10 Culture-Based Interview Questions Managers Should Ask

by Elizabeth Dukes on August 11, 2016

Hiring candidates who fit the current and desired company culture is just as important as hiring for skills and experience. When we “fit in” with a particular culture (for example, we share the same norms and values as the group), we feel more competent, satisfied and optimistic. This feeling of belonging translates into better work performance and greater job satisfaction.

If we clash with an organization’s culture, we tend to feel inept and unhappy because our needs aren’t being met, or we aren’t fulfilled by the work we’re doing. This can squander the talents of even the most qualified facilities management candidate.

To get the fit just right, ask these 10 culture-based interview questions during your next interview. These questions will help gauge whether someone will do well in your work environment. Likewise, they’ll also provide some revealing information about a candidate’s true character…

1. What attributes about our company inspired you to apply?

The answer to this question will determine how familiar the candidate already is with your company culture; the assumption being—if they already know what you stand for and applied, they must see themselves as a good fit.

2. Have you ever found it challenging to work with a particular coworker? How would you describe their personality?

These questions offer managers two telling details about a candidate. First, you can gauge their professionalism by how delicately they choose to talk about someone else. Second, you’ll learn what character traits they might clash with.

3. What are three things you require of your work environment in order to be successful?

If your work environment can’t deliver on at least two of the three, it’s evidence that the candidate may not be an ideal fit.

culture based questions4. What are your hobbies?

How someone chooses to spend their free time says a lot about who they are, and what type of culture best fits their personality. Group hobbies may indicate that a candidate will do well in an open, collaborative environment. Solitary hobbies may indicate that a quiet, more independent environment is best.

5. What is one thing that you believe that most others don’t?

This question helps establish whether or not a candidate is capable of thinking independently and, how confident they are at owning their beliefs. It also helps shed light on their values.

6. If you had one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it in the workplace?

Most candidates will claim creativity in one way or another (for example, I’m a creative problem solver). This question asks them to prove it. It also helps gauge their sense of humor and ability to think on their feet and outside the box, as this is likely a question they haven’t rehearsed.

7. What role do you play in a team setting?

It’s advantageous to know how self-aware your candidate is. Do they see themselves as a leader or do they prefer to take direction? Are they an “ideas” person or better at strategy? Consider what type of player your company culture needs to balance the current team.

8. What is your preferred management style?

Does the candidate prefer a micromanager, hands-off leadership or management that’s someplace in the middle? Compare their answer to your current management style. Are the two complementary?

9. Share a hypothetical challenge your organization recently faced and ask the candidate how they would participate in its resolution.

Their answer will reveal their thought process, and how it aligns with your organization’s current workforce and management team.

10. How do you rely on others to make you better?

An ideal candidate will be aware of their limitations and how to rely on the strengths of others to round out their performance. This conscious knowledge of one’s own character is key to maintaining a synergetic culture.

In addition to these 10 questions, you may also want to visit your candidate’s social profiles and pages. Their online communities and social interactions will tell you a great deal about whether or not they will make a good fit for your company’s culture.

Finding the right candidates are a large piece of the success puzzle, but there’s more! Check out our free guide, 4 Ways Innovative Leaders Stay Ahead of the Technology Curve.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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