How Would You Describe Your Work Style?

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Internet boards for top job interview questions and answers often list- “How would you describe your work style?” as a common question. The mere thought of this query induces sweaty palms- dry throats and heart palpations in many a job seeker. The question sounds like regardless of the way you answer it- you will turn off interviewers. For example- if you say that you love to work independently- an interviewer might not see you as a team player.

Other ways to phrase the question include- “How do you structure your day?” and “What is your communication style?” This is because structure and communication are two key parts of many work-style answers. No matter the way in which the question is phrased- however- interviewers are trying to gauge how well you communicate- how flexible you are and if you could be a good fit for the company. Answer the question honestly.

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How to Answer the “How Would You Describe Your Work Style?” Interview Question

Include Several Attributes in Your Reply: Your work style is made up of quite a few factors. They include how you structure your day- how you work alone versus collaboratively- how you communicate- how well you take direction- how you prioritize tasks and whether you enjoy working with your boss. Whew- that’s a lot to cover! Fortunately- your answer need not delve into each of these areas. Answer with the attributes that most define your work style and that best match the job description and the company. To find out more about the work styles the company values- review the job description and the company website.

Use Examples: To deal with top job interview questions and answers- use examples from your current and previous jobs. For instance- you could discuss a typical day at your current job. Perhaps you get in early before many other people arrive so that you can relax in the calm environment and gather your thoughts. Furthermore- maybe you are in the habit of completing the tasks you dread most to get them out of the way so that you need not worry about them anymore. If you lack official work experience you can use schoolwork habits to illustrate. For best results your examples should mirror popular work styles in the company. As an example- suppose that the recruiting web page says that the company thrives on instantaneous communication such as sending internal instant messages that pop up immediately on smartphones and computers. In such a case you would probably want to avoid saying that at your current job- you prefer to stand and walk to chat with co-workers instead of messaging them.

Speak Positively: It is all too easy when you are asked about something you do to slip into what you don’t like. If you truly enjoy working alone and much prefer not to work in groups- avoid bashing group work or listing the negative possibilities that come from it. Do not answer with something like- “I love working alone because when I work in groups- I end up having to do all the work myself. Plus- no one communicates with me.” Such answers make you appear surly and uncooperative- and they certainly do not put you in a good position to be hired.

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Sample “How Would You Describe Your Work Style?” Interview Answers

1. My work style is pretty flexible. For example- I thrive both independently and when I work collaboratively. Take the design project we just discussed. It was handed to me alone- and I got off to a great start. I did get stuck on a few concepts- so I took the problem to the team. The project turned out great thanks in a big part to their input. I also enjoy personal touches. I noticed in your job description that you’re looking for someone who takes the time to walk over to folks and chat with them in person instead of sending an email. That’s me exactly. In-person communication and recognizing birthdays and the like just makes a working environment more pleasant.

2. I’m still in school- but I have a good idea of what my work style is. When I’m doing homework and projects I organize them so that the most dreaded tasks are done first. That way I am not thinking about them constantly while I do other work. A lot of projects require that I work alone- of course- but I also know there is tremendous value in multiple minds. So what I do is hand over my completed projects to a few valued friends who know their stuff. It’s a form of quality check. They spot errors: grammatical- logical- structural- what have you; and my projects- present and future- become so much better.

Hopefully how to answer “How would you describe your work style?” is clearer now. While the question may still be frustrating- you can make it work to your advantage. It certainly is among the top job interview questions and answers- so plan for it beginning today.

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