How do you prepare for culture fit questions?

Mar 14, 2019 15 Comments

I am mostly getting rejected from onsites because I am not a good fit for a big company culture. But I do need the big company TC. I got rejected from both Workday and Box because *I think* I didn't answer the below questions well. So how do you all prepare for questions like:
1. What kind of a manager do you like to work with?
2. What kind of team mates do you like to work with?
3. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

For (1) I usually say "supportive and friendly. Should be flexible but I understand I need to earn the company's trust first." For Box, I made the mistake of saying "I like a manager who would sell my skills to the rest of the company during promotions and performance reviews". Is that wrong to expect? Because the interviewer responded with "Maybe you need to sell your skills yourself". I also kind of hinted I would like to work towards a promotion if I join. I guess there aren't many promotions after Staff Engineer in big companies and maybe thats why I got rejected from Box. Technical rounds had gone mostly well but maybe they have a very high bar since there was some room for improvement from my side. Its also hard to judge design rounds.

For (2) I say something similar - "friendly and supportive to new comers. I like working with people with good communication skills and strong work ethics". Then the interviewers usually ask "What kind of teammates you don't like working with?" for which I usually say "The opposite kind".


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TOP 15 Comments
  • Homeaway ppMg64
    Man! Your answers suck! No wonder you did not get selected. There are so many things wrong with those answers, I don’t know where to start!!
    Mar 14, 2019 3
    • OP
      I see. I am interested in seeing how others would respond. Can you please share how you would have responded?
      Mar 14, 2019
    • Juniper bailee
      Your answers seem like you want to just get ahead without any effort and skate by. Not that that's your intention, but that's how it comes off. You have to tell them what they want to hear, not what you are thinking.

      1) You have to want to work with someone who can challenge you. Someone who will help contribute to your growth and help you be a better employee because of it. Saying you want someone to speak for you and help promote you shows the wrong motivation for wanting the job. That means you are only worried about getting ahead and expecting someone else to facilitate it for you. They are looking for someone in the position that they are hiring, so you have to say you want that position. Why would they bring someone on that would jump to a higher position when given the opportunity. That means you leave a hole in the team that they have to fill once again.

      2) everyone wants a welcoming friendly team that should already be implied. You should want a team that has diverse ideas and challenges each other to be better. A team that is cohesive and can come up with new and exciting things.

      Companies are looking for someone who will stay a long time and contribute. You need to either express that in a confident (not cocky) way, or find a company that lines up more with the culture that you prefer.
      Mar 14, 2019
    • OP
      Thank you for such a detailed answer. That was valuable.
      Mar 14, 2019
  • Uber bobaboi
    Hey at least you’re aware that somethings wrong with your answers, and that’s a good start! Some people thought their answers were spectacular and just blame it on everything else.

    I’m sure there are plenty of good advice in this thread. Don’t be discouraged!
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • Homeaway ppMg64
    For question 1, I would frame my answers around:

    My manager and I are a team. She has different set of responsibilities and so do I. I am there to support her and be successful in driving the outcome she is aiming for. In turn, she can help me by being

    On a professional level:
    . Timely with her feedback
    . Upfront with her expectations
    . Supportive of my goals
    . Communicative around progress
    . And finally, sharing accountability for the outcomes

    On a personal level:
    .Be empathic
    .Be supportive of my goals and aspirations
    .Be a champion of mine should I be deemed worthy
    Mar 14, 2019 1
    • OP
      Mar 15, 2019
  • OP
    Thank you for all the advice people. Let's see how things go
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • VMware satyaa
    Your answers are from your perspective, they talk about what you want.
    You need to talk about how you’ll be valuable to them.
    Eg - what kind of manager do you like to work with? - One who let’s me be independent, gives me responsibility of projects and allows me to drive things.
    They don’t care if you want friendship and support
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • Oracle mikV81
    You should check out ramit sethi on YouTube. He's got some decent videos on job searching. Only take the advice on what makes sense for the job/interview though.
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • Juniper / Eng sixpack
    Your answers are self centric and narrow. That’s why you failed. If I were interviewer, I would fail you too. Read some books on behavioral Q & A. There are lot of resources online on this subject. Do research and compile answers for common behavioral questions.
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • Uber zuckerr
    For the majority of the companies, culture fit really is just the common sense. Usually you need to be twice as good technically to make up for your lack of common sense. You can choose to improve either.
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • Oracle mikV81
    Don't bring up flexibility being part of a good manager. And yeah your manager doesn't want to have to sell your accomplishments.

    I usually say whatever I think they want to hear to get an offer. Tell a story and sound passionate. They'll figure out who you are once you get the job.
    Mar 14, 2019 0
  • Ellie Mae SpkS47
    It's all about perception. They are looking for a long term employee basically anywhere. In the first answer it's perceived as if you're already looking to the next opportunity instead of focusing on the opportunity presented. For the second answer it sounds like you want to work with people who aren't friendly? "The opposite kind" is not a very good answer even if it's the truth. Sounds very stand offish and awkward. Maybe try and be more positive and excited about the position being offered. *Edited to add comments for second answer
    Mar 14, 2019 0


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