We spoke to Pauline Streete, diversity leader at SaskPower, and her colleague Dave Gwilliam, supervisor of recruitment, and asked them how an ideal candidate would respond to this question:

Give us an example of a work environment you thrived in. What type of work environment do you prefer?

For me, a big part of [asking candidates this question] is it's an opportunity to make sure they're going to fit into the environment that we have, which is team-building, busy, and innovative, says Gwilliam. We want someone who is interested in working in that environment, someone who's supportive of that environment.

Gwilliam adds they look for someone who indicates a desire to work with a diverse work group. If someone was to sit there and say ÔÇÿI want ten people just like me to be in my work environment,' that would be a flag that we'd be concerned about.

Streete says, there's usually a question like ÔÇÿWhat do you know about SaskPower' that couples nicely with the question ÔÇÿWhat type of environment did you thrive and flourish in?' Because we promote our diversity initiatives on our SaskPower careers page as a part of what our organization offers, the applicants who have done their research recognize the social piece, which speaks to the type of environment we are striving for: a diverse, engaged work environment. We want to know that people have looked at our diversity initiatives and recognize that individual differences are respected and valued in our organization.

And that's just the basic stuff, says Gwilliam. You don't want someone to say ÔÇÿWell, I want it to be very quiet, people to leave me alone, no one to bug me. He explains that expressing a genuine enjoyment in learning from others' different ideas and approaches goes a long way. That's one of the things that takes the answer to the next level because everybody is going to say ÔÇÿI want to be in an environment that's part of a team, and I want to be busy.'

Gwilliam emphasises the importance of collaborative attitudes towards work, because the days of employees being able to hide in an office and work by themselves are over. Instead, they really want candidates to talk about being part of a team and desiring an environment where they can discuss ideas with other people. It's about wanting a safe environment where they can talk about their ideas, and they could pry feedback from each other. You really want them to stress that because everything we do here is by group or by project, so that's very important.

Gwilliam adds that innovation and teamwork may not be the first thing that comes to candidates' minds when they think about working for a power utility, but it is becoming increasingly embedded into the company's culture, one hire at a time. We are innovative, we are team-building, we are becoming more diverse. We are trying to become all those things, so on our end that's becoming more important when we go to hire because we want people to realize what we really are'not so much what our image is.