So you’ve got a job interview coming up. Nerve-racking, we know. Fortunately, we’re here to help you prepare for one of the trickiest questions on the list: How would you describe your work style? As a professional staffing agency in California, we ask this question all the time of interviewees — for good reason. Here’s our guide to answering it.
In this article:
- Why do employers ask you to describe your work style?
- How should (and shouldn’t!) you answer?
- 4 things you should always include in your answer
- An A-to-Z guide of work style descriptions
- “What is Your Work Style” answer examples
Why Do Job Interviewers Ask You to Describe Your Work Style?
Having to describe your work style in a job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. Your recruiter wants to know how you will fit the job and organization; obviously, your answer can make or break your chances of getting hired. This question also uncovers your level of self-awareness and ability to communicate your selling points.
How Should You Answer?
This question is NOT about your experiences in your last job. It’s about your skills, what you know about yourself, and what you know about the industry and role you’re applying for.
When describing your work style, keep your answer focused on the job you’re applying for. Avoid clichés such as “I’m a hard worker,” or “I’m a perfectionist,” because these are things anyone can say about themselves. Make sure to grab this Interview Prep Checklist and focus on these aspects of your work style.
You might also like:
- 10 Classic Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them)
- 10 Top Interview Mistakes to Avoid (At ALL Costs!)
4 Things to Include When Describing Your Work Style
1. Accuracy and Speed
Deadlines matter. If you can work with speed without compromising the quality of work, touch on this in your answer. And talk about what strategies you employ to avoid mistakes – recruiters want people who have their own system of checks and balances when working.
2. Organization and Time Management
Talk about how you organize your days. These questions should help you figure out how to easily explain it to your job interview or recruiter:
- Do you have a structure or flow to your tasks?
- Do you start the day with something challenging?
- Do you like multitasking? If you do, does it affect your performance and quality of output?
You might also want to mention the number of hours you’re willing to work, and if you’re someone who routinely stays late to complete tasks.
3. Team Dynamics and Solo Work
The interviewer definitely wants to know whether you’ll mesh well with the team, so interpersonal skills are an important part of answering this job interview question about work style. Talk about:
- Your experiences with working in a team
- The kind of roles you held
- What you did to support teammates.
You can also talk about how you work alone, particularly your workflow and quality assurance setup.
4. Relationship with the Boss
Use this job interview question to prove you know how to take direction from supervisors and also explain what type of relationship you prefer. Do you constant feedback and direction, or do you prefer a more hands-off style of management and be alone to your own devices? (By the way, here are some thoughtful compliments to give your current boss, while you’re at it.)
A-to-Z Work Style Adjectives
- Accurate, adaptable, action-oriented, articulate
- Bold, balanced
- Communicative, collaborative, career-oriented, creative thinker, “cool, calm, and collected”
- Data-driven, dependable, detail-oriented
- Empathic, energetic, effective
- Flexible, focused, fiscally-responsible, financially savvy, friendly
- Honest, helpful
- Intelligent, intrepid, independent worker
- Knowledgeable, kind-hearted, killer instinct
- Loyal, leader, level-headed
- Mindful, meticulous, mellow, motivated
- Natural learner
- Open-minded, open to feedback, organized
- Personable, punctual, patient, passionate
- Quick, quality-focused
- Receptive, reliable, resourceful
- Sincere, sharp
- Transparent, thoughtful, team player, tenacious
- Unique, unafraid of change
- Wise, “willing and able”
- X – Okay, so we couldn’t find anything for X.
- Y – A “yes and” worker
- Zen under pressure
“Describe Your Work Style” Answer Examples
1. You’re Project Driven (Example jobs: project managers, marketing assistants, etc.)
I’d say I’m deadline-driven but flexible enough to handle the unexpected [adjectives!]. I tend to do my best work on deadline because it allows me to hyper-focus. [#1 Accuracy and speed] Typically, I structure my days by starting with the most pressing to-dos, then moving on to the less pressing ones. [#2 time management] In terms of working with a team, I’m happy working independently but also love to work in smaller groups, especially when our boss each allows us to own certain aspects of a project and take it as far as we can. I love working with bosses that want their team to improve and grow. [#3 & 4 working with teams and boss]
2. You’re People Driven (Example jobs: customer service representatives, receptionists, front desk assistants, etc.)
I’d say I’m personable, outgoing, and good at solving conflicts when they happen. [adjectives!]. I love multi-tasking and work quickly that way, but I do like to set aside some time either at the beginning or end of the day to work on more complicated tasks to avoid making mistakes. [#1 Accuracy and speed] I’m pretty good at managing my own time but also thrive when working according to a set schedule. It’s really whatever works best for the team. [#2 & 3 time management and team] In terms of management, I’m a self-starter so I don’t typically need much supervision, but I do love to have regular feedback from my boss to make sure I’m continually improving my work. [#4 working with boss]
3. You’re Task Driven (Example jobs: warehouse picker packer, personal assistants, event planners, etc.)
I’m punctual, dedicated, and accurate. [adjectives!] I’m good at getting things fast, but not so fast that I make unnecessary mistakes. [accuracy and speed!] I take responsibility for my own work and am good about organizing my time when working alone, but I also love being part of a team and stepping up to help teammates when they need it. [#2 and #3 team] In terms of supervision, I’m receptive to feedback and always happy to chat through difficult tasks with my supervisor to make sure we’re on the same page.
Want more? Read our blog on the top 10 classic interview questions and advice on how to answer them.