If you have gone on even one job interview- it is likely you have heard questions that ask you to describe your strengths and weaknesses and where you expect to see yourself in five years’ time. Another common question is- “What would be your ideal working environment?” It is one of the ways in which interviewers can determine how compatible you are for the position and company. Compatibility is critically important; an employee who fits in is likely to be happier and more productive- and so will everyone else.
Other ways of posing the question include- “What do you value most in company culture?” and “What did you most dislike about the work environment at previous jobs?” Likewise- asking what you most valued about the professional atmosphere at prior jobs is an alternate method of asking the same thing. To best explain your ideal working environment- strategize your answer in advance. You should do this for all top job interview questions and answers- no matter the type of position you are interviewing for.
How to Answer the “What Would Be Your Ideal Working Environment?” Interview Question
Prioritize Your Reply: A work environment is composed of many factors- some of which may be more important to you than others. For instance- company size- location and culture are parts of the working environment. For job interviews- you’re likely more focused on work environment considerations such as office versus cubicle- pace of work- noise preferences- foot traffic/socialization preferences- work expectations- working independently versus collaborating- and so on. Before the interview- list what matters to you. In your answer- prioritize these considerations- explain why they matter to you- and outline how your ideal work environment makes you a good fit for the company.
Make Your Answer Thematic: If you thrive in chaos and open spaces- you ideally are applying for positions where you would work in environments that foster your success. If you are like many people- though- you may not have a top work environment preference. For example- you may do well with open and closed office plans alike- or in both chaotic and structured spaces and layouts. Perhaps it’s the team spirit or the attitude of the business- such as risk taking- that constitutes your ideal work environment. In that case- instead of focusing on physical environment attributes such as being able to talk to someone at the other end of the room- discuss thematic factors such as working in a quirky culture or among people who have offbeat senses of humor.
Make Your Answer Practical for the Company: For all top job interview questions and answers- the dialogue needs to show that you’ve researched the company and already have a good idea about how you match what the company has to offer. For instance- if you do thrive in open and chaotic spaces- you should avoid giving that answer as your ideal work environment if the company you are interviewing with is slow-paced and simply does not have that type of physical office layout. Conducting Internet research and speaking with current and former employers are two ways to find out about the company’s work environment. The job description is another important resource; it often gives hints- if not outright statements- about the work environment. Phrases such as “laid-back” and “fast-paced” are indicative of the companys culture.
Sample “What Would Be Your Ideal Working Environment?” Interview Answers
1. I enjoy working in small-business environments when I’m one of just a few people in the business. It’s not that I don’t do well in large- thriving environments. In fact- I flourished at my last job- [name of position and name of large company]. It’s just that I become really excited at the possibility of nurturing a business and helping it grow. I excel at shaping and executing marketing messages- and few things are more thrilling than being able to get in at the ground floor to work with people who are just as passionate as I am about helping a business succeed. Humor is great- too- and when I read the description for this job- everything fell into place.
2. I’m a people person. I love people- and my ideal work environment would be one filled with diverse and bright folks. I want an environment where everyone- from the janitor to the CEO- is treated with the same respect. Office layout does not matter too much to me. I do well in both open and closed layouts; as long as the attitude of diversity and respect is there- I thrive. I’m huge on respecting others and listening to different ideas and opinions- and it’s important that my colleagues give me the same opportunities. That’s why I am a good fit for this company; the business consistently comes up on lists of the best- most understanding employers.
The above tips and suggestions for answering one of the most common interview questions should help you prepare for your next interview. Start today to brainstorm a list of top job interview questions and answers- and personalize them to fit your style.