5 Answers to “What Is Your Work Style?” [2020 Updated]

When an interviewer asks you what your work style is, you might be a little thrown off. “What is your work style?” It seems like an arbitrary question and one that can be difficult to answer. Considering you might not be sitting around all day thinking about how you’d describe what your style is. We’ve got the best guide to help you answer this question in a seamless way.

Why Do Interviewers Ask “What Is Your Work Style?”

Sometimes you’ll hear an interviewer ask this question or one similar to it, like “Describe your work style.” What they’re trying to understand is how well you’ll fit in with the current company culture. For example, at environments like Facebook, they pride themselves on having a “hacker” mentality to their work. Meaning everyone is always trying to do better than the day before. Inventing, creating, improving, moving forward.

When they ask this question, they’re looking for you to help them understand whether or not your values are going to fit in with the environment as a whole. Because this interview question is more indirectly asked, the interviewer will be looking at how you answer the question just as much as what answers that you provide them.

Why are your values important? Because as companies grow, ensuring that most of the employees have similar values ensures that they are able to work together in a collaborative fashion with minimal amounts of friction. If this line of questioning isn't established early on, this usually puts a risk on the HR department. Because it could cause two employees to be in a disgruntled situation which only the HR department can handle.

Answers You Want To Avoid

Answering this question with your classic “I’m a hard worker” responses won’t do much for you. In fact, even answering with something like, “I pride myself on the way I communicate to others” won’t really cut it. That’s because these are answers the interviewer would expect to hear. And because of that, they lack some enthusiasm and creativity that the interviewer is searching for.

Avoid answer’s that:

  • Feel a little dull.
  • Could be classified as “cliche”.
  • Don’t have any personality.
  • Don’t contain any creativity.
  • Would be answers the interviewer might expect to hear.

Before Your Interview, Prepare Your Answer To This Question

One way that you can get ahead of the question is to spend the time to think about what makes you unique in your working style. It can be difficult to do but think back at your work. Try to recall moments where your colleagues complimented you in ways that you felt stood out. What those strengths were that they mentioned. Write them down on a piece of paper and put them in a bulleted format. Once you have that, you have the makings for what you could start to bring up in your answer that is specific to you.

What you’ll want to do is keep your answer within the following guidelines:

  • Keep your answer personal, humble, honest.
  • Give strict examples if you can but keep it brief.
  • Think through the compliments you’ve received from colleagues and what they felt stood out to them.
  • Be sure your answer is only a few sentences at most and one that you can easily memorize.

If you are struggling to recall great moments in your past, try to come up with additions to the answer that contain qualities of yourself that you take pride in. Are you particularly organized? Do you feel like you are flexible with the way you work? Are you willing to learn new things? Take the qualities that you feel are going to make you stand out and put them into the answer instead. You can place emphasis on the qualities of your work that you appreciate as well, which being organized and crushing a task list can be one of them.

Another thing you may want to consider is what qualities the job specifically demands and how you might be able to position your answer to suite that. For example, does the job function require a lot of team collaboration? If it does your answer could contain the fact that you hold collaboration in high regard and have found ways to be inclusive to everyone yet still move the ship forward.

Tip: Keep your answer short so that you can memorize it and deliver it in a smooth fashion. The longer your answer is, the more difficult it will be to keep the script.

What Are The Different Types Of Workstyles

There really aren't a lot of ways to describe a workstyle when it comes to specific categories of interest. Generally speaking, you'll want your answer to contain qualities versus specifics. For example, there's not a perfect work style that can be defined in a business management book. But your qualities can contain things like the following.

  • Collaboartive
  • Innovative
  • Empathetic
  • Sincere
  • Honest
  • Passionate

5 Best Answers To “What is your work style?”

Example one

“I take significant pride in my ability to stay on top of all of my tasks at hand. Being organized, taking notes, ensuring that accountability is taken on my end, is the pride I have in my work style. Good communication can follow that, ensuring that there are clear lines of work for each person involved in our initiatives.”

Example two

“Taking initiative and being open to new challenges has always been part of my work style. If there’s an opportunity to take on new responsibility and be accountable for something significant in the companies timeline, I’m going to be the first one to ask for the opportunity. I take pride in that. And I always strive for greatness when given those opportunities.”

Example three

“I’ve come from the opinion that speed isn’t just the only thing that matters. Quality of work in combination with efficiency is the perfect “sweet spot” for my work. I always strive to find that perfect zone of being able to accomplish a long task list but also do so in a way that’s going to empower my colleagues.”

Example four

“I take pride in the fact that I am a dependable person. If my colleagues ask me to do something for them, I am always the first one to try and help. If I can’t personally help, I will go the distance to ensure I help them find someone who can. For this, I feel I can be extremely collaborative with them and help ensure I am apart of the team in a flexible way.”

Example five

“In terms of my work style, I try to be the best person I can be for each of my team members. Each person is going to need something different in order to achieve greatness with their work. I try to remove myself from the equation and think empathetically about what they need. Then try to be the best support I possibly can be to getting the job done. That means no job is too big and no job is too small. They are all important jobs.”

What Else You Can Do To Prepare For This Question

If you can, try to take the time to learn about the environment you are about to interview with. Most of the time the company will show how it takes pride in their work on their “About Us” page of their corporate Web site. The values they have as an organization are often portrayed on that page. If you can’t find it there, you can see if they have a blog or some type of written material like a press release that contains some of the environment values. Once you have that, you can use it to your advantage within your answer.

Other questions that you might get either before or after this interview question would be “What makes you unique?” or “How would you describe your leadership style?” both are indirect questions which the interviewer is searching to find out how you answer the question more so than evaluating the actual answer you provide them. Good luck with your interviews!

Job Seeker FAQ

Questions about work style assessment and work environment from job seekers.

Why do employers care about work style?

Different work styles mean different levels of productivity. It can help them to assess your core competencies so that your new employer can better match you with a team and tasks. This helps the hiring manager and recruiter place you in the workplace and ensure that you are a good fit for the team you're supposed to be joining.

Does this relate to my management style?

No this question is different than your management style. It more about your personal work style. Your hiring manager might ask you how you measure yourself as a supervisor or boss. Which is more related to your ability to manage a team.

What should I avoid bringing up?

Anything that shows your individual work style is not something you comprehend. For example, not mentioning how you complete tasks but instead mentioning to your potential employer what your personality test mentioned about you. These are different things. A personality trait could be interesting to bring up to a friend. But it is not something you bring up to a potential employer.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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