40 Questions to Determine Culture Fit from a Phone Interview

40 Questions to Determine Culture Fit from a Phone Interview

Determining a candidate’s culture fit can be tricky. You need to suss out how well their personality, values, and career trajectory fit in with that of your company.

You’ve taken the time to define your culture, make sure it’s represented by your employer branding, and most importantly, screen for overall bad-fits in the pre-application phase. But now that you’ve moved onto interviews, it’s time to get a quantitative idea of how well your candidates will work with your team.

Phone interviews introduce their own challenges: You can’t judge body language or connect as well with a candidate on a personal level. But, don’t let that discourage you from establishing a set list of culture-fit question and scoring them objectively.

Here are some good culture-fit questions that you should try for your next phone interview:

Work History

Chances are, you’ll be asking questions about a candidate’s work history anyway, so pepper in a few that give you a good idea of the company cultures that they are used to, and how they can adapt to yours.

  1. What was the greatest work-day of your life?

  2. Tell me about a time you delegated a task.

  3. What are your top three job qualities?

  4. What gets you excited to come to work?

  5. Describe the best/worst team-building exercise you have ever participated in.

  6. What has been the most valuable lesson of your professional career?

  7. What three words would a current manager/colleague/ report use to describe you?

  8. When is the last time you took a risk professionally?

  9. How do you manage conflict with coworkers?

  10. Describe a time when you exceeded people’s expectations.

Personal Questions

Ethically and legally, you want to be careful about what types of personal questions you ask and how you score them. If you’re comfortable, asking some open-ended questions about a candidate’s values will help you make sure that they are aligned to your organization.

  1. What is teamwork to you?

  2. What can your hobbies tell me that your resume can’t?

  3. What are three personality traits that your butt heads with?

  4. If you were going to start your own business, what would it be?

  5. Are you still friends with any previous colleagues?

  6. How have you changed since five years ago?

  7. Describe your dream job.

  8. What does a successful company culture look like to you?

  9. Who inspires you and why?

  10. What does work-life balance mean to you?

  11. What role does kindness/empathy/ humor play at work?

  12. What does your decision-making process look like?

  13. Would you rather work alone or with a team?

  14. How would you describe your leadership style?

  15. What would be your ideal work schedule?

  16. How do you stay organized?

Working With Us

You want to paint a picture of what working with your company will look like day-to-day. Ask some of these questions, and be sure to give feedback based on reasonable expectations of how they should expect your company and culture to be.

  1. What’s the biggest problem in most offices today and how can you help fix it?

  2. Where/when/how do you do your best work?

  3. How could a manager best support you?

  4. How do you handle stress or tight deadlines?

  5. What motivates you to do your best work?

  6. How do you prefer to communicate with coworkers?

  7. What most appeals to you about this role?

  8. How will this role challenge you?

  9. How would you describe our company culture?

  10. What tools or apps allow you to work more efficiently?

  11. Which of our company’s core values do you most/least identify with?

  12. What would you change about our office/website/hiring process/business model?

  13. Why did you choose to apply here?

  14. If you were to interview for another position at this company, what would it be?

Once you’ve thought of your questions, you need to decide on the best way to objectively score these more subjective questions

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