So, you’ve got an interview coming up and want to make sure you’re choosing a company with a great culture? We’ve got you covered!
Understanding a company’s culture is like finding your squad – you want to work with the right people who share your values and interests. Just like you wouldn’t hang out with friends who don’t get you, finding the right work environment is crucial for a fulfilling career.
Which is why it’s so important to ask interview questions for culture fit, so you can start a new job confident you’re going to love your new work environment.
What is a culture fit?
As a potential employee, it’s all about finding the right “fit” for you in the work environment. Just like how we want to be around friends who share similar values and interests, everyone would like to build a career in a company where they feel comfortable and aligned with their way of doing things.
Why does company culture fit matter for job seekers?
Well, it’s important to note that company culture doesn’t matter to everyone. Some of us just want to clock in, clock out and get paid. And that’s fine! But poor workplace culture is a top issue for Gen Z workers, so if you’ve made it a goal to find a workplace with great company culture, keep reading.
Think about it. Most working Australians spend more time with their coworkers than their friends and family, so it would be great if we could feel comfortable and fulfilled during all those hours together. It’s also about respect, which plays a significant role in predicting a company’s culture rating, carrying over 18 times more influence than the other culture factors.
It’s no secret that the younger generations in the workforce get a bad rap for chronic job hopping —but often, a perceived toxic company culture is one of the main reasons they leave. If you really click with your company’s culture, you’re more likely to stay longer, which means more job satisfaction and less awkwardly handing in resignation letters every six months.
What makes a company a good cultural fit for you?
This will vary from person to person. A green flag for you may be an orange (or even red) flag for someone else. The best thing to do is sit down and really think: what kind of company culture suits me best?
Here are some criteria to consider when making your decision:
When you’re looking for a good cultural fit, it’s essential to find a company with values that align with your own. Take some time to research the company’s mission statement, core values, and any social causes they support. Make sure their values resonate with what you believe in and are passionate about. When your values align with the company’s, you’ll feel more connected to your work and motivated to contribute towards their mission.
Example: “I am passionate about sustainability, and I can see this company is on the 2023 Global 100 list. Green flag!”
The work environment plays a big role in your overall job satisfaction. Consider the company’s culture and work atmosphere. Are they known for being collaborative and supportive, or do they have a more competitive and cutthroat approach? Check out employee reviews on platforms like Glassdoor to get insights into the company’s culture. Also, consider how the physical workspace feels to you when you attend interviews and ask interview questions for culture fit. A welcoming and friendly work environment can make you feel good about going into work and collaborating with your team.
Example: “I’m looking for a workplace that supports its employees, but my friend works at this company and they say their manager makes them feel unsupported. Maybe not the right fit for me.”
Room to grow
If you’re looking to grow your skills or get a promotion after your next position, this is something to consider. Look for companies that invest in their employees’ professional development through training programs, workshops, or mentorship opportunities. When asking interview questions for culture fit, ask about the career progression within the company. Are there opportunities for advancement? Are employees encouraged to take on new challenges and responsibilities? You want to work for a company that supports your growth aspirations and provides a path for you to move up in your career.
Example: “I’m happy where I am for now, but I think I want to step into a leadership position within the next 12 months. I know this company has a great leadership program so I am excited to work there.”
Work perks and benefits can add an extra layer of happiness and convenience to your job. Consider the additional benefits the company offers beyond salary. While work perks shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing a company, they can be a tie-breaker between two potential employers with similar cultural fits. These extra benefits can make your work experience more enjoyable and show that the company values its employees’ happiness and satisfaction.
Example: “I’m stuck between two positions with similar vibes and salaries – however, I know one company offers awesome benefits, like exclusive discounts and cashbacks on brands I love. Green flag!”
What does a good culture fit look like?
Picture this: You don’t dread getting out of bed and going to work.
You feel like you’re on the same wavelength as your colleagues and aligned with the company’s values and goals. You feel comfortable with your team dynamic (whether that’s tight-knit, or more autonomous) and everyone gets along and supports each other. People communicate openly without any drama, and they’re cool with adapting to changes and learning new things. The company trusts you and lets you take charge of your work, but you also have support when you need it. They care about your self care and work-life balance and give you the freedom to handle your personal stuff.
And here’s the most important part: you’re pumped up about where the company is headed in the future. People love working there, so they stick around for the long haul.
How do you assess cultural fit in an interview?
You don’t have to wait until you’ve started in your new position to see if the company will be a good fit. Before you even ask interview questions for culture fit, you can start to look for clues. It’s better for both sides if you proactively assess the cultural fit during the job search and interview process.
You can even start to put the pieces together before you even submit your application. When reading job descriptions, look out for:
- Unrealistic expectations: If the job description seems to demand an excessive amount of work hours, intense availability, or constant overtime, it may suggest a work culture that values long hours over work-life balance.
- Vague job responsibilities: A lack of clarity regarding job responsibilities may indicate a disorganised or poorly structured work environment. It’s essential to know what you’ll be working on to gauge whether it aligns with your skills and interests.
- Frequent hiring: If the company frequently posts the same job openings, it could indicate a high turnover rate and a lack of employee satisfaction.
- Lack of inclusion and diversity: A job description that doesn’t mention diversity and inclusion efforts might indicate a company that doesn’t prioritise creating an inclusive and diverse workplace.
- Lack of employee benefits or perks: A job description that doesn’t mention any employee benefits or perks could suggest a company that doesn’t prioritise its employees’ wellbeing or work-life balance.
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Research the hiring company’s culture before your interview
It’s always a good idea to research the company before an interview. While you’re checking out the website to prepare, you may notice:
- Company values and mission: Look for information about the company’s core values and mission statement. Understanding what they stand for can give you insights into their overall culture and priorities, and help you figure out if these resonate with you.
- Social media presence: Check the company’s social media profiles to see how they interact with employees and the public. Look for posts that showcase company culture, employee achievements, and community involvement.
- Leadership style: Research the company’s leadership team and their backgrounds. Leaders play a significant role in shaping a company’s culture, so understanding their management style can give you an idea of the work environment.
- Company awards and recognitions: Check if the company has received any awards or recognitions for its workplace culture. Awards like “Best Places to Work” can indicate a positive and employee-focused culture.
- Response to crisis or challenges: Observe how the company has handled any past crises or challenges. Their response can provide insights into their values and how they treat their employees during difficult times.
Look out for warning signs in job interviews
Whether you’re catching up in person or online, take note if these red flags arise as you ask interview questions for culture fit:
- Lack of transparency: You’re not just there to talk about your resume. If the interviewer avoids talking about the company’s culture, work environment, or employee satisfaction, it could be a sign of a company that is not open and transparent with its employees.
- High stress or tension: If the interview process feels overly stressful or tense, it might indicate a high-pressure work environment.
- Inconsistent information: If different interviewers provide conflicting information about the company’s values, goals, or work expectations, it might indicate a lack of cultural alignment within the organisation.
- No mention of employee growth or development: If the company doesn’t emphasise opportunities for professional growth, training, or career advancement, it could signify a lack of investment in employees’ development and wellbeing.
- General vibes: There may be absolutely nothing wrong on paper with the interview – they may have been open, engaged and informative when answering interview questions for culture fit. But if you feel a general sense of unease or disinterest in the position, it may not be the right opportunity for you.
Interview questions for culture fit to ask hiring managers
You don’t have to rely on a job description, website and subtle cues from the interviewer to decide if it will be a good culture fit for you. During the interview, be proactive to find out information and set your expectations for culture.
You can ask interview questions for culture fit like:
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- What are the company’s core values, and how do they influence day-to-day operations?
- How does the company foster collaboration and teamwork among employees?
- Can you share an example of how the company recognises and rewards employee contributions?
- What opportunities does the company provide for professional development and career growth?
- How does the company promote work-life balance for its employees?
- How does the company support diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
- What is the leadership style within the organisation, and how does it impact the company culture?
- How does the company handle and adapt to change and challenges?
- Can you provide insight into the company’s approach to employee feedback and suggestions for improvement?
- What is the typical communication style within the company, and how do employees stay informed about company updates and decisions?
- How does the company ensure that employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions?
- What is the company’s stance on work flexibility, remote work, and accommodating personal needs of employees?
- How does the company foster a positive and inclusive work environment?
- Can you share some success stories of employees who have thrived within the company’s culture?
Ask a couple of these interview questions for culture fit during the meeting to understand the company’s culture and show you care about finding the right fit. It shows the hiring manager that you genuinely value the work environment and how well it aligns with your values.
Find your dream job with Swag
Want to find that perfect culture fit in your next role? Swag Jobs lets you create a candidate profile that uses AI to match you with companies where you’d be a great fit. You can search thousands of roles from companies across the globe and talk with hiring managers 1:1. To create your very own Swag profile, head here: Create my profile
The information in this article is current as at August 2023, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero) for its Swag brand. The views expressed in this article are general information provided in good faith to assist job seekers in the current market, and should not be relied on as professional advice. Some Information is based on data supplied by third parties and whilst such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and seek professional advice before making any important career decisions or solely relying on the information in this article.
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