"How would you describe your work style?" is a question you will likely get asked during a job interview.
Consider the following response:
I smash quotas, get along great with my fellow coworkers, and will work long hours until I get the job done!
Sounds cheesy, right? A little over the top?
You're probably thinking, "That's an answer I could come up with off the top of my head."
The people you are competing against for this job will probably say something along those lines.
(And to be honest, hiring managers love that kind of answer.)
You want to swing for the fences, though.
You want to win points in uniqueness and dedication with your answer to this common interview question.
Choose your wording wisely when you describe your work style.
If you follow the guidelines below, you will hit the ball out of the park with this question and leave the hiring manager highly impressed!
Focus on a Few Relevant Strengths
There are many types of working styles and many ways to describe them.
Big-picture thinker. Supportive. Independent. Detail-oriented. Logical. Organized. Idea-oriented. Team player. Flexible. Collaborative. Multi-tasker.
How should you describe yours?
Well, it really depends on the job description.
- Pick a few specific characteristics that describe your work style.
- Emphasize how they relate to the position you are applying for.
This can be difficult to do, as you may feel that many of your character traits apply.
How do you narrow it down?
- Understand the unique strengths you bring to the table.
- Describe these strengths clearly and precisely.
Let's discuss a few strengths you should mention as important aspects of your work style.
Balance Organized With Flexible
Being organized is essential to your success in any position.
The last thing your employer wants to hear is, “Well, my plan for the first three months is to just wing it. I’ll play it by ear.”
Instead, express the methodical organization used in your past positions.
This will show employers they have one less thing to train you on.
- Yes, you should have organizational skills.
- Yet you should also explain your ability to adapt to changes.
- You don't want your employer thinking you are going to be inflexible if he/she throws a curveball your way.
Let's look at an example of how this might come across:
Question: How would you describe your work style?
Answer: I tend to be highly organized. I enjoy planning my days to get the most work done possible. I've also learned to adapt so that I can easily stop and switch focuses to a more important task, as needed.
The above example shows a natural tendency toward organizational skills.
However, the response indicates that the interviewer has learned to be more flexible and adaptable.
- Perhaps you are more naturally organized.
- Or maybe you tend toward the spontaneity of being flexible.
- Whichever comes naturally to you, show that you are developing the other quality.
Show Yourself as a Team Player
If you are like most, you have probably worked with someone that you really did not like … that is just reality!
Unfortunately, 95% of jobs involve collaboration with other team members.
You will probably need to emphasize that you are comfortable working with others.
Mention the ways in which you are a team player:
Question: What is your work style?
Answer: Having worked as a volunteer in Asia, I interacted with individuals from diverse backgrounds. This has helped me learn to work with and relate to people from different cultures and areas of society. I just enjoy working with people.
No matter how much of an introvert you are, at least for the sake of the interview, be a team player!
- It is also essential to express your ability to work alongside your supervisor.
- Some people are terrified to collaborate with their employers, so don’t be!
You may not be the quickest to finish or the brightest in the bunch.
But if you have dedication, you set yourself apart from the average employee.
Saying something along these lines will surely impress your employer:
Question: How would you describe your work style?
Answer: I am willing to show up early and stay late if the job isn’t finished! I even spend a lot of my personal time at home researching our product and competitor products.
They are not expecting you to put in 90-hour workweeks, but you must show you are willing to put in the work for a given position.
Close the Deal
Just make sure to be confident in your answers and you will have no problem with this question.
- No matter how you describe your work style, don't answer like a robot.
- Be honest, don't give false promises.
- Be fully convinced that if offered the job, you can bring these qualities to the position.
- Don’t second-guess yourself!
Let's look at the great answer that weaves in all the tips we have covered so far:
Question: Describe you work style.
Answer: Over the years I have learned a few things about my style of working. I have come to realize that there are three main things I possess that make me a great employee and coworker.
First, I am organized. I plan my days efficiently in order to get the most work done possible. However, I am also adaptable and can easily stop what I am doing, if needed, to focus on a higher-priority task.
Second, I genuinely enjoy being a team player. From experience, I've learned we can often accomplish more by working together. I am willing to help my fellow coworkers and eager to learn from my supervisors.
Finally, I'm dedicated to my work. Because I take pride in what I do, I will work long hours and do research on my own time. I will help improve this organization in any way possible.
The most important thing of all?
Make sure you read the job description and know it like the back of your hand.
This is the only way you will be able to describe your work style in a way that is relevant to the position!
Congrats, you are now one step closer to landing your dream career!
When describing your work style in a job interview:
- Be honest - you want to be a good culture fit, not just get the job.
- Be descriptive - give examples of your work style.
- Be relevant - show how your strengths work well for the job.
Do you need some extra help preparing for your job interview?
Find My Profession offers an expert career coaching service aimed at helping you land your dream job. You work one-on-one with a certified career coach who can help with your job search and interview prep.
For more interview questions, check out 50 Top Job Interview Questions and Answers.