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Describe Your Ideal Job Essay Writing

How do you answer the job interview question: 'Describe your ideal work environment?'

When hiring managers ask about your ideal work environment, they're trying to figure out if you'll be a good fit for the job and the organization. Here's what they want to hear.

What is your ideal work environment?

People are happiest and most productive when they work in an environment that suits them. By the same token, companies have different personalities, so it’s important for them to hire people who will fit in.

Many job seekers stumble when asked in an interview to describe their ideal work environment. Remember, when you’re interviewing, you are being screened for a certain skill set and cultural fit. Here are some tips on how to formulate your answer to this job interview question.

Small vs. large companies

A very common question is whether you are most productive and comfortable in a small or large company. Both have benefits, so you need to think about which environment best suits you and your work style. If you like small companies, you might say, “I want to work for a small company because you get exposed to more things faster.” However, if you like the greater resources and more formalized training of a large organization, you should communicate that when interviewing.

Your preference may also depend on where you are in your career. If you’re just starting out, a large company may be the place to learn processes. If that’s how you feel, say, “I want to own my own company someday and want to learn the best methodologies for running a business.”

If you have a number of years under your belt and believe you already know how to manage all or part of a business successfully, then a small company might be the place for you. In your answer, you might say, “I’ve had great training from large companies and want to import those practices into a small company, so I can have a greater impact.”

Typical interview questions like small company versus large company are designed to determine where you will be best-suited to perform and contribute. Let the interviewer know why you prefer one environment over another.

Formal vs. informal

Of the most typical interview questions, this one is designed to illuminate the environment in which you like to work. Everyone has a preferred way of working. Some people like the formality of processes. If that’s you, say, “I like when processes are in place, so I know what steps to take.”

Others may prefer a more informal work environment in which there is less structure in the way the company operates. If that’s your preferred environment, you might say you like extemporaneous meetings in hallways and business decisions made over a casual lunch.

Work-life balance

How you respond to this question may be a litmus test for how well you’ll fit into the organization. For some people, the ideal work environment has set hours, with people arriving at 9 a.m. and leaving at 5 p.m. For those with family responsibilities, this may represent the ideal environment. If this is what you want to convey, you could say, “I think it’s important to be productive by 9 a.m., so I can feel good about leaving at 5 p.m.”

For others, work is their life, so their ideal environment is one in which most of the other employees feel the same way. If that’s you, you might say, “When I’m on a roll, I like to work late, so I like it when there are other people around.”

Many people like an environment where they can work remotely, while others prefer the interactions that can happen only at the office. Work-life balance is a typical interview question, so you should give it a great deal of thought because your work environment will have many implications for your long-term happiness.

Mission statement

Some companies look for people who share their values and may expect you to address that in your interview. Review the company’s mission statement to understand how it addresses its long-term goals and the way it does business. Let the interviewer know how the company’s mission reflects your values. You might say, “I want to work for a company that cares about the environment, and that’s why I’m so interested in this opportunity.”

We all spend the bulk of our day at work, so making sure the work environment is right for you is critical. When interviewing, spend a few minutes describing your ideal environment, so both sides can make an informed decision.

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Tough Interview Question - How would you describe your ideal job?

How would you describe your ideal job?

Similar interview questions:
If you didn't have to work, what kind of work would you do?
What would you do if you won the lottery?
What part of your work do you enjoy the most?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is asking this question for two different reasons: 1) to find out what you are really passionate about in your work; and 2) to potentially find out if you have an alter ego who would rather not be doing the work for which you are interviewing.

The best approach to answering this question:
The ideal answer is to choose an element of your work tied to the position you are interviewing about which you are truly passionate. It should be something that naturally excites you, elevates your level of presentation and causes you to naturally show the body language that this is something you truly love doing (leaning forward in your chair, smiling while speaking, more animated speaking, etc.). If you want to excite an interviewer, get them excited about your passion for your work. If you're having trouble identifying an area for which you are truly passionate, think about that story you brought home from work where you saved the day, where you did something that no one else was able to do, where you were the superstar. This is your opportunity to shine as a superstar. However, be careful not to choose an area that is so limiting that it is a very small percentage (or perhaps no percentage at all) of the work for which you are interviewing. Also, try not to make the entirety of your ideal job focused on one minor element. For entry level, tie in a key aspect of your education or recent internship. The best way to answer is to start with the phrase, "My ideal job would involve…" and then go on to talk about that element as a component of a larger job, rather than the job itself.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"My ideal job would involve training others on best practices in auditing. In my current job, I've had the opportunity to spend time training others in our office on the latest updates in GAAP. In this past year I've also had the opportunity to travel to other offices in our region to train their new hires. It was quite an honor to be selected in the central region to do this training, since it has been only the elite auditors at our company who have been selected for this role. So being able to leverage my skills to help develop others around me would be part of my ideal job."

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"My ideal job would involve working toward certification in my field. I've already completed the first test for industry certification and passed it the first time, which is a big first step forward. Most professionals, even with experience, don't pass the first test on the first try. I have two more tests to pass, one of which I already have scheduled to complete before graduation. So my ideal job is to become a subject matter expert in my field. Going beyond just being certified to becoming the go-to person for others at my company."

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Wow, well I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be in this field! I just do this work to pay the bills. My ideal job would be one where I wouldn't have to work very hard, but get paid a lot of money. Where I could set my own hours so that I could do my own thing when and where I wanted. I think most people are working stiffs. My father worked for 45 years for the same company, then retired and died a year later. That's not what I want to do with my life. I would love to travel for a living, yeah, I guess that would be my ideal job."

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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