It happens in every interview: the dreaded "what would be your ideal working environment" question. You're often stumped because you don't know exactly what they're looking for in an answer.
When asked this tough question, you may think that they're wanting you to describe exactly what the job is that you applied for, but that isn't always the case. With this query, they're really trying to assess your personality.
Just like you have different characteristics that build your persona, so does the company that you're applying with. The interviewer asks this question to make sure that both of your temperaments would mesh together in harmony.
Points to Emphasize
Giving a response to this seemingly loaded question involves a deeper look into you and your various traits, particularly your positive ones.
- Before answering, take into account how their company is structured in terms of work days, formality, small start-up vs. large corporation, etc.
- Focus on wanting an environment that allows for the use and growth of your established skills and qualities.
- Highlight your desire to work in a team-oriented workplace.
- Talk about your work-style and try to word your answer so that it blends in well with the company's vision.
Overall, interviewers are looking for an honest and confident response.
Telling the truth about your ideal working environment is preferred, but make sure that you give an answer that has been pondered upon and is well-worded before jumping the gun.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Every interview question has a pitfall or two. Avoid them by eluding the following mistakes:
- Don't talk about how your ideal workplace is one with lots of vacation time and flexible hours.
- Do not focus your answer purely on the people you will be working with.
- Try not to stray from the actual company and its workings by making it all about you when you respond.
- Don't essentially read off the job description or company's "about us" page.
One of the greatest mistakes that you can make when faced with this question is not making it personal to you and then becoming forgettable.
A great way to answer a question about an ideal work environment would go something like this:
My ideal work environment is one that is centered around working as a team and that allows everyone's talents to flourish. When I was researching your company, your desire to cultivate each of your employees' skills was very impressive to me. I find that I work best in an environment that is empowering and positive, no matter what the work is that I'm doing.
Remember, just as with any interview question, to be yourself.