How To Answer 'What Is Your Work Style?' (With Examples)
Updated 30 September 2022
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Interviewers may ask open-ended questions about your work style when interviewing candidates for various roles. Hiring managers use this question to determine whether you are a good fit for their organisation, so an appropriate answer can help you increase your chances of getting the role. Knowing how to respond to this question can help you showcase why you are the right candidate for the job. In this article, we discuss why employers ask about work style, review how to answer 'What is your work style?' and provide tips and examples to help you prepare.
Why Do Employers Ask 'What Is Your Work Style?'
An employer may ask 'What is your work style?' to learn more about your professional habits, approach and commitment to your role. This allows them to evaluate whether your personal preferences align with the company's work environment and standards. If you are applying for a position as a team or department member, learning about your work style can also help a hiring manager decide whether you are suitable for the job based on your prospective colleagues' methods.
This question requires you to know your strengths and weaknesses and understand how to adapt to changing circumstances. This means an interviewer may expect your answer to highlight your skills, self-awareness, industry knowledge and job responsibilities. You can use your response to help a hiring manager understand why you are the right person for the position and organisation.
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How To Answer 'What Is Your Work Style?'
It is important to feel confident when answering questions such as 'What is your work style?'. By properly answering this question, you can demonstrate why you are a good fit for a particular role or employer and showcase your understanding of their professional environment and expectations. Here is a list of steps you can follow to evaluate your habits and techniques so you can thoughtfully respond to this interview question:
1. Identify your ideal work environment
Before responding to the question, it is important to identify your ideal work environment and whether you prefer working independently or collaborating with others as a part of a team. Depending on the role, employers may look for candidates who are self-motivated and succeed with less direction or feedback, while others may prefer individuals who like to work collaboratively and prefer leading or contributing toward collective goals. By identifying your ideal professional environment, you can use this information to better understand your work style.
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2. Reflect on your relationship with management
When evaluating your work style, it is important to consider your relationship with management and internal leaders in your current or previous role. A hiring manager may want to learn whether you prefer to lead a group or take direction and how comfortable you feel receiving input and guidance from senior employees.
This can help them determine whether you would fit in with your prospective team or department and how well you may adjust to your new role. Whether you prefer to receive little to no supervision or rely on consistent feedback to grow and improve, you can benefit from reflecting on how you communicate with your supervisors.
Related: How To Prepare For A Job Interview
3. Consider your speed and accuracy
Whether you are applying for a job in a fast-paced environment or one that focuses more on quality than deadlines, it is important to consider your speed and accuracy. This can allow you to show an interviewer that you understand your strengths so they can assess whether you are well-suited for the company.
When discussing your work style, consider focusing on the strategies and techniques that improve your efficiency and productivity. Consider reviewing your daily job duties and the methods you use to complete your tasks on time. You can also mention your typical work hours and whether you feel comfortable working additional hours to complete specific tasks or projects.
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4. Be honest with yourself
When answering interview questions, it is important to be honest about your work style and professional preferences. While you may want to provide the answer you know a hiring manager is looking for, by staying honest, you can help the interviewer evaluate whether you are the ideal choice for their company.
This helps you find a role and employer that allows you to succeed based on your habits and strategies. For example, if you prefer receiving consistent feedback from your colleagues or managers, it is important to share this information with a hiring manager. If you know you can adapt to a variety of professional environments, discuss this with the interviewer to highlight your flexibility.
Related: How To Prepare For The 'What Is Your Dream Job?' Question
5. Keep your answer concise
When responding to this interview question, it is important to keep your answer concise and easy for a hiring manager to understand. Focus on addressing the job requirements and specific aspects of the role you are pursuing. Rather than addressing all aspects of your work style, discuss the elements that demonstrate that you are the right professional for the position and company. Consider reviewing the job description before meeting with a hiring manager to identify the keywords and requirements an interviewer may be looking for in a candidate.
Related: How To Prepare And Practise For A Mock Interview
Example Answers To 'What Is Your Work Style?'
Practising with sample answers can help you brainstorm and create effective responses to this interview question. Your response may differ depending on the role you are interested in and the employer's requirements. Here are three ways to answer questions about your work style:
Example 1: Marketer
"I can adapt to any workplace. While working alone, I try to work quickly to complete tasks on schedule. I also enjoy working in a team. In my last position, one of our clients placed a large impromptu order. Normally, I would have been able to handle the project on my own, but it would have taken more time.
Teamwork allowed us to divide 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 is 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 organisation.
There are many instances when I prefer to work alone in the quiet of my office. For example, when I 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 is why I do everything I can to help my team achieve their objectives.
For example, my employer once hired a brilliant engineer who was intelligent and had exceptional qualities but was not familiar with the Agile method. I dedicated two weekends to explaining 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."
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