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How to Describe Your Ideal Work Environment for a Job Interview

by Neil Kokemuller

The question of "how to describe your ideal work environment for a job interview" or a variation of it is common in the interview, and you should include it in your practice sessions. The key to answering this question is to indicate factors that you appreciate that relate to the company, without appearing too obvious and disingenuous.

Premise and Preparation

As with most interview questions, the hiring manager is ultimately trying to figure out whether you fit well with the organization, department and position. This question, in particular, helps show whether your ideal work culture aligns with the hiring organization. You can prepare for this question by researching the company's website, talking with anyone you know that's familiar with the organization or workplace and looking over the job description.

Make the Connection

Identifying two to three attributes of your ideal workplace that fit with the organization is a priority. Being genuine is also important. You likely won't succeed or be happy if you think the company culture is 180 degrees from what you want. If a positive culture, growth opportunities and supportive colleagues are important to you and align with the company culture, focus on these attributes. You could say, "I am fairly flexible, but I've enjoyed organizations with a positive energy, opportunities for growth and development and supportive colleagues the most."

Show Ambition

Within your answer, show ambition. Hiring managers spend much of the interview trying to gauge whether you want a paycheck or a career. Employees looking for a career tend to last longer and perform better over time. Show your ambition by focusing on the company and growth opportunities. You could say, "I am passionate about sales, and I am really looking for a workplace where I can focus on my passion in a positive culture. I really want to learn and grow to maximize my selling abilities in a strong organization."

What to Avoid

The biggest thing to avoid is being too obvious and phony in your response. This could occur if you simply regurgitate what you see in a job listing or saying something too specific about the hiring organization. A poor answer might sound like this: "I really want a workplace like this one. Even being here for a little while, I can tell everyone is very positive and supportive." In this case, you aren't really discussing your preferences. You are simply saying what you think a manager wants to hear.

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