Powerful Interview Questions to Determine Cultural Fit

Your interview process is worthless unless it empowers you to hire the best cultural fits for your company.  Though every company culture is unique, screening for the “Five C’s” will reveal most of what you need to know to determine a cultural fit:

• Character
• Competence
• Consistent behavior
• Communication skills
• Community

By implementing some or all of the questions below into your interview process, you will surface examples of how candidates rank in the Five C’s.  These are behavioral questions; which are more open-ended, and designed to reveal the rationale behind a candidate’s decision-making.


• Tell about a time when your trustworthiness was challenged. How did you react/respond?
• Tell about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem that challenged fairness or ethnical issues.
• Trust requires personal accountability. Tell about a time when you chose to trust someone? What was the outcome?
• Leaders have to make tough decisions. What was the most difficult one you have had to make?
• Everyone has made some poor decisions or has done something that just did not turn out right. Has this happened to you? What happened?


• How do you schedule your time? Set priorities? How do you successfully “multitask”?
• Provide two examples of things you’ve done in previous jobs that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.
• What was the biggest mistake you have had when delegating work? The biggest success?
• Have you ever been in a situation where you had to bargain with someone? How did you feel about this? What did you do? Give an example.

Consistent Behavior

• Provide an example of a situation where others were intense but you were able to maintain your composure.
• It is important to maintain a positive attitude at work when you have other things on your mind. Give a specific example of when you were able to do that.
• Tell about a time when you took responsibility for an error and were held personally accountable.
• When you have been made aware of, or have discovered for yourself, a problem in your work performance, what was your course of action? Can you give an example?
• Describe the most difficult working relationship you’ve had with an individual. What specific actions did you take to improve the relationship? What was the outcome?


• Give a specific example of a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and what was the outcome? How would you assess your role in diffusing the situation?
• Tell about a time when you built rapport quickly with someone under difficult conditions.
• Tell about a training program that you have developed or enhanced.
• What are your thoughts about volunteerism?  What experiences do you have with charitable or trade associations?
• How involved in the community should the company be? With what? What role do you see yourself playing in such involvement?


• Describe a situation in which you were able to effectively “read” another person and guide your actions by your understanding of their individual needs or values.
• Describe a situation where you felt you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?
• Describe the most significant written document, report or presentation which you had to complete.
• Have you ever had to “sell” an idea to your co-workers or group? How did you do it? Did they “buy” it? Why?
• What do you do to show people that you are listing to them?

Since you define your culture, you should get together with your team to decide on the acceptable range of answers for each question.  This will keep your interview process objective, and lead you toward discussions through which your candidate comparisons will be truly based on cultural alignment.  Since your brand is your culture and your culture is your brand, your success is exponential when you hire leaders who share your cultural DNA.

At Strategic Hospitality Search, our interview process includes screening for a match for your unique culture as well as skills, experience and education.  Let us help you fill your next key position with the perfect match.  Visit www.shs.jobs and contact Joseph D’Alessandro for a free consultation.

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