When you're looking for a new job, employers may ask you questions about your attitude toward work to understand if you're a good fit for their company. One such question a hiring manager may ask is, "What is your work philosophy?" Learning how to answer this question can help you illustrate your positive qualities effectively in future interviews. In this article, we explain why employers ask, "What is your work philosophy?" and share how you can effectively answer this question, including sample answers.
Why employers ask "What is your work philosophy?"
Your work philosophy is your approach toward goals and expectations in the workplace, so an employer may ask this question to learn more about your values as an employee. Interviewers may also ask this question to determine if you fit well with the company culture, which is the social relationships between members of a department that affect how the group works and interacts. For example, if a company values intuitiveness in its employees, an interviewer may ask this question to see if you take initiative in your own work.
Related: 100 Common Job Interview Questions
How to answer "What is your work philosophy?"
Consider following these steps to answer this interview question effectively:
1. Research the company
Begin by researching the company's mission statement, goals, market niche, demands, risks and competition. Learning this information can help you emphasize aspects of your own beliefs that resonate with the company in your answer. If you have any networking connections to the company, scheduling an informational interview with it may also help you learn more about the company culture.
2. Perform a self-assessment
Once you've researched the company you're interviewing with, perform a self-assessment to help determine your own work philosophy. Consider what makes you good at your job or what motivates you to complete your goals each day. Try asking yourself some of the following questions during your self-assessment:
- Are you resourceful?
- Are you intuitive?
- Do you work well with teams? Why or why not?
- How do you handle challenges during work?
- Do you work hard, even if the work is unfamiliar to you?
- Do you take initiative when you find solutions to problems?
- How do you work to improve after a setback?
Do you consider yourself creative?
Read more: Performance Review Self-Assessment Examples
3. Prepare your answer
Prepare an honest answer about your work philosophy that aligns with your strengths and the company's goals. Try to summarize your best qualities and what motivates you to improve in the workplace. Consider writing your answer down and practicing it several times to help articulate the details. A well-prepared answer can show your potential employer what makes you successful in your profession and how you can improve while working at their company.
Here are some example answers to this interview question about work philosophy:
"Work is very important to me because I enjoy doing things that'll either help someone or potentially change someone's life, even in a small way. Helping customers through challenges gives me a sense of purpose in my work. When I encounter a problem at work, I use the motivation I get from helping others to resolve the issue. Additionally, when I do work that helps my coworkers, I find I'm more motivated to complete those tasks as well. Working with others really helps me thrive in the workplace, and I consider myself a team-oriented person for projects and daily work."
"My philosophy toward work is to challenge myself continuously, even in aspects of my job with which I'm already familiar. Learning new things, taking new opportunities and working with the different members of a department are some of the ways that I've been able to find motivation. Getting involved with a team or leading a project also helps motivate me to work harder. However, while I do work well in a team, I consider myself to be someone who works best alone. I strive toward perfection, and working alone allows me to check my work as often as needed."
"My work philosophy is to be creative in everything I do for a company. Even if my work isn't particularly creative, I try to provide unique solutions to complex workplace problems. I like to help lead teams toward various solutions instead of relying on repeated tactics when completing a project. I also work well in teams because brainstorming ideas and solutions with others allows me to approach my work with a creative mindset. While I can work independently as well, working on a team helps me discover new ideas and develop unique answers to various challenges."
"In work, my philosophy is that if I can enjoy what I'm doing, I can work harder. Even if my work has little to do with my interests, I've found that I can find enjoyment from doing my job efficiently. Because good work helps motivate me, I've learned that I can improve at a job and correct mistakes in almost any task that I do. When working on a team, I've found that working toward a team goal motivates me to do better as well."
"My work philosophy is that I always want to improve at my job. I enjoy learning new things, gaining new skills and becoming proficient in tasks or studies that I already understand. I've realized that I work best in a group setting because I can learn tips from my coworkers and managers. Even when I make mistakes, I see them as learning opportunities to grow and improve my skills."