Written by Sarah Bagheri April 21, 2022(edited on September 28, 2022)
11 Questions Gen Z Job Seekers Have To Ask In A Culture Fit Interview
The work world is changing. Gone are the days of just checking off the prerequisites for a job and blindly saying ‘yes’ to the first offer with a competitive salary.
We now see a big shift where we’re prioritizing workplace cultures that support our goals. Factors like co-workers, mental health awareness, and management styles are just as important as the work itself, if not more so.
Because here’s the thing. If you love the people you work with, going to work will be way more enjoyable. And if you fit the culture, you’ll feel like you belong as soon as you rock up.
That’s why we are asking tough questions in our culture fit interviews and getting the real scoop on what the workday will *actually* look like. If you’re looking for your best-fit position, it’s time to grab a few sticky notes. We’re going to make sure you vibe with your next gig.
Here are 11 questions that Gen Z has to ask to make sure we’ll feel a sense of belonging when we accept our next job.
1. What does an average day look like for someone in my position?
Will you show up and grind for 9 hours straight, or are flexible hours and ‘walking meetings’ with a coworker something that’s encouraged? Is the workplace collaborative, stuffed with inviting fluffy orange bean bags, or is everyone furiously working at their Ikea desks? Is coming into work even expected or is this company fully remote? If so, what does that actually mean? Paint us a picture!
By asking your interviewer what a day looks like, you can start to visualize your new lifestyle. See if you’re going to be embracing the 4 AM rise and shine or if dropping in at 10 AM is totally fine. You’ll also get a feel for the intensity of work and the amount of alone time you’ll be getting. And in this remote world of work, you can get a feel for if this role is in-person, hybrid, or fully remote. This way, you can ensure your work lifestyle is a total fit with your personality.
2. What are the characteristics that you value in your team?
Is this one of those ‘honesty is the best policy’ kind of places or will you be playing some sort of polite politics game? You can learn a lot from what a company values in their employees by asking about their values as a whole.
If you’re crazy ambitious, then you’ll want to make sure you’re finding a company that heavily rewards innovation. If a competitive environment stresses you out, then make sure you’re finding companies that value collaborative and supportive teamwork. It’s all about the people, and companies put out a lot of subtle messaging for the people they want.
3. How would you describe the management style of *insert company*?
We’ve all had or heard of a manager from hell. It’s time we talk about the micro-managing nightmare that we never want again. It’s 100% okay to ask about management styles at your company-to-be.
Is management really involved? Will you be mentored? Is it more of a hands-off, do your stuff kind of vibe? How much hierarchy does the company embrace? You need to know these things to make sure you’ll be able to grow in your role and be happy long-term.
4. How would you describe the company culture?
So simple, right? Just ask them directly about the company culture. Sure, it’s one opinion, but they’re on the inside. They can give you a dose of honesty about their work-life balance and how close they feel to their coworkers.
You’ll hopefully get clear examples, but if you just get general words like inclusive, collaborative, fun, innovative, and fast-paced, then don’t be afraid to dive in with a follow-up question to probe deeper. For example, ask them, “What makes you say inclusive?” or “What do you mean by innovative?”
5. What’s the relationship between most coworkers?
“We’re not a company, we’re a family.” Run. Literally, the only family we can take is the one we were born into. And even sometimes then, it’s a gamble. By asking about the relationship between coworkers, you can figure out if this company does everything together or if everyone is a solid peripheral friend to one another.
Then decide. Do you want the occasional happy hour buddies, or are these people about to be your 24-7 friend group? There’s no wrong answer, but you want to make sure the relationship you have in mind is what your coworkers want too.
6. Do you foster any team building or events outside of work?
Workplaces aren’t just hustle-and-go places anymore. We want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. If you’re just going to spreadsheet and hit it, it’ll be so hard to connect with the people you see every day.
By asking about events, you can see if they’re silly or like to get LIT on the weekends. See if these out-of-work activities are something you’d enjoy. That’ll give you a lot of hints into what the people you’ll be working with will be like.
7. What is the central mission that everyone is working towards?
When we analyze the generations, one thing keeps coming up for us. Mission. You’re over the sketchy company policies that aren’t doing good in the world. You want a place that fully dives into its corporate social responsibility, so you can make sure your work is creating lots of good. Awesome. Keep doing that.
But that’s why it’s so important to ask about a company’s mission. A mission-driven company that prioritizes sustainability, people, and service will attract people who have that same level of empathy. And if you’re all about doing good, you’ll find people who also have that same ‘change the world’ energy.
8. Which qualities do almost all team members have here?
This differs from what the company values in its team because you’re asking someone on the team about their teammates. If your interviewer mentions how ambitious everyone is, you might find yourself in a political environment full of ego. If your interviewer says, everyone is very open-minded, get ready to learn a lot and grow like crazy in this role.
It’s like asking a potential date what they’re looking for in a partner. Forward? Yes. But you’ll learn real quick if you fit in.
9. How much value does *insert company* place on diversity and inclusion?
Another big thing we’re dismantling is the homogenous workplace. Diversity, inclusion, different perspectives, and initiatives are huge when it comes to finding a great place to work.
It might feel odd to ask, but by asking about diversity, you can get a first-hand look at how companies deal with biases on their teams. And more importantly, how they’re actively working to lessen these effects. They have to be putting in the work to make their companies more inclusive. Be direct and ask them straight up what they are doing in this space.
10. How does *insert company* resolve friction and conflict if it arises?
We wish we could tell you that every workday will be peachy and lovely if you find the right culture fit, but the reality is conflict happens. Is this company about to sweep things under the rug or brush you off if you bring up a concern? Or are they into active mediation and conflict resolution?
Conflict management is pivotal if you want the freedom to speak your mind and bring your whole self to work. A company that doesn’t embrace that or allows any sort of friction is a big, bright red flag.
11. What does work-life balance look like at *insert company*, and how is wellness prioritized?
It’s about time! We’re bringing wellness and mental health to the forefront of company policies. Burnout is a daily discussion. Psychiatric medication is being normalized. And we’re all pushing for more mental health coverage and resources.
Even if the job has demanding hours or a fast-paced environment, you have to make sure you have the tools to thrive. What’s their view on PTO? Do people actually take it? Are they encouraged to take it? Is mental health an open discussion? Is employee turnover really high? Make sure taking care of yourself is also a company priority so you can be healthy and happy in the workplace.
A culture-fit interview is just as much for you as it is for your employer. You need to make sure this workplace will feel good when you come to work each day. Good people. Wellness. Balance. Value Alignment. All of these things are pivotal when you’re spending 50 hours a week in your new professional home.
At Candor, we’re changing the narrative of the hush-hush corporate world. We encourage you to ask real questions so you can be your real self at work. Create a free profile today by clicking here.
It’s time we prioritize the people we work with and not just the tasks we do.