In the current multicultural workplace, employers are very keen on ensuring that they recruit people who make a cultural fit into their organization.
Therefore, in almost all interviews there is the possibility of sliding in two or three questions that the interviewing panel feels could help them ascertain whether you are culturally fit for their organization.
These are hardly tricky questions to make you fail the interview but opportunities offered to you to make them understand your cultural background and should be approached positively.
To help prepare for your next culture interview, here are quick interview questions about culture and traditions:
How do you handle a situation where you are assigned to work with people who are not from your race or culture?
This question is aimed at examining how and if you have ever worked in a multicultural team as well as the strategies that you used to ensure that you remain effective despite the challenges inherent in working in such teams.
Working in multicultural teams is quite interesting because it opens you up to possibilities that cannot be found with working with people from your cultural background.
When assigned to such a situation, the first thing I do is to carry some background research on the norms and beliefs of the people I’m going to work with.
This helps me in my interactions with them and more particularly in respecting their beliefs and norms, which results in collaboration with them because they understand that I respect their culture.
How do you think your previous colleagues will describe you?
This question is aimed at changing your perception of how other people perceive you based on your interactions with them.
To get this right, you need to describe yourself positively and ensure that whatever attributes used to outline your traits are aligned to the values of the company you want to join.
You should be careful not to overdo yourself because you may come across as a proud individual.
It is therefore important to be as brief as possible.
My colleagues would say, “Nathan is a team player, who takes initiative to ensure the team achieves its goals and is also open to feedback however negative it may be.”
What kind of person do you expect of the supervisor under whom you will be assigned?
Essentially, this question is aimed at ascertaining the kind of employee you can be in terms of working under someone else—whether you can be cooperative, and if you are good at taking directions from a boss.
Avoid the temptation of lifting problems you had with your past employers, and tailor your response to the job that is at hand.
The response must be balanced between your needs as an employee and the needs of the employer as well.
I expect my supervisor to be clear and firm about the objectives that we need to achieve as a team and also be open to enable me to take responsibility for my tasks and responsibilities.
I also expect the supervisor to be helpful whenever I am stuck.
Do you think work-life balance is important to you as an employee?
The interest of the panel is to establish how important you perceive an employee who is both productive in their work and also healthy mentally and socially.
Ensure your answer highlights the benefits of work-life balance to the organization and yourself as well.
I value work-life balance because it is my way of giving my best to my work without having to battle emotional baggage out of work.
Without work-life balance, there are high chances of burnout, which may lead to absenteeism, low productivity, and turnover.
What aspects of your culture and traditions do you feel is important for your employer to know?
This question indicates that your prospective employer is sensitive to your cultural needs and is highly likely managing a diversified workforce.
The panel is therefore keen to know whether there are unique holidays, religion or dressing codes, or other special cultural things to expect from you.
You should not be scared that they are using this question to eliminate you. Rather outline some key cultural things that are directly associated with your work.
Remember to be positive.
As an SDA, I would expect to be excused from working on Saturdays because it is the day we go to church.
But I can always make up for it on Sundays.
What happens if you are not among the selected candidates to get this job?
This may be one of those questions that you least expect to be asked and the obvious answer would be: you would look for another job!
However, the interview is keen on examining how you respond to failure and they may see it right on your face, particularly if you interpret it for a refusal even before the interview is ended.
You must ensure that your response is as positive as possible. Again be as brief as possible.
If I’m not successful in this interview, I will take it as a learning experience and use it to further improve myself.
Are there any issues about your culture that we have not covered that you would like us to talk about?
In most cases, interviewers pass this chance and say that they do not have anything to say to the interviewing panel.
But this is a golden opportunity for you to ask a few questions like how your beliefs are going to be respected in the organization and whatever recourse is available in case you have complaints to make.
Is there any avenue for me to raise any concerns in case I feel that someone is deliberately infringing upon my beliefs and values?
These interview questions about culture and traditions put you within the cultural framework of the organization that you are trying to join.
You should expect them, particularly in our current increasingly multicultural world.
Being ready for them is improving your chances of getting hired.