When Recruiting, Don’t Forget to Share Information About the Work Environment

Recruiters and hiring managers typically provide job candidates with details about the position, benefits offerings, and the company. But work environment sometimes gets overlooked.

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Nevertheless, it’s an important aspect of a job. In fact, for some employees, work environment has a major impact on job satisfaction and performance.

What It Entails

Work environment tends to be associated with the space in which an employee works. However, it’s actually much broader.
According to BusinessDictionary, the work environment “involves the physical geographical location as well as the immediate surroundings of the workplace, such as a construction site or office building. Typically involves other factors relating to the place of employment, such as the quality of the air, noise level, and additional perks and benefits of employment such as free child care or unlimited coffee, or adequate parking.”

Where to Start

Because work environments vary greatly, it’s unrealistic to expect a job candidate to know much about your environment. You have to provide details.
Ideally, you want to offer an overview in the job posting. For example: “The position is at our corporate headquarters, in Brooklyn, New York, close to public transportation and parking. Our open floor plan encourages collaboration and a team mindset. In addition to a competitive benefits package, employees have access to unlimited coffee and snacks.”
What does this tell a job seeker?
She will be working in the city, for starters. It is especially helpful to note this if a company has multiple locations. Second, she has commuting options – public transportation or her own vehicle.
She also knows that she won’t have much privacy at work. For someone accustomed to a private office, or someone who has worked from home for any length of time, this could be problematic. On the other hand, a job seeker working from home may crave the interaction. The main thing is for you to provide information that will help her make a decision as to whether the work environment you offer is right for her.
Consider featuring a video or photos of your workplace at your website, and include a link to this information as part of your job posting. This will help the job seeker evaluate your company as a potential employer.

Further Details

The details you offer as part of the job posting are not the end of the work environment conversation, by any means. When interviewing job candidates, you need to provide as much additional detail as possible.
These are among the questions candidates may want answered:

  • How many people work in the department?
  • Is the work area for department staff only, or do employees from other departments share the space?
  • If the work area is open, are there quiet areas, and what are those spaces like?
  • Do employees have their own desks/tables, or is it all considered community space?
  • What equipment are employees given (e.g., laptop computer)?
  • Is there a lunchroom? Are there restaurants in the neighborhood?

The list will vary, depending on the position and the work environment. A job at a construction site, for example, will have very different considerations. Nevertheless, your objective is the same. You want to make sure the candidate has as much information as possible about where she or he will be working.
With this in mind, consider giving the top candidate a tour of the location before extending a job offer. Yes, work environment is that important.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.