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What It's Really Like to Work Here: An Interviewer's Guide

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

As an interviewer, one of the trickiest questions to answer is, "What is it like to work here?" You want to provide an honest perspective, highlight the opportunities for growth, and describe fast-paced, high-pressure environments without scaring off potential candidates. It's a fine balance, but fear not!

Here's your guide to nailing this question with grace and authenticity.

Being Honest Without Bashing Your Employer

When faced with this question, it's essential to strike a balance between honesty and diplomacy. Instead of sugarcoating or using buzzwords, focus on the real aspects that define your company's culture.

Start by highlighting the positive aspects:

"We foster a collaborative and inclusive culture where every team member's voice is valued. We believe in open communication and encourage employees to share their ideas freely."

Tell a story that gets them excited

"Recently, we took on an initiative to improve X in our organization and asked employees to come up with ideas. We ended up implementing Y, and now it's a big part of our social fabric."

Then, address areas of improvement:

"Like any organization, we have some growing pains and challenges. We're constantly striving to improve processes and streamline workflows to create a more efficient work environment."

Remember, honesty doesn't mean airing dirty laundry. Highlighting areas for improvement shows that your company is self-aware and actively working towards growth.

Framing Opportunities for Growth

Potential candidates want to know that working for your company will be a stepping stone in their career.

Emphasize your development opportunities:

"We have a robust professional development program that includes workshops, mentorship opportunities, and access to industry-leading resources X, Y, and Z. Our employees are continuously growing and honing their skills."

Be specific about the career paths available:

"We have a strong track record of promoting from within, and many employees have advanced to leadership positions after starting in entry-level roles."

Let candidates know they'll be part of a supportive environment that encourages learning and advancement.

Describing Fast-Paced Organizations with High Pressure

A fast-paced, high-pressure environment can be intimidating. But it's all about how you frame it.

Emphasize the excitement and growth potential:

"Working here is like being at the forefront of innovation. Our industry is rapidly evolving, and we thrive on the challenge of staying ahead. It's a dynamic environment where you'll have the opportunity to make a real impact."

Mention the support system in place:

"We understand that a fast-paced environment can be intense, but we prioritize work-life balance and employee well-being. We have resources to help manage stress and promote a healthy work environment."

Share success stories:

"Our employees consistently rise to the occasion and achieve remarkable results. It's a testament to the support and camaraderie that define our workplace. Here's a story about..."

By focusing on the positives, you'll present a challenging environment that candidates will find invigorating rather than intimidating.

Answering the question, "What is it like to work here?" requires finesse, honesty, and a touch of diplomacy

Be genuine about your company's culture, highlight opportunities for growth, and frame fast-paced environments as exciting challenges. With this approach, candidates will get a transparent view of your organization and feel more confident about joining your team. Remember, attracting the right talent is all about showcasing the unique experiences and opportunities your workplace has to offer.

Happy interviewing!

Looking for more hiring resources? Visit our Hiring Guide to get support throughout the whole process.

Two employees laugh as they try to figure out how to honestly answer the question "what is it like to work here?"

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