More Interview Questions and Answers
Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
Alternative and related questions:
Which of your previous working environments was the best?
The meaning behind the question:
As with other questions which ask you to describe your 'ideal' of something work-related, the interviewer is attempting to assess how closely your ideal fits with the reality of their organisation. Unless you see through this aspect of their question, you could easily reveal reasons for them to notch up black marks on your application. They're testing your compatibility.
How much do you know about the working environment in the organisation to which you're applying? Shallow as it may seem, this is what you need to be describing.
With a bit of luck, you'll already have been able to glean quite a bit of useful information from the interviewer during the course of your interview – information which you can now feed back to them.
If, on the other hand, you're working completely in the dark then aim for a reasonably generic description which represents a 'best guess' as to the type of working environment you'll be in.
My ideal working environment is one where there's a good sense of team spirit. A strong work ethic is obviously important but the human side is also important. I enjoy working with people who have a decent sense of humour and who, while they might take their work very seriously, don't necessarily take themselves overly seriously! I like people who are down to earth but who have a dynamic and progressive approach to their work. I really enjoy working as part of a highly committed and professional team.
Word of warning:
Avoid saying anything along the lines of the way they've described their organisation's working environment as sounding like your idea of the ideal working environment. Don't be seen to be overtly sucking up! Subtly does it.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organisation?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organisation for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes