What do you want?
Answering this question requires a bit of preparation. Companies ask this question for two reasons: they want to know what type of work environment you thrive under (so they can see if it matches their own environment), but they also want to make sure you know what you want. That you’re a focused job applicant.
Those dual purposes make the question hard to answer. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you get the job.
Do: Research the Company and Know What You Want
Is the company big? Small? Is it a professional environment where everyone wears suits or an informal place where sandals are a-ok? Do your research beforehand until you know the answers to questions like these and are sure the company is right for you.
Do: Cater Your Answer to the Company and Position You’re Applying For
Your goal when interviewing is to get hired. You should never lie, but you should answer questions in a way that shows you know the company and want to work there.
Which means your perfect work environment should at least slightly resemble that of the company and department you’re interviewing with. If the department is close-knit and collaborative, you should say you like working with others and being part of a team. If it’s solo-oriented and there isn’t much talking or crossover, say you enjoy being part of a team but are a self-starter and work well with or without direction.
Don’t: Turn Away from Teamwork
It’s great to say you’re a talented self-starter, but you should never say you don’t like working with others or that being part of a team annoys you. This is because, no matter where you work, there are going to be team projects. These types of interactions could be as small as getting approval on a project or as large as being one member of a 20-person team. Point being, it’s never a good thing to say you shy away from working with others.
Do: Talk About Your Personal Values and How They Tie in With the Company
Look up the company’s mission statement online. How does this relate to your personal beliefs and career plans? If the statement says the company is innovative and forward thinking, tell your interviewer that’s the type of company you want to work for. Include information about your own commitment to innovation in your life and career.
Don’t be afraid of wrapping up your answer by mentioning the company is a great fit for you because they match up to your ideal work environment so well.
For more in our Answering the Interview Question series, check out:
Do you have any other ways to answer this question? Let us know in the comments section below!