Company culture questions are an important part of the hiring process. Employers want to get a feel for who you are, your personality and what’s important to you. While it’s best to always answer honestly, these sample questions should help you prepare your answers in advance. Remember, it’s important for you too that your beliefs and personality align with the company’s core values and culture.
1. What motivates you each day?
Don’t try to impress the interviewer by saying something like “helping my employer to achieve strategic goals.” It’s transparent and makes you look dishonest. Is there a part of the job you really enjoy, such as helping people or completing a project? Interviewers want to hear about this, and they want to see how it aligns with their own culture and values.
2. If you could work at any company other than this one, which would it be and why?
Try to name a company that you think would be a great fit for you. For example, if your motivation is helping people, you might want to work for a charity or nonprofit. It’s not a great idea to talk about wanting to start your own business when answering this. That doesn’t answer the question, plus it implies that you’re not really interested in getting involved with a company culture. It’s better to focus on an existing company that you find inspiring. It will sound insincere if you say, “I only want to work at this company,” but what if it’s true? What if you really are interviewing for your dream employer? In that case, you need to talk about your journey to this moment: how you first learned about the company, what attracted you to it, and why it’s better than all others.
3. What is your impression of our corporate culture?
This is something you should research before even applying for the job. Read the company website, check its social media feeds, and talk to anyone you know who is already working there. Get a feeling for what the atmosphere is like before you go in. Otherwise, how will you know if it’s the right place for you? If you haven’t been able to research beforehand, give your impression based on what you know, including what you see around you. Did people in the office seem friendly? Was there an air of intense activity? It goes without saying that you should focus on the positive elements. In particular, talk about the things that make you feel like you would fit in as part of the team. This is what the interviewer really wants to know.
4. Tell me about the type of work environment you prefer.
Interviewers generally ask this question to determine how well you’ll fit in at the company. Be honest but be sure to let the interviewer know you’re adaptable. Do a bit of research on the company culture by checking out the “About Us” section of the company website.
5. In a normal week, how many hours do you usually expect to work?
This can be another tricky question: Employers may be looking for insight into how you manage time effectively or whether you can get the job done efficiently in the allotted time. Others may show interest in knowing if you’re up for 50-60-hour weeks as the norm. If possible, don’t give a specific number of hours in response to this question; keep it general unless the employer insists on specifics. Learn about the company culture before your interview to prepare an answer that will best fit that culture. If the norm for most employees is a 50+ hour week, and that’s not possible for you, you may need to consider seeking employment elsewhere.
6. What would make you excited to come into work every day?
Check the company’s social media pages and website so you understand the company culture. Describe an element of the role you are truly passionate about and link your excitement to why you’d be an asset to the organization. Mention a project the company works if it can be naturally included in your answer.
7. How do you feel about [Famous Movie]?
Your interviewer may ask about your take on Star Wars or another pop culture reference to gauge how you would fit into the company culture. Be honest but remain positive about the reference, even if it’s not your cup of tea. If you are a fan of the movie or other pop culture reference they mention, don’t be afraid to geek out a little bit because that is probably what they’re looking for.
8. What book would you recommend to the team here?
If your industry requires that you be good with words, this question will confirm for your interviewer that you have a favorite book. Consider the company culture and your role when you choose which book you’d recommend. Show your enthusiasm for the book and qualify your answer.
9. How do you acclimate to a team when you start a new job?
Mention things you do to learn skills quickly, such as shadowing employees and additional training. Consider touching on cultural acclimation and how you assimilate to a new team. Mention how important it is to get to know your co-workers and how you do so.
10. Who inspires you?
Be honest with your answer, and feel free to mention personal, professional and nationally recognized people. Don’t just say who inspires you, but why. Connect this back to the company’s values. If it values entrepreneurship and innovation, consider mentioning someone who exemplifies those traits.