Most people preparing for a job interview focus on three areas:
- Practicing answers to typical interview questions
- Reviewing their resume to recall memorable work accomplishments
- Preparing questions to ask the interviewers
Without a doubt, those are the right ways to prepare for the interview, however, these shouldn’t be the extent of your preparation.
Interviewees who are lucky enough to interview in their potential work environment should also prepare to gather information on the surroundings. After all, this may be your best opportunity to see the work environment and, if you prepared well, the company may want to hire you quickly.
Pay Attention to Job Interview Surroundings
- What observations can you make?
- Does the environment seem chaotic?
- Conversely, does it seem extremely quiet?
- Are people working with each other or on their own?
- What are the expressions on people’s faces?
Clearly, you are not going to learn everything about the company with this walk through, but it is a reasonable snapshot of the environment you could be working in. It is one additional piece of criteria you could use to make a job decision.
Ask Questions at Your Job Interview
If you get the opportunity to interview with multiple people, ask them how they would describe the work culture. Ask them what they like best about working for the company and what they like least. If you observed something while walking to the interview room don’t hesitate to bring it up in your questions. Keep in mind that these questions are secondary to the others you prepared about the company.
Not sure what questions to ask about the work environment? Think back to your own professional experiences and the questions you wished you had asked about the work environments before accepting the jobs. Your own experiences will help you prepare the relevant questions to ask.
1The Big Picture
All of this data is helpful for you to understand the total picture of this new job opportunity. Many of us work more than 40 hours every week at a company. The tasks we perform in our position are only part of the reason we may or may not be satisfied with our job. A big part of our satisfaction is the environment in which we work in. Don’t downplay that aspect in the job interview process. Try and find out as much as you can about the type of environment you will be working in.
What types of work environments are you most comfortable in? Let us know in the comments section below.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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