Company culture interview questions and answers
What is company culture and how does it impact the workplace? Company culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.
For example, some companies have a team-based culture with employee participation on all levels, while others have a more traditional and formal management style. Other companies have a casual workplace without many rules and regulations.
Google is an example of an organization with clear company culture. According to the website, the company still feels like a small company with an informal atmosphere, even though it has grown tremendously:
Why company culture matters
The reason that interviewers ask company culture interview questions is that it’s important for their success. Company culture is important to employees because workers are more likely to enjoy their time in the workplace when they fit in with the company culture.
Employees tend to enjoy work when their needs and values are consistent with those in the workplace. They tend to develop better relationships with coworkers and are even more productive.
On the other hand, if you work for a company where you don’t fit in with the company culture, you are likely to take far less pleasure out of your work. For example, if you prefer to work independently, but work for a company that emphasizes teamwork (or has shared office spaces), you are likely to be less happy and less efficient.
When you work at a company with a traditional management style your job responsibilities will be clearly defined, and there may not be opportunities to advance without going through a formal promotion or transfer process. At a more casual workplace, employees often have the opportunity to take on new projects, and additional roles, as time permits.
How to learn about a company’s culture
When job searching, it is important to look for jobs where you would fit in with the company culture. However, it is not always easy to understand a company’s culture. Below are some tips for assessing a company’s culture during your job search:
Check out the company website
In particular, look at the company’s “About Us” page. This will often have a description of the company’s mission and values. Some company websites also have testimonials from employees, which can be a useful way to hear about the culture firsthand.
Do some research
Beyond looking at the company website, you can also check out a number of online resources that provide details on company culture. Glassdoor, for example, provides reviews of companies written by employees. Publications and websites like Business Insider and Entrepreneur also create annual lists of organizations with the best company culture. Ask yourself questions such as:
What does it take for someone to be successful here?
What kind of personal characteristics is the interviewer looking for? Risk-taking? Entrepreneurial spirit? A team player? Take note of the personality traits that are encouraged and rewarded and think about what this says about company culture. Asking this question early in the interview also allows you to incorporate these sought-after characteristics into your answers.
What kinds of employee achievements are recognized by the company?
Again, the answer to this question will reflect what the company values and rewards — especially if any unusual awards are given outside the standard sales or customer-service awards.
Can you describe the environment here?
Listen to the adjectives the interviewer uses. What aspects of working there does he or she choose to talk about — the camaraderie among employees, the career development opportunities or the free breakfast bar?
How often are company meetings held?
Are meetings held weekly? Monthly? Yearly? Who attends? What does this say about the priority management gives to keeping its employees informed?
What kind of sponsorships or philanthropic activities does the company participate in?
Does the company support programs like Take Our Daughters to Work Day and encourage employees to participate in a walk/run for a particular charity, or does it steer clear of these things? Are you comfortable with the activities the company publicly supports?
Also, pay attention to the kinds of questions you are asked. Are the interviewer’s questions eliciting responses that reveal your values and expectations? If the company has stated cultural values, do their questions reflect them? Is employee/employer fit a concern for the interviewer?
Make sure there’s a good fit between you and the company
Jobs aren’t just a paycheck, and, given the amount of time spent working, it’s important for both the employee and the employer to make sure there’s a good fit. If you’re not going to be happy working at a job or for a company, it may be better to pass on the opportunity and move on. Before you accept a job you’re not sure about, take some to ensure it’s a good fit for your skill set, experience, personality, and goals for the future.
Finally, don’t leave the company without getting a good look around. A few glances around the office can provide volumes of important information on corporate cultures, such as:
The Physical Layout
Are the VPs in cubes like other employees or in plush offices? Are special rooms delineated as “team” rooms for collaborative work or brainstorming? Does the layout promote or discourage interaction between departments?
What’s on the Walls?
What does the break room or lobby look like? Things like a picture of the company softball team, the sign-up sheet for a college basketball pool or an open invitation to a yoga class all indicate what daily life might be like.
Your Overall Impression of the Place
From the dress code to the door code, can you picture yourself working there? What does your gut say about becoming part of this company?
Although you can survive a bad fit in a company’s culture, why endure a mismatch when you could be thriving elsewhere? For many people, work is more than a paycheck; it is where they meet their friends or spouse, spend most of their waking hours and define their personal identity.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic