Culture Questions to Ask During the Interview Process

When a company conducts interviews for a new position, there is a large evaluation process that ensues on their end. Their questions and job requirements are aimed at gauging if each candidate is a good fit for their company and if a long-term future with this individual is viable and beneficial.

When you are the candidate being interviewed, don’t miss your opportunity – and responsibility – to practice the same due diligence in return. By asking questions during your interview, specifically regarding the atmosphere and culture of the firm, you are helping to vet the work environment you may be signing up for. This approach will ultimately help you in determining which role is right for you, and will actually reflect positively on you as a candidate. The interviewer will not be offended, and in most cases will be rather impressed that you are taking this role seriously enough to ask inquisitive questions.

When evaluating any job opportunity, we can’t stress enough how important the firm culture is. The people you work alongside will ultimately form and shape the experience you have, regardless of the actual day-to-day work you will be doing. Taking a moment to ask some of these culture-based questions during your interview will pay dividends and give you the best idea of how this potential employer operates.

How would you describe your company’s culture?

Simple and to the point. Hearing the answer to this question in your employer’s own words will help inform the true nature of the company – this perspective is much more valuable than something you might read in an online forum or on the corporate website.

What values are most important to this firm?

The answer to this question will give you a clear idea of the work environment you will be stepping into. Words like “success, profitability, excellence” vs. those like “inclusion, collaboration, purpose” create very different outlines.

What makes people stay at this firm?

As someone who is currently working for the firm you are interviewing at, your interviewer should be able to speak directly to the reasons why it is worth spending a portion of your career at this company.

What are the main focuses of the firm in the near-term?

This question is intentionally open-ended, with plenty of room for elaboration. If there is no clear answer to the interviewer, it may speak to a lack of direction from the leadership of the company. On the other hand, if the initiatives mentioned are in alignment with your personal goals or priorities, it may be a sign that the role is a good fit for you.

What is your favorite aspect of working for this firm? The most challenging?

The idea range of the response to this question will vary widely and should speak to the work environment present at the firm. This is also a great question for first-hand personal experience to shine through, which is invaluable to you as the candidate in evaluating whether to accept a role at the firm.

How do you evaluate “success”?

Because the individual conducting the interview is likely a manager, this question will help gain insight as to how the leadership of the firm thinks and which objectives are most important.

In the end, culture is what will make or break your experience in a role. Gauging your potential employer for signs of a supportive and enjoyable work environment is not just a good idea – it’s essential.

Partner with Unity.

We know that navigating the recruitment space can be a challenge. For 10+ years, Unity has specialized in creating long-term partnerships for accounting, finance, tax, IT, and HR professionals by focusing on the needs and aspirations of the individual who matters most…you. We will help you navigate the job search, interview, and acceptance processes while helping you avoid any obstacles. At Unity, we view ourselves as more than your recruiter; we view ourselves as your consultant. Partner with us today.