Bring Your Best Self to the Interview
Cultural fit is important to hiring managers
You have the required job skills and qualifications for your dream job, but that's not all the hiring manager will look for. HR pros and hiring managers also assess if the candidate is a good match with their organization's workplace culture. Cultural fit, which is a key component in employee selection, is done through a series of relevant interview questions. Here are some of the most common questions asked of potential employees and a few tips to keep in mind for the interview.
Sample Interview Questions about Cultural Fit
- Describe the work environment or culture in which you are most productive and happy.
- How would your coworkers describe your work style and contributions in your former job?
- What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you have ever had - or wished that you have had?
- Do you have a best friend at work? How do you feel about becoming friends with your coworkers? Is this a wise practice?
- What is your preferred work style? Do you prefer working alone or as part of a team? What percentage of your time would you allocate to each, given the choice?
- Tell us about an occasion when you believe that you delighted a customer, either an internal or an external customer.
- Learn as much as possible about the culture of the organization you are interviewing with. If the information is hard to get, ask the interviewer to describe the organization's culture.
- Know thyself. Assess your values, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Is your culture consistent with the organization's culture? If not, which aspects of your culture are you willing to compromise? For example, if you prefer to work alone, and the organization has a core value of teamwork, you must decide if this is the right environment for you.
- Manage the impressions you make. As soon as you walk through the door, the hiring manager will begin to make assumptions about you (it's human nature). A good "fit" is also determined by written or unwritten rules. Things to consider before coming to the interview:
- Dress and accessories
- Handshake: American culture values a strong handshake.
- Eye contact: lack of eye contact may be considered rude.
- Tone of voice: a soft voice may be misconstrued by some as non-assertive.
- Individualism: Americans value individualism. Point out your individual contributions to the team or organization.
- Friendships in the workplace are important. Give examples of how you manage your friendships and focus primarily on getting the job done effectively and efficiently.
- Cultural competency is a strategic tool that can increase creativity, innovation and productivity. Share a success story that exemplifies your ability to work effectively with a variety of internal and external customers.
Remember that, in any organizational environment, it pays off handsomely to be flexible, to know how to use the cultural traits that support your progress and to manage other aspects of your culture that impede your progress.
Author: Armida Mendez Russell, Co-founder, DiversityFIRST™