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20 culture interview questions to ask your interviewees


Finding the perfect candidate for an open role in your business can be a real challenge, as the chances are high that you have amassed a shortlist of qualified and experienced individuals. Having the right interview questions at your disposal is a key element of succeeding – but how do you know which to choose?

There is one type of interview question that can change the interview dynamic and ensure you hire an effective, diverse team: culture interview questions. 

Hiring for culture add can ensure that you find the perfect match. It will help to ensure that your new employees contribute to innovative decision-making, are a good fit for the team, and have values and aspirations that align with those of your company. This step is best done after building Culture Add assessments – as we explain in this article.

Don’t worry if you haven’t found the best culture interview questions – we are here to help. Read on for our comprehensive range of questions to assess skilled applicants to ensure you find the perfect candidate for your needs.

20 culture interview questions to evaluate your candidates

Here are the 20 culture interview questions you can ask candidates to determine how potential employees will affect your team and organization’s dynamic.

1. Describe your main career goals. How have your goals changed over time?

As your applicants progress in their careers and accept more responsibilities, changing their career goals is normal. Some candidates may aspire to become leaders in their field. Others may want to accept additional responsibilities related to their current skill set.

The best applicants will respond with examples that clearly show their career progression goals and aspirations. 87% of millennials state that they want access to professional development opportunities, so consider whether your organization can offer learning and development sessions tailored to their expectations.

This method will enhance the candidate experience and help you to support their career goals and aspirations.

pie chart showing percentage of applicants who want professional growth and development opportunites

2. Can you fill any skill gaps in our organization if we hire you?

Applicants should have a unique skill set they can offer your organization if you hire them. Whether you are hiring a software developer with exceptional debugging skills or an SEO expert with technical SEO skills and experience, you should look for candidates who can enhance your team’s output.

For example, an SEO content expert may have web design experience that helps them write structured content suitable for a webpage, enhancing the traffic your client receives.

As a follow-up question, ask applicants about their best skills to learn how they will increase your team’s productivity – essentially, what can they add to the team if they are hired?

3. How would you challenge our team’s style of thinking?

It’s not easy to think of unique ideas and share them with a new team, but candidates with critical-thinking skills will ensure that your business focuses on innovative concepts and styles of thinking.

Your applicants may mention that research and keeping up-to-date with recent trends helps them challenge a team’s thinking and share new ideas with colleagues in team meetings.

To consider whether your applicants have the right skills, use our Critical Thinking skill test to assess them and ask candidates for examples of ideas they contributed to their current teams.

4. Name something you could teach our team or senior management.

Whether applicants share something related to their role or hobby, they should provide an example of a unique skill or fact when responding to this culture interview question.

Remember that when you review their response, you can also consider if the candidate can communicate effectively and if they successfully taught you something new – this approach will help keep your team dynamic fresh, curious, and innovative.

5. Tell us about a time when you used creative methods to solve a problem.

Creative problem-solving enables individuals to explore open-ended concepts and develop solutions. It can help businesses solve problems quickly and efficiently, so you should look for applicants who can use creative methods to solve problems.

If your applicants use methods such as refraining from judging ideas, overcoming cognitive rigidity, and using creative tools, they may be a good match for your open role.

Talented applicants may have good problem-solving skills, which their Problem Solving skill test results may demonstrate.

6. How do your coworkers benefit from your support?

Applicants may support their team members in various ways, from using their role-specific skills to being collaborative and helping out with the team when needed. For example, software testers may support a software-development team by collaborating with team members in review sessions.

Look for candidates who can describe the positive outcomes of their support, such as increased innovation or stress reduction – ask them for specific examples to show what happened, the role that they played, and how they contributed to the outcome.

7. Describe a time you had to understand a coworker’s perspective to complete a task.

This culture interview question is ideal for discovering more about your applicants’ abilities to work with others. The best applicants will understand that learning from a coworker’s perspective can lead to higher-quality projects and more effective teamwork. For instance, an editor may try to understand why a copywriter uses a particular word before amending their work.

8. What was your first impression of our business’s mission and values?

When hiring applicants, you need a candidate whose values and culture match those of  your organization and who can also challenge the status quo or current thinking style. Getting responses to this interview question will help you determine two things:

  • Whether your candidate’s values align with your business’s mission and values

  • Whether your candidate would add something new and positive to your business’s culture

Candidates whose values completely diverge from your company’s values are unsuitable for your open role, as they will be unable to work with the team and contribute positively to projects. Some candidates, however, may have values that enhance the company and are worth acknowledging in the interview.

9. Name two values you would add to our business’s culture.

Some of the values applicants may mention when responding to this culture interview question include humility and integrity. Listen for responses that show positive and uplifting values that align with your organization’s culture. Will the candidate be a good fit and can they bring something positive?

10. If you were our chief executive, would you change any values in our company culture?

This culture interview question will help you explore whether your applicants’ values complement your company’s culture. It also tests whether your applicants have researched your company’s values and understand why they are so important.

Without criticizing your company culture, applicants may provide suggestions or feedback related to your company culture in an attempt to improve productivity and output quality. 

For instance, they may suggest that enhancing your employees’ work-life balance is important for keeping stress levels low. The ability to speak up and have a strong sense of culture is an important quality and shows that you have a strong candidate on your hands.

11. Have you ever disagreed with a managerial decision that affected your team?

As an employer, you may use this culture interview question to learn about your applicants’ communication and problem-solving skills. Conflicting opinions may be frequent in your work environment, but the best way to resolve them is through situation evaluation and communication, and your candidate must be able to understand and explain this.

Applicants may respond by describing a situation in which they disagreed with a managerial decision, explaining why they differed, discussing how they communicated with their manager, and describing the outcome of the discussion.

Our Communication skill test is the best way to verify your applicants’ communication skills is with our Communication skill test. The test will help you review four communication sub-skills:

  • Active listening

  • Understanding next steps

  • Written communication

  • Using etiquette for communicating

12. Name a skill you learned in the previous year after a lot of practice.

51% of millennials want to learn new skills that help them complete new duties at work, indicating that upskilling is important for many employees. It’s also important that employers hire candidates keen to develop and adapt to change. Therefore, discovering whether your applicants are enthusiastic about learning something new is crucial.

In response to this culture interview question, applicants should share one skill they have learned or improved and explain how they did so. For example, a social-media expert may learn how to increase a client’s brand exposure by uploading posts on new social channels.

13. Have you ever had to change your work-related ideas? What was the outcome?

Sometimes changing a work-related idea can help a team achieve better results. Listen out for responses that explain why your candidate had to change their work-related idea and how it improved a process or project. 

For example, teachers may change their lesson plans to include interactive lessons to keep their students focused on the work. As a result of the change, their students may have achieved better results. Consider what role the candidate played and the impact that they had on the overall outcome.

14. Which traits or management style would you consider ideal in your manager or team leader?

While some team leader traits such as honesty, compassion, and integrity may be non-negotiable, it’s normal for each manager to have their own management style. Asking this interview question may help you learn whether your applicants prefer a lot of guidance from their manager or perform better with greater autonomy. 

Senior-level candidates may prefer a self-directed management approach, while junior applicants may prefer a more guided management approach, but each candidate is likely to have different preferences. The trick is to ensure that they can justify their approach and that they know why their preferred style works.

Consider whether your candidates’ preferences match your team leaders’ management style or whether they can adapt to what your company offers.

15. Which methods do you use to improve the quality of your work?

From learning new skills and managing time efficiently to collaborating with team members, many methods can help candidates improve the quality of their work. The best responses will give an example of a method your candidates have used to improve their work and the outcome they achieved.

For instance, content writers may enhance their SEO copywriting skills to ensure their articles get sufficient traffic.

16. Name a leader or famous person who inspires you to challenge the status quo.

Answers to this culture interview question will reveal more about your candidates’ aspirations and inspirations. Look for candidates with goal-oriented and innovative attitudes who can add new perspectives to your projects and tasks. 

This inspiration may differ for each candidate depending on their field of expertise. For example, candidates applying for a technology role are likely to be inspired by different leaders than applicants seeking a teaching job. The choice they make will be revealing, so this can be an insightful question.

17. Do you work well with employees with less experience than you?

Asking this interview question can determine whether your applicants can collaborate with less-experienced team members, and it may help you evaluate their communication skills based on how they interact with their teams.

Candidates may mention methods they use to work with employees with less experience than them. They may:

  • Meet junior employees frequently

  • Ask questions to determine if junior employees understood their instructions

  • Specify the progress they expect to see

Giving inexperienced employees context about how the organization works is also a key step your candidates may take to help more junior employees. This method may ensure that junior team members deliver better quality work.

18. Do you work well with employees with more experience than you?

Responses to this interview question will show you how your candidates approach learning from more experienced employees. They will help you determine whether applicants can collaborate effectively and receive advice from senior staff.

For example, junior software developer applicants may explain that they collaborate with senior developer team members to hone their skills and build bug-free applications more effectively, showing they can learn from their colleagues.

19. Describe your mentoring experience.

If hiring a senior team member or team leader, it’s a good idea to check whether they have mentoring experience – particularly if their duties will include coaching less experienced team members.

When responding to this culture interview question, applicants may describe their mentoring experience and the outcomes of their coaching methods. Consider whether your candidates’ coaching responsibilities helped their team members improve and ask follow-up questions to determine which coaching methods were most effective.

20. How do you manage your workload when completing projects with team members?

Whether your applicants use project-management tools such as Monday.com, Asana, Trello, or calendar applications to streamline their projects, they should have a method to complete projects punctually with team members.

Ask applicants this culture interview question and follow-up questions to learn whether their methods facilitated project management and helped them complete tasks on time.

When should you use culture interview questions in the hiring process?

Culture interview questions combine well with skills tests for effective and accurate candidate assessment. Indeed, the best way to complete the hiring process is to use skills tests first. This process means you should:

  • Make a culture-add assessment

  • Invite applicants to complete the culture-add assessment

  • Check the results of your candidates’ culture-add assessment

  • Use the results to make a shortlist of applicants

  • Create your list of culture interview questions

  • Complete interviews with your candidates

  • Hire a candidate after looking at their interview responses

list of the optimal order for effective candidate assessment

With this approach to hiring, you can focus on objective hiring and find suitable applicants in less time than required for resume screening.

Find suitable talent with the right values using culture interview questions 

Finding skilled talent with the right values can be time-consuming, but with the two methods mentioned in this article, you can easily assess your candidates and determine the best person for the job.

By using a Culture Add assessment, you can learn how well your candidates’ behaviors and values align with your business’s mission and culture, alongside evaluating any new styles of thinking that may benefit your team’s productivity. Combine this with our culture interview questions to determine if your candidate would be a good addition to your organization.

Choose TestGorilla’s skills tests created by experts, try our platform for free, and check our culture interview questions to facilitate complex hiring decisions. This combination will quickly lead you to the perfect candidate and make your hiring process more efficient.


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