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Interview Question: What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer? | With Tips and Examples

While giving your job interview, you may be asked multiple questions, including lighter and technical ones. The interviewer wants to know different things with every question. Sometimes, they may want to know about your hard skills and capabilities, while other times, they may want to be assured of your professionalism. The interview question, “what type of work environment do you prefer?” comes in the latter.

So, what is your ideal approach to tackle this interview question? There is no such strict way to answer this one, and you may experiment with different aspects and strategies while preparing.

But how?

In this article, we will discuss all the dimensions of this particular question and reach the most appropriate way to gear up for the interview.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

Why This One?

We shall begin with the idea behind this interview question. After all, the interviewer is asking the question with some strong intentions. What do they want to know?

They want to grasp your personality’s insight. It will be helpful for them to get a clue about your preferred work culture, which does not necessarily mean they’re looking for alignment in their thoughts. You may like something else, and still, they choose you. High possibilities!

So, what is your type?

It may be a friendly approach to work, more of a disciplined environment, or a traditional one.

A tip time: Honestly, feel free to elaborate on your preferred work style. Don’t think about what they like or what they won’t. Just be authentic with your response.

Types of Work Environment With Examples

Before you move ahead with any particular work style, we would advise you to be familiar with a few most common types of work environments. You must know what to choose before you conclude.

Organizational Cultures

Customer-Focused Culture

The first style we choose to begin with is the customer-focused culture. As the name says, it is driven by the customers being the most valuable. Everything comes secondary.

As Chaz Van de Motter says, “Customer service is about empathy,” the employees are compassionate and dedicated to providing the best customer service at any cost, and keeping your customers happy is the priority.

Pros:

  • Customer-driven culture gives positive results, mostly.

Cons:

  • Employees may feel ignored or neglected.

Example: Customer-focused work culture is my type of environment. As an experienced sales and marketing manager with 5 years of experience, I firmly believe that prioritizing the customers gives the best autonomy to employees and great market exposure to business ventures. Ultimately, we all work to make our clients happy, and this culture drives things straight. I like the idea of being raw and straightforward.

Adhocracy Culture

Shelf lives of the product are not forever, and this is a kind of constant fear in the minds of employers. How does it feel to work under pressure to present something new to the market? This is what we call adhocracy work culture.

The work culture is dedicated to one vital purpose thoroughly. It is nothing but the ultimate goal of the company that drives people to work and perform continuously. Whether it is their day-to-day behavior or business-related goals, the purpose is their only ambition. Moreover, a sense can be shared or solely attributed to one company.

Pros:

  • Provides high-retention rates

Cons:

  • May end in generating lesser revenues as compared to other work culture forms.

Example: As a software engineer, the adhocracy work culture allows me to explore the never-ending opportunities within the workplace and improves the overall idea of giving much better outcomes. During my previous experience, I managed a team of 6 to 11 people by following the adhocracy work style guidelines, and we generated some incredible results. Since then, I have become even more confident in this work culture form.

Market-Driven Culture

Yeah, you got it right! The term includes the word “market,” which signifies the high competition in the market among fellow companies. When the competition is high, we cannot ignore the inclusion of hard work, dedication, and assiduity.

You may get confused between the customer and market-driven work culture, but both terms are entirely different, despite sharing a few common values.

Pros:

  • Constant product or service development to grow market outreach navigating the good yields at profits.

Cons:

  • May lead to unhealthy competition and increases the work pressure on employees.

Example: I have been in the field of content marketing and tried different forms of work cultures to see what works for me, and I found the market-driven form the most suitable one. It energizes me and allows me to pass the same enlightenment and enthusiasm to my fellow team members and co-workers. We all have to stay motivated for short-term client-related projects, and nothing motivates us like heavy market competition. It emerges as the positive effect of fear.

Clan Culture

My personal favorite is the clan culture, aka family culture kind! It authorizes breaking the hierarchies at the workplace. Everyone is treated equally, and bosses cannot rule but guide. Clan culture comes naturally to the workplace, despite not getting adapted. It is commonly practiced in small workplaces or family businesses where people are already familiar with each other.

Suppose two friends are starting a business together to practice this work culture.

Pros:

  • Creates stronger relationships among co-workers
  • Employees feel more comfortable sharing their ideas to grow altogether

Cons:

  • Relaxed or too relaxed? Yes, sometimes, employees take advantage of the lighter work environment, which doesn’t favor the company or overall business.

Example: For me, family-driven work culture works the best. It seems like a more strengthened form of work than the others. Even in my last company, I followed the family-driven workspace, which created a healthy bonding, and employees working under me felt free to discuss anything. This is the best idea as we deciphered and solved many issues in one go. There was no hesitation.

Hierarchy-Based Work Culture

The most traditional and common one! Yes, at most workplaces, you can easily find a hierarchical work culture where the workforce is divided into structures and positions, top to bottom. For example, you cannot converse directly with the company director. The manager or a lead HR will arrange the discussion after their formal permission.

It won’t be wrong to say that the balance is well maintained and structured adequately to maintain the hierarchy. You will find these workplaces most disciplined. Organizations with high risk and managing significant level entrepreneurship mostly prefer this type.

Pros:

  • Drives the clarity in KRAs and responsibilities
  • Purpose-driven work attributes can be seen 

Cons:

  • May not be a comfortable environment for everyone, especially with a modern mentality or disbelievers of stereotypes.

Example: Hierarchy seems vital to me, so I prefer the hierarchy-based work environment. It creates the utmost discipline and keeps things in the structured manner that I respect the most as an executive manager. I believe in team building, and my work is dependent upon the regulations, up to an extent. In my previous job experience, my team followed the proper workplace guidelines, and we were successful every time while delivering my work.

But what if you’re flexible with every workplace culture? Well! It’s a glad tiding.

If you can work in every possible environment, it is a good situation for every venture. Most companies love to hire such employees.

A tip to remember: Being flexible in different work environments is positive and can work well in your favor, but that does not mean that you can fabricate your response. Whatever your preferred work culture is, stick to it! Stay original!

Respond Affable Way!

Answering the right way matters! Irrespective of your intelligence, you must know the absolute tactics to apply when answering the interview question, “what type of work environment do you prefer?”

Unsure about what to execute? We are here!

Follow the tips mentioned below to ace the situation;

  1. Research! Research! Research! Yes, make your game strong by using your fact-finding skills on the company’s website and social media or by asking your peers. It takes minimal effort to talk to someone already working in the company. Just learn about them anyway. You can add references and impress them.
  2. Be candid. Be honest. Strategizing doesn’t mean you need to say great things, but it is all about saying the right things, the virtuous words describing you. Moreover, don’t overthink whether your response will align with the company. Just be yourself!
  3. Know your type of work culture. It is of utmost priority. If you don’t know what works for you, you won’t be able to answer sufficiently. For your ease, we have already described all the types of work culture, or you can go with the “flexible” kind if it’s your choice.

The Ruiners

In addition to the do’s, several things can also ruin your answers: “the don’ts.” Let’s check them out!

  1. Avoid overspeaking: Overspeaking doesn’t work, whether it is a day-to-day life statement or your interview. Be precise and knowledgeable, but try to finish your response in some words, not a long story.
  2. Blame game – A big NO! Don’t blame anyone or anything but spread the positive vibes only. If you are uncomfortable with any work culture or style, don’t mention it. Curate your answer with the work culture of your preference. Also, don’t say negative things about your previous employer. Instead, focus on what works for you.
  3. Don’t confuse, but convey. Mixing won’t work! It will create chaos and mess during the conversation, and your interviewer may end up in a lot of confusion about you. If you’re comfortable with any work culture, you may choose the flexible type rather than two to three varieties.

Let’s Wind Up

Though the interviews are not strenuous but can be tricky enough to give you a little amount of a hard time, it is a crucial procedure and can widely affect your chances of getting short-listed. Panicking will not work; it is the best contributor to ruining your peace of mind, followed by stress and a sense of fear.

Be calm, research well, and try the tips mentioned above and tricks to curate your content for answers. Use your communication skills smartly, and that’s all. You’re done! Yes, We prefer smart work over hard work and advise you to follow the same.

Good luck!