Building your internal culture starts from your interviewing process. That’s when you not only need to determine if someone is qualified, but also if they are a good fit from a team culture standpoint. 

While finding someone who is qualified is obviously important, we would argue that finding someone who fits the culture is even more important. To some people, that may seem backwards because the thought is if you don’t have someone qualified, they won’t know how to do certain things or won’t produce good work. 

Now, we aren’t saying you should take someone with zero experience because they are a good culture fit. It’s not one or the other. We are saying you should hire someone who has less experience than other candidates because they are more of a culture fit. They should still have a certain level of experience. However, the beautiful thing about the skills required to do a job are they can be taught. If they have base knowledge, you can build upon that until they really become a polished expert in their field.

But you know what can’t be taught? Internal culture.

Someone either fits into your culture or they don’t. They either understand what you’re trying to accomplish as a company and can get behind that vision or they can’t. Your job during the interview process is to figure out how well they fit as much as it is to determine if they are qualified. 

And the beautiful thing about culture is you determine what it should be. Do you want a company where things are more relaxed and your employees feel like they can openly voice their opinions? Great – build that culture by asking interview questions about that type of environment. Do you want a very professional company where employees must dress up and conduct themselves in a very mature manner? That works, too. Build that culture each time you hire.

The point is culture isn’t one-size-fits-all. You can create whatever culture you want as long as it’s a constructive work environment. 

And because culture isn’t one-size-fits-all, we can only give you a glimpse into what interview questions we ask to build our culture. We ask questions that reflect our laid back environment to find people who we wouldn’t mind hanging out with every day. Some of our most common interview questions related to culture include:

  1. What animal do you most closely associate with and why?
  2. Who is the most influential person in your life, and why are they so influential?
  3. What are five things you’d bring with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?
  4. If you were to have a company and create your own core values, what would they be?
  5. What are some things about you that surprise most people?

We have found that the way people react to those questions say as much as their answers do. People who get excited at our questions are the people who we hire. Because we know they will be able to handle and contribute to our sometimes off-the-wall culture.

However, like we previously said, it isn’t always fun and games. We also ask questions to determine if they are qualified and can handle the job. Some of the most common interview questions we ask regarding job competency include:

  1. What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?
  2. How would you describe your work style?
  3. How do you approach a situation you are uncomfortable with?
  4. What are you looking for in a work environment?
  5. How would we be able to put you in the best situation to succeed?

We have found that these 10 most common interview questions have helped us maintain our culture and find employees who thrive in our environment. But remember, culture isn’t one-size-fits-all. You can use these questions as a guide, but you should ask questions that reflect what you want your internal culture to be.

Culture starts at the interview process, and if you weed out the people who won’t appreciate or thrive in your work culture, it’ll save you the trouble of constantly firing people in the long run. So think about what questions are most important to your business, and start building a culture you’ll love.

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