• Erin H


As a candidate, the interview process is as much for you as it is about you. Asking the right questions helps you get to know the culture of the company + team better to make sure the job is a great fit for both of you.

How do you know if you’re interviewing for the right job at the right company? I’m not talking about whether or not they offer a competitive salary, attractive benefits package and nap pods (but seriously, yes.). I’m talking about how do you know if you’re going to vibe with the culture and really enjoy the job?

“...[E]mployees who fit well with their organization, coworkers, and supervisor had greater job satisfaction, were more likely to remain with their organization, and showed superior job performance.”—Forbes

It’s so easy to get swept up in the excitement of a potential new opportunity that we forget to take a minute to breathe and think about whether or not we even want the job we’re interviewing for. If we’re totally honest, our ego always wants the job. But what if we put that aside for a minute? What if we took a beat to think, breathe and consider whether or not the job is even really a fit for us?

"When employees feel like they belong there’s a 56% increase in performance and a 50% drop in turnover."—Harvard Business Review

Here’s the thing about me, I get really excited about new opportunities. A chance to start fresh! Learn something new! Advance my career! Make new office friends! Make a little more money (cha-ching!) But the truth is that none of that stuff matters if you don’t really enjoy the culture of the company. Trust me on this. I’ve been through enough jobs to know that no matter how much money you make or how much you like your office friends, if you aren’t a fit for the culture, no paycheck or vent sessions in your friend’s office can compensate for your dissatisfaction.

I believe life is much too short to not be happy in EVERYTHING we do. Yes, that includes work. We spend more time at work than we do at home during the week with our significant other, spouse and/or families, so we better like the environment and the culture. BUT HOW?! How do you find the right company for you? Because sometimes that search feels like looking for a diamond in the rough (been there).

Kelsey Ley, my good friend and company culture + HR strategist, is back again with some great questions candidates can use during the interview process to get to know the culture of the company and the team they are interviewing with.

Company-Wide Questions

  1. How would you define your company culture? (updated)

  2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your culture? For example employee engagement, communication, accountability, and work/life balance.

  3. What are the company values and how do you see them play out in your day to day operations?

  4. Can you tell me about the meeting habits and routines of the company to keep everyone connected and informed about company initiatives? (quarterly company meetings, a company scorecard to monitor progress toward goals, town hall meetings with the executive team, etc.).

  5. Are there company-wide groups, clubs, or circles working on specific initiatives such as diversity, women or parents in the workplace, and accessibility? Is there a company-wide mentorship program? Can you tell me about each of these initiatives and what success looks like for them?

  6. How do employees receive recognition for their work?

  7. What does performance management look like? (how often do employees receive feedback, who provides feedback, are they tied to strategic company goals, and how are they tied to career progression)

Role-Specific Questions

  1. How do you see this position impacting and supporting the values of the company?

  2. What does accountability look like for my position and what metrics are used to measure success in this role?

  3. Beyond the hard skills required, what soft skills would benefit this position and the company best?

  4. How does this position interact with other members of the organization? What does cross-collaboration look like?

  5. What could I do to make sure I successfully integrate into the team and the organization as quickly as possible, should I get the job?

  6. How are mistakes handled? What are some of the challenges of this position?

  7. What opportunities are there for professional development and career growth? (you’d love to stay awhile if it’s a good fit!)

Good luck during your next interview—you got this!

-- Kelsey

Kelsey Ley is a Company Culture Strategist & Leadership Coach. Over the past 10 years as an educator, artist, and program director, she's managed 200+ people in non-profit organizations, start-ups, and small businesses. Through organizational development, systems thinking, and the design of collaboration, Kelsey's current work focuses on building people-centered teams through virtual trainings for individuals and company-wide engagements.

Learn more about Kelsey and connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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