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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
sorry to post another thread on this but since i didn't get many responses probably because my post was too long,
i was just wondering if it was acceptable for me to ask: "What is the work environment like?" at the end of an interview? i thought this would be an appropriate question but the interviewers seemed to be surprised and nervously laughed at me when i asked this, and ended up giving me an exaggerated answer about how lovely and smart the people are and how convenient the office is.. one of the interviewers thought i wanted to know if people were nice there.......

when i actually thought they'd talk about how big the team is that i'll be working with and whatnot...

did i ask the question wrong or did they misinterpret it? if they really thought i was just asking to know how nice the ppl were there, that means i gave them a bad impression right?! but i thought my question was a normal and acceptable one to ask..... just wanted to knw your thoughts

EDIT: also was wondering if it is weird to hand the interviewers a hardcopy of your CV at the beginning? they laughed at me for doing this too..
 

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I think the question "What is the work environment like?" might be too general. If you want to know how big the team is, ask that directly. The more specific the question, the better answers you will get.

I think the interviewers are surprised or laugh nervously because that question might be a "fluff" question. They want you to work for them so if the work environment is bad, they won't tell you the truth but sugarcoat it. If you can ask a more concrete question about the daily schedule or about the size of the team that would probably be better and seems to be what you want anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
oh i see. but now that it's too late, do you think that the fact that i asked what they interpretted to be a fluff question, do you think that made a bad impression of myself to them? or do you think that's ok and i shouldn't give up hope?
 

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Wow I had the exact same thing happen to me!

I went on an interview and one of my last questions was how they would describe the work environment? One of the interviewers (there were two) didn't even try to respond. She said I'm not quite sure what you mean?

I tried explaining one aspect of the environment might whether its a traditional law firm that wears suits and ties everyday, or a more laid back environment.

The other interviewers said "oh I think I know what you are asking, and then proceeded to tell me about dress code, people are friendly, and how there are potlucks and such. Not really what I was asking, but I went with it to get out of the situation, lol.

It sounds like I was even asking something a little different than you. I wanted to know was it a very corporate, structured law firm with attorneys and staff in their place or a more balanced company that is not so hierarchical. More office culture I guess. I also thought it was open ended enough they could kind of talk about whatever they like about the place, not stump them.

Oh well I guess we have to be more specific, but I don't think it reflects badly though. I got the job!
 

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Its a perfectly appropriate question but I agree that you could make it more specific in the future. It honestly sounds like your interviewer was a bit dense though. You shouldnt have to spell it out for them!

from the web..Top Questions to Ask An Employer In An Interview

1. “Can you describe the work environment/culture?”

Whether you are interviewing for a nursing position, or business management career, it is important to understand the environment and culture of the organization. This question can help you gauge whether or not the organization would be a good work environment for you. For example, is it a fast paced environment? Does the organization participate in charity work? Is the environment ever-changing, or do you always know what to expect?

2. “What professional development opportunities are available?”

Asking this question shows employers that you are interested in professionally developing yourself and networking within the community. It demonstrates your commitment to continuing your education and ability to add value to the organization.

3. “What about the organization do you appreciate the most?”

The point of asking this question is really two fold. First, it gives the interviewee a better understanding of the organization from a personal standpoint. There is not a “scripted” answer for the hiring manager about work culture. This question forces the hiring manager to give a more detailed response—and advice that you can take with you if you do indeed get hired at the organization.

Secondly, it is an opportunity to ask the interviewer a more “personal” question, yet still with a professional vibe. If you happen to interview multiple people within an organization, this is a great question to ask because of the different viewpoints you will receive.

4. “Why is this position available?”

Asking this question is important because it provides insight into the company. Is the position open because there is high turnover in this role? If so, why? Is this opportunity a new position due to growth? If the previous holder was promoted, what made them successful in the role?

5. “What growth opportunities are available?”

You want to find out if you’ll be working this position for the entire time you’re with the company or if there will be the chance to advance your career. This question allows you to figure out where the past position holder ranks within the company and if there is a defined “career path” paved for the position.

In addition, you want to think about personal growth. Will you be able to acquire new skills? Will you be challenged in this position? Depending on what you’re looking for in your next career, these answers will help you make an informed decision.

6. “How can I make your job easier?”

Managers are always busy with a lot on their plates. This is the opportunity to prove that you’re a team player and want to serve the greater good of the organization. If the hiring manager does not have much for a response that’s ok, you’ve been able to demonstrate your willingness to help others by simply asking the question.

7. “What are outlying expectations for a person in this role?

Before you embark on your new career, you need to find out if the hiring manager is expecting of you to when it comes to hours and travel. Think about your personal obligations and make sure that your professional life aligns. You don’t want to show up on day one and be surprised by the job’s requirement. This is your chance to clarify your working schedule along with daily production expectations. Are there quotas to be met? Is there a number of calls expected each day? These questions will be reliant on the role. If you have any concerns, this is the time to address those.

8. Any reason to believe I am not a good candidate?

Bold as this may seem, asking this question will help identify any missing information the company may need to make an informed decision. If the company responds with a reason about why they don’t feel you may be a good candidate, this is your last chance to try and sway their opinion. Be sure to focus on your strengths and tie in the information you’ve learned during the interview process on what they’re looking for and how you meet those expectations.

9. What is your supervisory style?

One of the top reasons workers leave a job is because of their manager. It’s important for you to find out what your manager’s management style is. It’s really important that you have the ability to work with the type of style the manager states. If the manager says they are very “hands off”, then you need to know there may be minimal direction and you could be making decisions without guidance. The opposite holds true for a hands-on manager. With this style, you can expect an extremely involved supervisory process.

10. What is the next step?

This is a great question to ask at the end of an interview. It demonstrates that you are interested in the position and can give you a better understanding of what is left to come in the interview process. Preface this question by saying, “I certainly appreciate your time today and am very excited about this opportunity. What are the next steps in the interview process?” Asking this will render a definite answer of your future with your prospective employer.
 

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Wow I had the exact same thing happen to me!

I went on an interview and one of my last questions was how they would describe the work environment? One of the interviewers (there were two) didn't even try to respond. She said I'm not quite sure what you mean?

I tried explaining one aspect of the environment might whether its a traditional law firm that wears suits and ties everyday, or a more laid back environment.

The other interviewers said "oh I think I know what you are asking, and then proceeded to tell me about dress code, people are friendly, and how there are potlucks and such. Not really what I was asking, but I went with it to get out of the situation, lol.

It sounds like I was even asking something a little different than you. I wanted to know was it a very corporate, structured law firm with attorneys and staff in their place or a more balanced company that is not so hierarchical. More office culture I guess. I also thought it was open ended enough they could kind of talk about whatever they like about the place, not stump them.

Oh well I guess we have to be more specific, but I don't think it reflects badly though. I got the job!
OK Im worried about the future of business if employers are that clueless as to how to conduct a proper job interview!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow I had the exact same thing happen to me!

I went on an interview and one of my last questions was how they would describe the work environment? One of the interviewers (there were two) didn't even try to respond. She said I'm not quite sure what you mean?

I tried explaining one aspect of the environment might whether its a traditional law firm that wears suits and ties everyday, or a more laid back environment.

The other interviewers said "oh I think I know what you are asking, and then proceeded to tell me about dress code, people are friendly, and how there are potlucks and such. Not really what I was asking, but I went with it to get out of the situation, lol.

It sounds like I was even asking something a little different than you. I wanted to know was it a very corporate, structured law firm with attorneys and staff in their place or a more balanced company that is not so hierarchical. More office culture I guess. I also thought it was open ended enough they could kind of talk about whatever they like about the place, not stump them.

Oh well I guess we have to be more specific, but I don't think it reflects badly though. I got the job!
ah i see, awesome! i don't feel so hopeless now LOL congrats though!
somehow i feel like for mine, as open-ended the question was, the interviewers didn't really seem to take me seriously bc one of the two answered "everyone here is SOO smart and SOO friendly. i LOVE it here!" and then when the interview was over, she walked me out the door and when we passed by the offices/cubicles, she said, "as you can see, this is how the offices are set up. it's really nice" i don't really know what she was thinking..maybe she was mocking me? i'm probably just overthinking it though..idk ah
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Its a perfectly appropriate question but I agree that you could make it more specific in the future. It honestly sounds like your interviewer was a bit dense though. You shouldnt have to spell it out for them!

from the web..Top Questions to Ask An Employer In An Interview

1. "Can you describe the work environment/culture?"

Whether you are interviewing for a nursing position, or business management career, it is important to understand the environment and culture of the organization. This question can help you gauge whether or not the organization would be a good work environment for you. For example, is it a fast paced environment? Does the organization participate in charity work? Is the environment ever-changing, or do you always know what to expect?
yeah i think this website is where i got the idea to ask this question from. but i just was surprised that my interviewers didn't interpret the question this way..and instead thought i was asking of ppl there were nice and friendly.. i hate how that happened!!!! i hope they realize that it was an open question but after they were done answering, i was too tired to say that wasn't what i was asking so i just said "oh ok" lol hope that wasn't a bad move
 

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oh i see. but now that it's too late, do you think that the fact that i asked what they interpretted to be a fluff question, do you think that made a bad impression of myself to them? or do you think that's ok and i shouldn't give up hope?
No harm, no foul. It's better to have questions than not to have questions, even if they are fluff questions. The "Do you have any questions?" portion at the end of an interview is just a last chance for you to sell yourself, but I don't think it significantly hurts you unless you ask a really inappropriate question or you say you don't have any questions.

I know all those interview websites suggest those "job culture" questions, but take those with a grain of salt. I avoid questions that I think employers won't answer honestly or will try to sugarcoat.
 
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