values and team work but much more than that to know in depth about the potential candidates.

1) What made you select this company to work and why?

You have to make sure that they intend to join for a specific reason as they might have gone through the company brochures. Get to know as to what they have considered for making their selection. By expressing their intentions and values you would be able to find out if it matches the organisational culture and values.

2) Can you brief on best of your achievements?

This will make the candidate to tell a lot about their values or what do they consider being important. It also showcases how they got them accomplished.

Its a chance to know about the candidate’s perception of achievement and how they view them. The culture of the organisation is to make everyone achieve their expected goals. But how to achieve is solely up to the individual’s interest. Through this question you would be wanting to see where the candidate will fit.

3) What are your expectations here?

This question would bring out the facts that employee has in mind and what sort of career growth he/she is expecting. From this, also, you would know if they would be ready to serve with limited resources. Moreover, it will also describe if they are ready to take on responsibility for assignments at an early stage. Last but not the least, it will help to know if they can carry out work that may be ambiguous.

4) How would you involve in an issue……. and solve it out?

By asking them how would they be able to solve an issue you will come to asses if they will get their hand dirty if needed to. You will need to know if they are ready to get down and verify or look into the issue to get a solution. If this is the culture attribute you are looking for then its fine. There are some who would not have been involved in such work or assignments in their previous work place. Those category of people would not be knowing how to go about to the core of the issue or how to make themselves involved to solve the problem. Such culture difference would be difficult to manage after on.

5) What is your motivation to go to work every day?

Each candidate has their own style of interpreting their motivation. But you will need to evaluate the way they are considering their motivation. For those who are considering that learning is their motivation for working could be considered as great hires. They always stay updated as they get to know what is happening around them and find out how the business is running. This way they are pragmatic in their approach. You would definitely like to consider them as these people are not concerned too much about themselves but rather the world around them.

6) Who is your inspiration and why are you inspired by them?

Each person is definitely inspired by someone or something. Getting them to tell about it gets an insight of their behavioural pattern that is being respected by the individual. The role model that is special to him/her will bring all smiles to their faces and why they are happy to talk about them or it. You can say that their beliefs in life is associated with this inspiration. Such inspirations allows them to work to those values. Would you not like to hire someone whose values are almost as the one organisation has?

7) What is your special nature that makes you great?

You would have observed that everybody has some power in them. This special trait makes them to excel in that work. It could be co-ordinating every activity where you need to ensure that all the team members have their resources or setting right a team that is needed for managing a team. You need to probe more into this aspect to find out what is person adept in. From that aspect you could make your selection and modify his assignment. This could be also said as cultural fit.

8) On given an assignment, will you rely on others to do your work better?

From this question it will allow the candidate to speak about his strengths and weaknesses. If they declare that they would be able to do everything by themselves then you need to rephrase your question to see whether they can handle themselves. But on the other hand, if they speak without hesitation that they don’t know everything then it shows they are willing to improve, learn and grow. Such people are transparent in their working environment and would love to work in collaboration. Your organisation culture which seeks transparency in communication will definitely reconsider such candidates.

9) A list of 5 items is given as choice to you. Which one would you select to make your next career move? Would it be stability, recognition, challenge, money, and environment?

Depending on the choice of company’s culture, if the candidate selects a similar aspect that matches your culture then you are sure to have them on your side. But it is better to know more about the candidate to see if their answer fits. For instance, if he/she answers ‘challenge’ even though he/she has been working in the same level for quite some time, then you should reconsider your opinion about the candidate. But for instance if he/she answers ‘stability’ based on their previous experiences of being laid off repeatedly, then you need to give green signal for such candidates.

10) Have you worked in a team? If yes how did you carry out your work with the team?

There is no more direct question that to ask about the team work. The candidate will definitely tell how they had worked within a team and with a team. Within a team means that he/she was part of the team and had been taking assignments given. With a team means that he/she was leading the team. Leading a team needs lots of patience and skills to manage them. You would also be knowing how he/she had been delegating the work. This culture is always expected in all organization. You would then be able to decide on the behavioural pattern that he/she possess or has experience in.

11) Was there an opportunity where you made a decision based on customer (whether internal or external) needs?

It will identify the candidate’s role in solving issues and making changes to work process if needed. If your culture is customer oriented then you would be expecting a ‘yes’ to this question. Moreover you would be interested to know how or what changes had they made. This culture fit is helping an organisation to move ahead according to the trends in the market.

12) Have you faced any obstacle when you needed to accomplish any assignment and how did you overcome it?

From this question you would get details of any work that was held up due to an issue and way it was handled by the candidate. It will also describe to what level he /she had to go to come out of it. Their problem solving skills are best analysed. It also gives more insight to how they tackled the work and how they interacted with their counterparts or higher ups. You would also come to know what an obstacle is in their point of view.

13) Why did you leave your previous job?

From this question you would be getting to know about the values, beliefs, attributes of the candidate. There could be a specific reason for him/her to leave the previous employment. Getting to know that you will be able to tell whether the candidate will fit your organisational culture or not.

14) How did you develop your skills and knowledge?

Most of the organisations want employees who believe in continuous development. Here you would be able to understand whether the candidate was depending on company for growth or did it on their own. Most of the companies make special plans for the growth or improvement of its employees. Its way to know whether candidate is in pursuit of knowledge and improvement within oneself.

15) If hired what would be most important things you would do on your job?

A very tricky point to note. It helps you to find out what does the candidate know about the job profile and how they intend to take it forward. You might also get to know how they intend to understand their role within the organisation and learn during the process of adaptation. It’s also one way to know what is important in their point of view and how they would approach their new situation.

Hiring Managers are increasingly assessing the culture fit of a candidate to know whether the candidate’s behaviour on the job is in sync with the values and expectations of the organisation. Hence, they make sure they select candidates who fit into the organisation so that they don’t have to start the process all over again.