Culture. You probably hear that word thrown around a lot. Rightfully so! Company culture can mean different things depending on whom you ask. Every company has their own unique practices and core values that help define their culture. At 3Q we believe it is an essential influence on our organizational performance, customer satisfaction, and the productivity and happiness of our team.

Our culture ultimately helps us determine how we hire. In order to ensure we have the right fit for our team, we make it a priority to have each candidate go through a culture interview to make sure our beliefs align.

In order to maintain a dynamic and thriving culture, standards need to stay consistent. In the past, we didn’t always stick to conducting culture interviews and instead made decisions based more on skill level and experience. Even if an employee possesses a strong background, if they are not aligned with our culture, the inconsistencies will start to become apparent. You can teach someone how to get the job done, but you can’t teach someone to appreciate and enjoy the way we work.

We’ve learned from this oversight, and realized what it takes to be consistent. It starts with our team. We’ve laid out our core values and we emphasize them regularly; therefore, it’s easy to take those who have been with the company for multiple years and find ways to emulate that. Like any company, we have grown and experienced our share of growing pains, and what it comes down to is hiring people who exemplify the same work ethic and can handle the good and bad. We have a great team that has truly set the tone, and then when it comes time for hiring managers and their team to interview, they possess enough understanding of our culture to be able to communicate to our candidates.

I like to ask a variety of questions. You have to be equipped with an arsenal of questions because you never know where the conversation will go.

Note: sometimes I go off the book, especially if the conversation is flowing. I have no problem letting someone else dictate the conversation so long as we hit the most important parts of the culture checklist.

Here is a list of some of the questions that I have pulled from my pool of culture questions:

  • Describe your ideal company culture.
  • How do you feel about our company values? Straight up!
  • What do you like to do for fun outside of work? In other words, what can your hobbies tell me that your resume can’t?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What motivates you to come into work every day?
  • What do you hope to learn from this job?
  • What part of your previous experience do you think translates to being successful here?
  • How do you think your coworkers would describe your work style and contributions in your previous job?
  • What percentage of your time would you allocate to individual work and working as part of a team, given the choice?
  • What are 2-3 things that must be present in your work environment for you to be happily employed?

I usually start with getting to know more about what the candidate likes to do outside of work. It’s always a fun one to start off with and my hope is that it makes the candidate a little more relaxed because let’s face it, interviews can be intimidating. Then, it’s good to hear from their perspective what their ideal culture would look like – I mean, that’s the whole point of the conversation! Free food and getting the chance to WFH is great, but if those are the biggest things they are looking for, then we might have a problem.

No matter your company culture or the questions your company asks in the interview process to make sure it endures, it’s one of the most important assets going in the workplace. Whatever side of the interview you happen to be on, it’s critical to assess cultural fit before signing on the dotted line.

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Natalie Pejooh
Natalie Pejooh joined the 3Q Digital team in May 2012, after graduating from San Francisco State with a degree in Broadcasting and a minor in Marketing. Before joining 3Q Digital, Natalie worked in the Promotions department for San Francisco's alternative radio station, Live 105. Promoting the radio station through various events all over the Bay Area strengthened her interest in marketing, and she is extremely excited to dive further into her passion at 3Q Digital. In her spare time you find her listening to music, crafting, or hanging with her dog, Buckley.