When applying for a job, the fit has to match both ways. The interviewer knows this and wants to ensure that the work environment they offer is suitable for you.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when looking at the work environment:
- Are questions encouraged without judgment?
- Is continuing education encouraged?
- Does the company promote an entrepreneurial mindset?
- Does the office allow for flexibility such as working from home or flex in hours?
- Are there regular team huddles?
- Is it an open-air environment without cubicles or walled offices?
- Is feedback, from both sides, encouraged and acceptable?
- Are goals set as a team, or only individually?
- Are there strict dress codes, after-hours expectations, and other restrictions?
- Is the initial training through or is there a sink-or-swim mentality?
- Is there recognition for a job well done, or incentives on a regular basis?
- Is nepotism a factor, if the business is family-run?
- Are employees promoted based on performance, or tenure only?
Choose two to three of these factors that are important to you, and before accepting a job offer, ensure that the company hits these 'must-haves' for you and your ideal work environment.
"My ideal work environment is one where mistakes are an opportunity for learning, where full training is available, and there are opportunities for continued education. Would you say that Company ABC meets these factors?"
"I am seeking a work environment where promotions happen on results and performance, and not tenure. I may easily outperform a manager who has been with the company for ten years and would like to know that my achievements will be recognized and rewarded, despite my being newer to the company. Can you share with me the factors that Company ABC takes into account when considering title promotions?"
"I seek a creative environment where office doors remain open, or better yet; there is a collaborative collective office environment. I love working in open-air environments with regular team huddles. Does this match the environment offered here?"
"I seek a work environment where questions are encouraged, and there is an opportunity to give and receive feedback. I am not interested in joining a class-based work environment where those at the top simply give direction with no room for exploring alternate methods. Do you feel that Company ABC fits this description?"
"My ideal work environment is one that offers flexibility and a high level of trust. In my current role, I can take a Friday afternoon off, because my boss knows that I will be in my email over the weekend and would never leave a client hanging. I can choose to work from home time-to-time, and there is no strictly enforced dress code because the managers know that I understand how to dress without being told. How would you say Company ABC fairs in this department?"
"I prefer to work in an environment with a friendly faculty where everyone supports and encourages each other. Being a teacher is a challenging occupation, and it's important to me that I enjoy the people with whom I work. How would you describe your work environment here?"
"My ideal work environment is one that fosters positive, professional working relationships. Mutual respect and an encouraging working and learning environment is my ideal work environment."
"My ideal work environment is one that inspires and motivates their employees. I thrive on the company of others and having the ability to learn from the experiences of others."
"I find myself working best when I am able to collaborate with others to achieve a mutual goal. I think this position in Test Engineering is an excellent fit for me, because I will be a part of the Research & Design group of your company. I enjoy working in laboratory environments, because I like to work first-hand with the data being collected. Being able to design test fixtures and collaborate on data analysis projects is something that I look forward to if hired."
"I am seeking a work environment where promotions happen on results and performance, and not tenure. I may easily outperform a warehouse clerk who has been with the company for ten years and would like to know that my achievements will be recognized and rewarded, despite my being newer to the company. Can you share with me the factors that this company takes into account when considering promotions?"
"I enjoy working in a dynamic environment where I might be able to bounce ideas off of colleagues around me while also having the option of honing in on my work independently. I tend to enjoy the opportunity to connect with my coworkers in shared spaces, like a break room. I find it important to feel a sense of community with coworkers to facilitate greater understanding and collaboration, so I always appreciate a work environment that promotes that."
"To me, an ideal work environment is a place where everyone feels important and a place where everyone can learn openly. I work best in an environment where employees are nurtured and encouraged to grow."
"An ideal working environment for me is one in which everyone is focused and working towards the same goal. I enjoy working with lots of people, I like the buzz and excitement of deadlines, and ideally would like to be working with a friendly, confident team. "
"I want to work in a setting that allows you to learn and grow"
"My current organization is small, and we do not have an existing process for capturing and analyzing customer service data. In our business, we have every customers' email and phone number. Once a month, I select a handful of customers that I call directly. The remainder, I send out an auto-email. I ask questions such as 'would you recommend our store to others? and 'on a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with your overall experience?' I also leave room for open-ended questions such as 'what could we do differently, on your next visit?' Once I have compiled some valuable data, I will present it to my team in our monthly meeting. We brainstorm ideas for improvement and move forward from there. If I receive consistently negative feedback on one particular team member, I will offer further coaching or take corrective action in a one-on-one setting."