Interview Question: Give Examples of Your Willingness to Work Hard

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: September 01, 2022

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Job interviews rely on behavioral interview questions such as ‘Give two examples of things you’ve done in previous jobs or school that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.’ These questions allow interviewers to understand how you have exhibited your skills and strengths in real-life settings. These can be more challenging to answer than traditional questions because they require you to do more than just recall specific information from your past, such as the amount experience you have or your college GPA.

When you get asked this particular question, interviewers want you to describe experiences that give long-term evidence of your work ethic. Your answer will help them know that you are independently motivated to put in your best effort in the work that you do. Another way that interviewers might phrase this question is 'Describe an experience that defines your work ethic.'

No matter how startling these types of questions may seem in the moment during an interview, you can prepare for them beforehand so that you are ready to answer effectively. The STAR method is a great tool in organizing your answer to best showcase your qualifications.

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How to Answer 'Give an Example That Demonstrates Your Willingness to Work Hard' Behavioral Interview Question

Describe Experiences That Showcase Your Ability to Work Hard in a Large or Long,Term Project. If you have not prepared properly, you can easily describe a single, isolated experience that will not effectively describe your commitment to hard work. Prepare a story that shows that hard work is truly a major part of your character and personality. This story can either be a large project or a long-term project in which you invested a lot of work and time. If you are given the opportunity to share two experiences, take advantage of this by telling a story when you worked hard on an intellectual and a manual labor project. These show the interviewers that you are well-rounded in your work ethic.

Do Not Be Vague or Just Say That You Worked Hard in Previous Jobs. Being vague in your answer to this question will give the interviewer the impression that you have not had personal experience with hard work. When you share a specific example, you show them that your work ethic is something important to you. Additionally, do not just simply state that you have worked hard in your previous jobs. If you are asked for specifics, you will disappoint your interviewers with vague answers.

Prepare a Good Example Beforehand Using the STAR Method. Many people go to interviews expecting that they will be able to adapt and answer any question on the spot without prior preparation. This can leave them without words when challenging questions are asked that do not have a straightforward response. This is especially true when it comes to behavioral interview questions. Although you might be able to think of a weak example to answer tough questions on the spot, you really want to prepare to provide the best answer. The STAR method is a proven way to organize and answer questions in the way that interviewers will remember after your interview is done.

Prepare a successful example using the STAR method to devise a complete, memorable answer. This is what STAR stands for:

  • ST– situation, task or problem
  • A– actions that resolved the issue
  • R– results that describe how the situation improved

Sample 'Give Two Examples of Things You've Done in Previous Jobs or School That Demonstrate Your Willingness to Work Hard" STAR Interview Answer

In my previous job, I was responsible for improving the quality assurance culture of my company. This meant creating new policies, training staff and enforcing new standards on the employees. Even though I had a short amount of time to implement these standards, I dedicated every minute of my time at work to reach my goal to improve the plant's quality and safety. I drafted 30 new policies, trained all the staff on these requirements and helped them to follow these new measures in a period of six months. It was amazing to see how much the quality of our products and our customer satisfaction improved in that short amount of time.

Just last year, I volunteered with an organization that fixed homes after significant natural disasters. I was on the demolition crew and was responsible for removing degraded materials from homes so that they could be repaired. Because of my work ethic I developed as a result of my upbringing, I dedicated myself to work incredibly hard during each eight,hour shift. My group set records in the numbers of houses we prepared for repairs, and we helped 10 families get back into their homes.

Giving great answers to challenging behavioral interview questions requires careful planning and practice. By using the STAR method, you're sure to impress potential employers.

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