An open-ended question like “What is your work style?” is a common feature in most types of interviews. Hiring managers use this question to determine whether you would be a good fit for their organization, so a good answer can help you increase your chances of getting the role. While the question is ambiguous, knowing how to respond can position you as the ideal candidate for the job. In this article, we discuss why employers ask about work style and provide tips and examples to help you craft a compelling answer.
Why do employers ask about work style?
Interviewers ask this question to find out how well you fit into their company culture. Your response can help the hiring manager determine whether you have the qualities to deliver results in the position for which you are applying. Employers can also use your answer to gauge how you will perform in a team.
This question requires you to know your strengths and weaknesses and how to adapt to changing circumstances. The interviewer will expect your answer to highlight your skills, self-awareness, industry knowledge and the responsibilities of the position.
To answer this question satisfactorily, it is important to read the job description carefully and research the company before the interview. Go to the company's website and study their previous job ads and recruitment materials. You can often find keywords related to the most valued qualities the organization wants in candidates.
You can also check their social media handles and go through the organization's recruitment posts. This can help you identify the company's culture and craft relevant answers that emphasize specific attributes the employer wants to see in employees.
Even if your work style differs from the employer's, your answer should show your willingness to adapt to new environments to deliver results for the organization. Demonstrate your passion for the position and your commitment to collaborate with other people to help the company achieve its objectives.
How to answer “What is your work style?”
How you respond to this interview question is an important determinant in your ability to get the position. While you can learn about the company's work style from the job posting and the employer's website, it is vital to understand the environment in which you perform at your best. Here are some ways to learn more about your work style so you can give a convincing response when an interviewer asks you this question:
- Consider your best work environment.
- Consider your relationship with superiors.
- Consider your speed and accuracy.
- Be honest.
- Be concise.
1. Consider your best work environment
One of the most important details the interviewer will want to hear when you describe your work style is whether you excel in teams or prefer working on your own. While many interviewers expect candidates who work well in teams, there is nothing wrong with being independent. If you love working as part of a team, discuss your experience collaborating with other people and how that helped you achieve better results. If you prefer working alone, make sure to also emphasize the value of collaboration and getting feedback from colleagues.
2. Consider your relationship with management
Another point to consider is your work relationship with your manager. The interviewer will want to know whether you like to take direction from your manager or team lead in every aspect of your responsibilities. Conversely, you may be more comfortable working with little or no supervision except for regular progress reports. In your answer, emphasize the importance of teamwork and feedback from your manager. This will ensure you deliver results according to the requirements and specifications of the job.
3. Consider your speed and accuracy
A good response will include your speed and accuracy and how it affects the quality of your results. This can show the interviewer you can perform in a fast-paced work environment. Your response should include the strategies you have used to achieve a high level of productivity. You can talk about how you plan your day, the number of hours you work per day and if you can stay late at the office to complete important tasks.
4. Be honest
It is important to be honest about your ideal work style. If you prefer working alone in a quiet environment, let the interviewer know. It's also beneficial to discuss your flexibility and how you can adapt to different work environments.
5. Be concise
Keep your answer brief and relevant to the job requirements. Instead of talking about every aspect of your work style, talk about the best qualities that make you the perfect candidate for the position. For example, you could focus on the flexibility you've shown in previous roles.
Example answers to “What is your work style?”
Practicing with sample answers can help you brainstorm and create convincing responses to this interview question. Here are three ways to answer this question:
Example 1: Marketer
“I can adapt to any workplace. While working alone, I try to work at a fast pace to complete tasks on schedule. However, I also enjoy working in a team. In my last position, one of our clients placed a large impromptu order. Normally, I would've been able to handle the project on my own, but it would've taken more time. Teamwork allowed us to delegate the task between different people, and the company was able to deliver before the deadline. When I work alone, I prefer to get feedback from my supervisor. It's often difficult to assess one's work objectively, so I value the input of my manager and colleagues. The constant feedback has helped me become a more refined professional who delivers better results.”
Example 2: Accountant
“I can work in a team or independently. It depends on the demands of each project. Naturally, I love making friends and meeting people. This attitude extends to my workplace and makes it easy for me to collaborate with colleagues regardless of their position in the organization. However, there are many instances where I prefer to work alone in the quiet of my office. For example, when I need to reconcile my department's accounts and file a report to the manager before the end of the week, I either work late or come to the office early in the morning. That way, I can focus my full attention on the task in front of me without distraction.”
Example 3: Project manager
“I value reliability in the workplace. In the past five years, I have only missed five days of work. Being dependable requires collaborating with colleagues to deliver projects to specifications and on schedule. That's why I do everything I can to help my team achieve objectives. For example, my employer once hired a brilliant engineer. The engineer was intelligent and had exceptional qualities but was not familiar with the Agile method. I dedicated two weekends to explain to him how our team uses Agile and Scrum to improve collaboration and increase productivity. This reduced his learning curve and improved the team's efficiency by about 30% in five months.”