2 Culture Fit Interview Questions That Are Red Flags

Just as impor­tant as an employee’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions and skills is their fit with the employ­er. Will they mesh with their col­leagues? Do they hold the same val­ues as the employ­er?

That’s why cul­ture fit inter­views have become so pop­u­lar. These ques­tions are meant to give the inter­view­er insight into the candidate’s per­son­al­i­ty, val­ues, work eth­ic and more. On the sur­face, this might seem like a great way of iden­ti­fy­ing those who are ide­al employ­ees for your orga­ni­za­tion. And some­times they can be. But oth­er times, inter­view­ers ask ques­tions that not only don’t actu­al­ly reveal any­thing mean­ing­ful about the can­di­date but can also make you feel uncom­fort­able.

Here are two that are major red flags.

1. Tell us a funny anecdote.

Sure, this sounds harm­less. But in prac­tice, this only serves to put the appli­cant on the spot. When’s the last time you were asked to tell a joke? Even if you’re Jon Stew­art, it’s prob­a­bly awk­ward to be asked to “be fun­ny” while some­one is star­ing at you from across the table.

There’s also the fact that this prob­a­bly isn’t rel­e­vant to the job. A sense of humor is nice, and it’s some­thing the inter­view­er prob­a­bly wants to see in a poten­tial fit, but that should come through dur­ing your con­ver­sa­tion — with­out explic­it prompt­ing.

2. Tell me about your background outside of your work history.

This one is a lit­tle more dan­ger­ous because instead of help­ing the employ­er get to know the can­di­date, this can actu­al­ly tap into the interviewer’s uncon­scious bias­es. Every­thing from where some­one grew up to what their par­ents do for a liv­ing to their favorite foods can affect how anoth­er per­son per­ceives you.

The inter­vie­wee will like­ly reveal some of this infor­ma­tion on their own, but out­right ask­ing about their back­ground can even lead to dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Cul­tur­al fit is an impor­tant qual­i­ty or set of qual­i­ties to assess, of course, but inter­view­ers need to be cog­nizant of how, exact­ly, they are deter­min­ing this fit. It’s also impor­tant to remem­ber that hir­ing “cook­ie-cut­ter” employ­ees are not the best course — employ­ers should seek out a diverse range of views and per­spec­tives.

This article first appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women dedicated to helping them achieve their career goals.

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