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Culture Fit Interview: A Guide for Employers and Job Seekers

Amrita Kar

Last Updated: 17 April 2023

In this article:

What is culture fit?

Culture fit refers to the extent to which an individual's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors align with the values, norms, and practices of an organization. It is the degree to which a person's personality, work style, and other traits match the culture of a company.

The importance of cultural fit in the hiring process

1. Promotes a positive work environment

Hiring employees who fit well with the culture of the organization helps create a positive work environment. It results in people feeling comfortable, connected, and engaged. So companies try to elevate organizational culture from good to great continuously. 

2. Enhances teamwork and collaboration

When team members share common values, beliefs, and practices, they are more likely to work together effectively towards a common goal. There is a sense of mutual respect and safety that helps them bring their best to work. 

3. Improves employee retention

Hiring for culture fit also enables organizations to hire candidates who value the organizational culture naturally. This helps ensure higher levels of employee engagement, and job satisfaction, leading to stronger loyalty and retention trends.

4. Ensures alignment with company values

As a company grows, there is a high chance for the culture and values to get diluted. However, intentionally hiring employees who are aligned with company culture can help preserve, scale, and enrich the company culture.

5. Enhancing organizational performance

Focusing on culture fit attracts employees who communicate well with each other, adapt quickly, have mutual respect and get great work done. It sets a strong foundation and eliminates needless friction and breeds productivity.

Benefits of conducting culture fit interviews

1. Improved hiring outcomes

Culture fit interviews can help identify candidates who are likely to fit well with the organization's culture, resulting in improved hiring outcomes, such as higher retention rates, better employee experience, and increased productivity. 

2. Better candidate experience

Culture fit interviews help candidates understand your culture and the importance you place on it. With remote work booming, culture-fit interviews become even more important. They can help candidates make more-informed career decisions and choose if they want to work with you or not.

3. More informed hiring decisions

Culture fit interviews can help provide additional information about a candidate beyond their technical skills and experience. This gives hiring managers a more complete picture of the candidate and allows them to make good hiring decisions. 

4. Reduced turnover and associated costs

By hiring employees who fit well with the organization's culture, the likelihood of turnover and associated costs can be reduced, resulting in cost savings. 

However, hiring for culture fit alone doesn't solve it. You also need to track how your employees are feeling and thriving in your culture. This will give you data to bring positive changes to the workplace.

How to assess a candidate's cultural fit

Assessing the cultural fit of candidates is a challenging task. However, with a well-planned process and a great set of questions, you can effectively assess them.

1. Behavior-based questions

These interviews assess how a candidate has behaved in the past, providing insights into their values and work style. Behavioural interviews can give you glimpses of how candidates might work or interact in your organization's culture. Examples:

  • Can you describe a situation where you had to handle a difficult customer? What actions did you take, and what was the outcome?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to adapt to a new situation or process quickly? What did you do, and what was the outcome?

2. Personality assessments

Personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Big Five personality traits, help identify a candidate's personality traits. These can then be compared to the organization's cultural values and norms. 

3. Value-based and situational questions

Situational questions help assess how a candidate might handle specific situations, giving insights into their values and priorities, as well as problem-solving and decision-making skills. These questions help understand their motivations, their ideal work environment and their thoughts on work-life balance, teamwork, collaboration, etc. Examples:

  • Describe a time when you had to make a decision that went against popular opinion or the majority. 
  • Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize conflicting values or priorities. 

How to assess cultural fit during the interview process  

Here are some steps that can help assess cultural fit during the interview process:

1. Before conducting a culture fit interview, it's important to clearly define your organization's culture. Check employee reviews, and evaluate company values, speak with current and former employees to get an idea of the culture that prevails and the culture you want to promote. This will help you identify the specific qualities you're looking for in a candidate.

2. During the interview process, ask questions that allow candidates to describe their problem-solving skills, work style, communication style and so on.

3. Observe their body language and tone of voice for additional insights throughout the process. For example, smiling, maintaining eye contact, and leaning in to listen can signal collaborative strengths. In contrast, a more closed-off body language such as crossing arms or avoiding eye contact can signal otherwise.

4. Evaluate the candidate's communication style to see if it aligns with your organization's style. Are they direct and to the point, or do they prefer a more collaborative approach? Are they comfortable communicating with people from different backgrounds and levels of the organization?

5. Look for shared values and interests between the candidate and the organization. This could include a passion for the organization's mission, alignment with the organization's values, or a shared interest in a particular field or industry.

6. Ask the candidate for references from past colleagues or managers. Ask their references about the candidate's work style, communication style, and ability to work in a team. 

Importance of asking both behavioral and situational interview questions  

Behavioral and situational interview questions are both important tools for evaluating a candidate's fit for a role and the organization. They offer different yet equally important insights into a candidate's abilities and fit for the role.

Behavioral questions allow you to evaluate a candidate's past experiences, while situational questions give you a sense of how they might approach new situations in the future. By using both types of questions, you can get a more complete picture of a candidate's skills, work style, and fit for the organization.

Examples of cultural fit interview questions

  1. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment? How did your values play a role in achieving this accomplishment? 
  2. Describe a time when you had to make a tough ethical decision. How did you handle the situation? 
  3. How do you stay motivated when working on a challenging project? 
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a new work environment. How did you go about doing so? 
  5. If you were given a project with a tight deadline, how would you go about managing your time and ensuring quality work?
  6. If you had the opportunity to lead a team, what leadership style would you use and why? 
  7. You notice a colleague taking credit for work that wasn't theirs. How would you handle this situation? 
  8. If you were given a project that you didn't have prior experience with, how would you go about learning the necessary skills?
  9. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a decision made by your supervisor. How did you handle the situation? 
  10. What do you value most in a team environment? 
  11. Describe a time when you had to take the lead on a project. How did you go about doing so? 
  12. Tell me about a time when you had to work on a project that required a lot of collaboration. How did you ensure everyone was on the same page? 
  13. Let's say, your coworker has a different communication style than yours. How would you ensure effective communication/collaboration on projects? 
  14. If you disagreed with a colleague, how would you go about resolving the issue?
  15. If you noticed a colleague was struggling with their workload, how would you approach them and offer to help?
  16. If you were given a project that required you to work with a team from a different department, how would you go about building relationships and ensuring effective collaboration? 
  17. Describe a time when you had to work under pressure. How did you handle the situation? 
  18. What motivates you to do your best work? 
  19. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond your job description. How did you handle the situation? 
  20. How do you ensure you maintain a work-life balance? 
  21. Describe a time when you had to learn a new skill or technology. How did you approach the learning process? 
  22. If you have a tight deadline, and a team member is not meeting their commitments. How would you approach the situation?
  23. If you were given a project that was outside your area of expertise, how would you approach it? 
  24. How would you respond to constructive criticism that you don't agree with?
  25. If a colleague is struggling with a personal issue, how would you offer support while ensuring their work doesn't suffer? 

Tips and best practices for conducting culture fit interviews

A. Best practices for conducting a culture-fit interview

1. Define what 'good' looks like

A common mistake in hiring for culture fit is not defining what 'good' looks like. Everybody has a different idea of a good fit based on personal or professional preferences. It is vital to evaluate your company culture and define a good candidate who fits the culture.

A hiring team aligned with this idea is better prepared to assess candidates. Also, it removes bias from the process.

2. Involve multiple team members

Involve various team members in the interview process to get a well-rounded view of the candidate. This can include team members from different departments or levels of the organization.

3. Create a structured interview process

Create a structured interview process to ensure consistency in the questions asked and the evaluation of the candidate's responses. This can help reduce the potential for bias in the evaluation process. 

A great way to do this is by using interview scorecards. Interview scorecards improve interviewers' efficiency and objectivity instantly.

4. Provide information about your organization

Provide information about your organization's culture, values, and work environment to the candidate before the interview. This can help them prepare and provide more relevant responses during the interview. 

5. Most important: Measure and optimize

Even though culture is not a tangible concept, it should be measured and evaluated. That's the only way to build one. 

One of the common ways organizations measure culture is through employee engagement surveys. You can check the pulse of your employees, initiate a dialogue about culture and take necessary actions. Other ways to measure culture are through focus groups, performance metrics, observations and external feedback.

However, there's an even better way to do it, proactively. HR chatbots like Amber, talk to employees and gather feedback in real time, enabling them to act quickly and understand better. 

B. How to integrate culture fit assessments into the overall interview process

1. Add culture-fit questions to your standard interview templates

Start the interview with culture-fit questions to set the tone for the rest of the interview. This can help you establish whether the candidate is a good fit early on. Include culture-fit questions in your standard interview template. so that all candidates are asked the same questions and you can compare candidates more efficiently. 

2. Use follow-up questions to probe deeper

Use follow-up questions to probe deeper into the candidate's responses. Follow-up questions can help you better understand the candidate's communication style, problem-solving approach, adaptability, teamwork skills, and motivation, which are all important factors in determining their fit with your company culture.

3. Showcase your organization's culture through the process

Provide information about your organization's culture, values, and work environment to the candidate before the interview. This can empower them to provide more relevant responses during the interview. You can even analyze and showcase culture/engagement statistics to prospective candidates.

You could also offer a workplace tour to help them get a sense of the company culture and decide if it's a place they gravitate towards. 


Companies that build a great culture will not have to worry about attracting talent, creating beautiful products and experiences, or success. They will inevitably show up as a result of great people coming together at a great place to work.

Like many popularly believe great culture isn't only about bringing in the right people, but also about hearing them out, giving them the right tech and enabling a productive environment.

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