How to Prepare for Cultural Fit Interview Questions

September 15th, 2009 by lewis

Over at the US News blog, Alison Green lists six main factors on “How Employers Choose From Among Many Great Candidates.” Here are the four that caught my eye:

  • How is each candidate likely to get along with the manager?
  • How much does each candidate fit with the company’s culture?
  • How much does each candidate seem to want this particular job?
  • Who do we most want to work with?
Ever notice how numerous companies prefer internal hires over external ones? Or do you see many external hires leave a company shortly after being hired? As Alison’s post underscores, many hiring mangers are concerned about cultural fit. Unfortunately, few candidates take the time to understand a company’s unofficial cultural rules.
What’s the best way to prepare for cultural fit questions? Here are a few ideas:
  • Review the company website. Many companies provide information on a company’s culture. For example, you can find Google’s corporate values on their website.
  • Talk to the employees. Ask friends, family, and alums whether or not they have contacts at a particular company. Also utilize social networking tools, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to find contacts.
  • Be creative. Have an interview at T-Mobile, but don’t know anyone at the company? Visit a store and chat it up with employees. Alternatively, visit, a website that features thousands of user-generated reviews on the companies they work for.
How do you if you’ve got a great response to a cultural fit question? Kevin Gao gives us a glimpse on how one might answer a cultural fit question at an Accenture interview.

At an information session, I met Sally Stone, a consultant in the D.C. office. We ended up chatting for more than an hour. Over the last 3 months, we stayed in touch and she spent innumerable hours answering my questions about the firm, reviewing my resume, and helping me prepare for the case studies. I’ve never met a person as considerate and insightful as she is, and I consider the opportunity to work with people like that to be one of the greatest benefits of a career at Accenture.

This interview response is unique and filled with detail. Better yet, it demonstrates how much the candidate wants the job.

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One Response to “How to Prepare for Cultural Fit Interview Questions”

  1. October 01, 2009 at 4:18 pm, Pete K said:

    Very crucial stuff! Thanks for this very important blog entry!

    Although I'm not entirely sure that HR personnel have or do not have the appropriate training in psychology, human development, and social interaction, at one job I held, the Myers-Briggs Instrument was used as a tool during supervisor training by our HR department. The idea was that the Myers-Briggs typology could help highlight our supervisory style and give us insight into our strengths and weaknesses during supervisor-employee interactions.

    The person who administered the test went over the results with me and was amazed that I had scored diametrically opposite to practically everyone in my department! What this told me was that I had a steep road to trek as far as corporate culture was concerned. The lesson for me was that we cannot take cultural fit for granted and that a few questions posed to prospective employers can be a huge help. I am not shy to ask about the culture, about how the interviewer's career got him to this point, about her management style, and their biggest source of job satisfaction. It's just as important for me to know what makes people tick as it is for me to honestly reveal what makes me tick as well.