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The best company culture questions for candidates to ask in a job interview

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author: Emma Richardson
Blue question mark on pink background

Asking questions during a job interview is a crucial way of showing genuine interest and knowledge in the company you are interviewing for. But beyond this, questions are a chance for candidates to determine if the company will be a good fit for them. In our recent Great Brands Survey, we discovered that out of 1,000 people interviewed, 71.3% wouldn’t work for their favourite brand if they didn’t offer mental health support, 67.5% said the same for flexible working, and 84.7% for a strong diversity policy.

So what are the best questions for candidates to ask in interviews, to better understand company culture? 

To find out, we interviewed two members of our People Experience community, Tina Fiandaca, Change Maker - Mental Health at Utopia, and Ciara Brosnan Head of HR at SISTER, to get their thoughts. 

Tina’s picks:

How is mental/physical health and wellbeing reflected in your organisational strategy? 

Increasingly, businesses should be prepared to answer direct questions on their wellbeing policies. More and more members of Gen Z are entering the workforce, and with them come high expectations around companies supporting employee mental and physical health. A question around policy avoids wishy-washy answers and cuts to how wellbeing is embedded in company culture. 

What does flexible working actually mean here?

Most organisations now offer some kind of flexible working, but different companies have very different understandings of what this actually means. It might be core hours, or completely flexible. If they have a hybrid working policy, these days might be changeable or set in stone. It’s worth digging a little deeper to find out if you think their ‘flexible’ policy represents a genuine culture of care towards employees and their needs. 

What does your leadership team look like? 

This is definitely one to ask for a few reasons. The diversity of the leadership team says a lot about upward mobility for diverse candidates. Their response will give you an idea of their demonstrable commitment to DEI. Additionally, never underestimate the importance of role models so that employees can see themselves represented at a senior level.

Ciara’s picks:

I’ve noticed that your content/product is really diverse, can you tell me how employees are involved in that?

Do your research into the content, and mission statement of the company. There’s an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate what they know and love about the place they’re interviewing, whilst also opening up the conversation around DEI. Similarly, you could frame the question within the industry itself, e.g. I know this industry has an issue with diversity, what are you currently doing to address this within the company? 

Are there any extra curricular offerings for employees around wellbeing? 

Any company worth its salt will want to shout about the enriching things outside of the day-to-day on offer for employees to support their wellbeing. At SISTER, we have a wellness coach that comes in once a week for sessions with employees; some other examples might be classes, apps or trips.

Do you have employee resource groups? 

Employee-led groups are a great way for companies to foster diverse, inclusive environments and unite employees in a common purpose. Expressing an interest in getting involved in them shows that you’re serious about contributing to the culture of the place you work!