What non-obvious questions should job candidates be asking to find out if they're a cultural fit? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Tami Rosen, Vice President of People at Quora (2017-present):
Cultural fit is always hard to assess mainly because the interview usually is about the company assessing your skills, potential and cultural fit.
Here are few things to consider when assessing cultural fit for a company.
1) First define what you mean by culture. The term "company culture" gets thrown around a lot and can mean different things to different people. Typically, company culture is the operating philosophies or principles that guide an organization's internal conduct as well as its relationship with its customers, partners, and shareholders. In other words, what a company cares about that will drive their norms and behaviors.
2) Next define what values are important to you when working at a company. It might be worth listing out what matters to you and what you care about. (i.e. I want a culture that encourages debate or where people work in teams and are collaborative.)
3) Then start preparing questions that are both conventional and non-conventional to ask during the interview process when the table is turned for you to learn about the company. I also recommend doing research on the web and with colleagues to find out what people know about the reputation of that company culture.
4) Here are suggested questions you can ask and be thoughtful about which ones makes sense to ask and when.
- Why did he/she joined the company and what do they value most about the culture?
- What surprised them most about the culture once they came on board and why?
- Which aspects of the culture do they value most in 3 adjectives? And why?
- What part of the culture is an obstacle to them being able to do their best work?
- What is something the company claims as a top value but does not live up to it? (i.e. many companies say they have an open and honest culture and they don't practice it.)
- What would they change about the culture if they had a magic wand to do so?
Once you have the answers to your questions and have done your research, you should compare that with what you value and the ways in which you like to work. If they match up for the most part, it is a fit. Also, leverage your instincts and what you experienced on the interview as cues for the way the company operations. This will also be a good indicator for you if you can envision yourself working there.