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Idealist for Interviews: 6 questions to evaluate potential hires for culture fit

The interview process is where you get to know your candidate and make sure they have the skills necessary to successfully perform the role they are interviewing for. The interview process also gives hiring teams the opportunity to assess another important factor: cultural fit. Here are some questions that may  help you get a feel for whether or not your potential employee will fit culturally.


  • What’s your ideal work environment? Can you provide 2 of your favorite and 2 of your least favorite aspects of organizations where you’ve worked in the past?

This question can tell you in what type of environment the candidate feels most comfortable working. Compare this against the way your own organization functions to try to identify any glaring conflicts. Understanding what is dissatisfying about where they currently work can help you determine if your organization would be a good place for them to thrive. For example, if they prefer to work in a more collaborative environment but your organization has more of a bureaucratic structure, this may be something to take into consideration.


  • What kinds of teams do you feel you work best on?

Think about the type of team you’ve already assembled. If their vision of their dream team matches with the team you’ve formed, this could signal the beginning of a beautiful collaboration!


  • What kind of feedback structure works best for you, both giving and receiving?

Every organization has its own processes for feedback. It may be helpful to get a sense of if the candidate is used to only one-way, top-down feedback, or has the skill and openness to receive and provide peer-to-peer feedback or even upwards toward their manager. Are they good with written and/or verbal feedback?


  • Can you describe a time when you went out of your way or outside of your role to assist a colleague?

This question may provide some insight into a candidate’s willingness to be a team player even when the task isn’t specified or could highlight their general awareness of being in an office with other people and ability to go outside their “zone” (comfort or professional) when necessary.


  • Describe the ideal work day.

This question asks the candidate to articulate what makes them feel most successful in their day to day activities. Employees perform best when they’re motivated. If their vision doesn’t reflect the duties you have in mind for the role they’re interviewing for, this may not be the best fit.


  • What are the characteristics exhibited by the best boss you have ever had—or wish that you have had?

If you are also going to be managing the employee that fills this role, this question is crucial. Ensuring that your management style melds with your future employee’s work style can save both from trouble down the road.


And there you have it! Do you have any questions you ask potential hires to assess cultural fit? We’d love to hear them! Contact us at

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