18 Company Culture Questions To Ask During an Interview
Updated June 9, 2023
When you're interviewing for a job, you have a chance to see if the company is the right fit for you. Toward the end of your interview, the hiring manager is likely to ask if you have any questions for them. Use this as your opportunity to learn more about their company culture.
In this article, we share a list of company culture questions to ask that can help you determine if a particular job aligns with your company culture preferences.
Why it's important to ask about company culture
Having company culture questions to ask during your interview is an important part of determining if a company is the right fit for you. While an interview is your chance to impress an employer, it's also an opportunity to gauge if you may be happy working for them. By asking the right questions, you can tell if this is an environment that aligns with your working style, personality and values. For instance, if you're an extroverted person, you may want a company with an open and social culture.
Interviewers want to hire the best person for the job, and there may be candidates who have the necessary qualifications but may not be a good fit within the culture. Hiring managers know that happier employees are typically more productive, and aligning within the culture may affect this. Asking questions about culture shows your desire to find the right place to work with your ideal company culture, and it may help the interviewer understand how you may work as part of their team.
18 company culture questions to ask during an interview
Here are some company culture questions to ask during your next interview:
1. What is the best part of working here?
This question can help you determine why people choose to stay with the company. If your interviewer can easily list a few perks of working for the company, this can be a good sign. If they hesitate to come up with a good answer, you may want to inquire further about the answer they provide. Their response can help you gauge if you might enjoy working here.
Consider asking follow-up questions about how long they've worked with the company or what path they took to achieve their current position. This may help provide more context about their values and attitude toward the work culture.
2. How does the company support professional development?
If you are someone who wants to move forward in your career, then it's important to inquire about professional development and career growth opportunities. Finding an employer who sponsors things like continuing education, learning seminars and additional training can indicate that they want their employees to excel in their roles.
3. What challenges is the company experiencing?
While this question may relate to topics other than company culture, it can help you see if the company has any internal issues. For instance, if it's rapidly expanding, this could lead to a fast-paced company culture. Asking this question can help you decide if you can handle any challenges the company is currently working through. It may also be beneficial to ask specific questions about the challenges the person the company chooses to hire may experience on a daily or weekly basis.
4. What is your process for giving feedback?
Getting feedback is a part of growing in your career. This question can give you some insight into the company's feedback process. While some companies have extensive performance reviews, others might be more relaxed about giving employees feedback. If you're someone who prefers a lot of structure and support with goal-setting, you may want the employer to have a fully set up feedback system in place. Regardless of the structure, it's essential to find a company with a process for giving feedback to help you learn how to grow, advance or improve in your role.
5. Is this a collaborative work environment?
This question helps you learn if you're likely to be working mostly independently or in a team setting. This is a great company culture question to ask because this can directly impact your work style. If you're someone who works better alone, you might hope for an answer that indicates that the company respects personal boundaries. If you enjoy group work, look for an answer that indicates that you may regularly work with others.
6. What kind of team-building activities do you organize?
An employer who values an open and communicative company culture is likely to encourage employees to engage in team-building activities. By participating in fun games, challenges and events, employees can learn more about each other. Asking this question can help you determine if you may be comfortable participating in the team-building activities the company provides. Other follow-up questions that may help you learn about the culture involve asking about social events, like holiday parties and happy hours, or daily social interactions, such as if people typically eat alone at their desks or together in a break room.
7. What kind of personality types tend to do well here?
This question can help you determine if you have the right personality for this job. An employer typically has an idea of what kind of person might be successful at their company. Use this question to see what your strengths would be in this workplace and what areas you could improve.
8. Can you explain your management style?
Oftentimes, the manager of the job you're applying for is your interviewer. Asking them this question can help you tell if their management style aligns with your own working style. For instance, when just getting into your field, you may want a manager who's actively involved in your tasks and supportive. Likewise, if you're highly skilled at your job, you may prefer a manager who is more laid back. Listen to their answer carefully to get a true understanding of what they're like as a manager because they may discuss both positive and negative traits.
9. What are the main values of this company?
You can learn a lot about a company's culture by getting to know its core values. If your interviewer can easily list them off, this is a good sign that the company's values are a central part of the work you might be doing. You could even go a little further and ask how they reflect these values in the work that they do.
Another way to get at this information is to ask what the company's mission statement is. If they don't have core values or a mission developed, this may indicate a lack of consistent company culture.
10. What does work-life balance mean to you?
Asking this question can help you determine if the interviewer's definition of a healthy work-life balance aligns with your own. If you're someone who needs specific barriers between your work life and personal life, look for some clear indicators in their answer. For instance, "We encourage employees to turn off their notifications outside of working hours," or "Our paid-time-off policy ensures employees get enough personal time throughout the year," are both answers that show they value a work-life balance.
11. How do you acknowledge employee success?
An indicator of a positive work environment is when an employer celebrates their employees' achievements. Getting recognition for your hard work is a good feeling. By creating a culture of praise and acknowledgment, companies can boost employee morale and improve retention rates. Asking this question helps you figure out how an employer might reward you for doing well at your job.
12. What is the process for onboarding new employees?
The onboarding process can be the most important part of setting an employee up for success. When an employer has an extensive onboarding process that involves helping new hires feel welcome, this may be an indicator of a positive company culture. This question can help you learn what to expect during your first few weeks of work if you were to get the job. Keep in mind that smaller companies may have a less detailed onboarding process than larger organizations, but listen for the ways the company teaches new employees and sets them up for success.
13. What does your team do to address employees' failures?
A quality employer understands that people can make mistakes or struggle to reach their goals. Asking this question can help you figure out what strategies this employer uses to help employees learn from their challenges. Look for an answer where they explain the process for overcoming shortcomings. Use their response to decide if they are willing to uplift employees and help them reach their goals. Some positive ways to address employee challenges include additional training or mentorship opportunities.
14. Does this company do anything to give back?
If you are someone who values volunteerism and charity support, asking this question can help you learn if your company values giving back to those in need. See if the interviewer is willing to discuss what organizations or causes the company supports. Research the organizations the company supports, and compare how their values align with your own. Some companies even give employees the opportunity to take time off to volunteer.
15. What is the dress code here?
While you may be able to tell what the dress code is just by looking around, this question can help you learn what the company expects you to wear on a daily basis. While some people don't mind having to dress up every day, others prefer a more casual and comfortable look. Although this may not be your determining factor when accepting a job offer, it's still important to consider.
16. What changes have you noticed about company culture in recent years or since you started working here?
Hearing the answer to this question helps you understand what the hiring manager thinks is important. It may also let you know if they remain positive or if they make negative comments and indicate they wish things were like they were in the past.
17. Does the company have a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)?
If the interviewer describes a DE&I plan or action taken by the company to ensure equality, it shows proactivity and fairness. Understanding if the company's mission aligns with your values regarding this issue is vital.
18. How does the company ensure any remote or hybrid employees feel included and valued?
How a hiring manager answers this question shows how dedicated management is in its efforts to ensure all employees feel like they're part of a team and the company's successes. If they don't answer this, it may be a cautionary sign that the organization struggles to value all employees equally.
Tips for asking about company culture
Follow these tips when figuring out which company culture questions to ask during your interview:
Do some research
Before your interview, try to find out as much about the company's culture as possible. See what kind of social media presence they have and whether they include anything relevant on their website. Use what you find to inform your questions and guide your conversation. It's important to not rely on the company's website alone for information. Check employee review websites for insight, and look for recent news articles about the company.
Read more: The Complete Guide to Researching a Company
Ask employees questions
If you get the chance to meet with any employees of the company, ask them some questions about the company's culture. They may be able to give you more authentic answers since you may potentially become one of them. Keep your questions general so they don't think you're attempting to gossip or hear negative things about the organization.
Reflect on your own preferences
When coming up with a list of questions, determine what's important to you. If you want a social work environment, come up with questions that can help you learn if a company is open and collaborative. If you prefer flexibility and freedom, ask about their schedule expectations. Make sure your questions help you gain a better understanding of what it's like to work there.
Ask the same questions
When you have a series of interviews, ask the same questions at the end of each interview. Afterward, write down some notes to help you remember each interviewer's answers. Once you are done with all of your interviews, compare your notes to see which workplace is the best fit for you.
Remember that no company is perfect, nor is there a perfect answer to any of your questions. Remember your goal is to gain an overall feeling about how it may be to work at a company each day.
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