When looking for a job, ensuring that the position is right for you, is just as important as the company wanting to hire you. Aside from determining whether the company culture would be a good fit – you should also consider the work environment. From flexible to structured, collaborative to independent – each environment type can determine whether you would enjoy the position, or leave feeling burned out daily.  Here are some ways to determine what type of environment you’d prefer, and how to answer that question in an interview. Check it out!

Understand Your Preferences/ Main Concerns

When determining what type of work environment you enjoy/work best in, it’s important to take inventory on where your ideal setting takes place. Do you work best in an open-concept office, with frequent collaboration? Or do you work better in a more private setting working independently? Where do you feel most productive, and motivated – rather than overwhelmed or burned out? Oftentimes employees will evaluate their previous work experience and determine if the positions they’ve had, were the ideal work environment for them.

Once you establish the setting type, take inventory on the schedule. Maybe being able to adjust your shift to a later time due to having kids in school, is more important to you than whether you get fun Wednesdays in the office.

Research The Company Environment and Culture

Now you can begin your job search. Take into consideration the factors in which you determined were most important to you. What information does the company website provide about the culture/environment itself? What does the job description list? Are there lots of in-person meetings, outgoing calls, or collaboration? Or are there more responsibilities that relate to working with little supervision or being self-motivated? Compare your preferences to the job description and company website if possible.

Communicate Your Findings

Now that you’ve determined all factors it’s time to discuss this with the hiring manager when you’re brought in for an interview. Avoid talking about the type of atmosphere you don’t want to/don’t enjoy working in, and instead talk about the type of atmosphere you do enjoy/work best in. Addressing it from a positive angle will cause them to be more receptive.

You should also avoid discussing the work environment with a hiring manager whose company style is completely different. For example, if the company is very free and flexible and you enjoy more of a structured work environment than maybe that position/company is not for you. Share what environments you felt that you thrived in the past, and share how you feel that your skills would mesh well with that company.

If you’re unsure of their work environment altogether– try speaking more vaguely, and structure your response in a way that allows them to provide more information. For example, you may share ways you’ve worked well in both independent and collaborative environments, or maybe ways in which you are appealed to both – and then ask how the company environment is. Hopefully, then you can get a better idea from there to decide if the position is something you want to pursue, or if you’re back to the drawing board.