How To Answer “How Would You Describe Your Work Style?”
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 13, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021
Updated October 13, 2022
Published September 29, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
An interview is a vital part of every job application process, and providing thoughtful and impressive answers during one is important. You can expect strategic questions that allow the hiring manager to understand your work style during the interview. Knowing how to answer the question, "How would you describe your work style?" is important to help you impress the hiring manager and increases your chances of getting the job.
In this article, we explain why employers ask about your work style, highlight how to answer the question, identify skills to demonstrate when answering the question, and provide examples of impressive answers for different roles.
Why do employers ask about your work style?
Employers seek candidates who can fit into the company's culture, so they ask this question to determine your suitability. Your answer helps the hiring manager assess if you have the necessary attributes for the specific role you want. Usually, this question allows the hiring manager to identify your strengths and weaknesses, how you work in a team, and how you adapt to changes in circumstances. The hiring manager expects you to highlight your industry awareness, skills, self-awareness, and understanding of the job.
Also, the hiring manager wants to determine if you're thorough and resourceful. Usually, a thorough and resourceful candidate would have researched the organization's requirements for the role from the job description, company's website, recruitment materials, and other available resources. Such candidates can streamline their answers to highlight specific attributes that fit into the company's needs. In addition, employers ask this question to assess a candidate's passion for the role and commitment to delivering the best results to aid the achievement of the company's goals.
How to answer the interview question "How would you describe your work style?"
Recognizing the work environment you're best suited for helps answer the question, "How would you describe your work style?" appropriately, and here's how you can achieve that:
1. Recognize your ideal work environment
One important detail that your interviewer wants to hear is your preferred work environment. When describing your work style, your interviewer wants to know whether you prefer working alone or as a team member. Of course, working in a team is often a requirement for most roles. Although, it's acceptable to prefer working independently.
If you prefer working in a team, ensure that you highlight your experience in collaborating with others and how it helped you produce better results. In contrast, if you prefer working independently, ensure that you highlight you understand the benefit of collaboration and receiving feedback from coworkers. This way, you can demonstrate flexibility, regardless of your preference.
2. Examine your relationship with managers and executives
Consider your work relationship with your manager since the hiring manager wants to determine if you prefer working with little or no supervision or getting direction about your tasks throughout the process. Usually, hiring managers prefer candidates who can take the initiative and work with little supervision. Regardless, highlighting that you understand the relevance of teamwork and appreciate feedback from the manager or team lead is equally vital when answering the question. Usually, this ensures you can deliver optimal results based on the team's requirements.
3. Consider your speed and accuracy
Highlighting your speed when working on a task and how it influences the quality of your performance is necessary. This allows you to demonstrate that you can work in a fast-paced environment, which hiring managers often prefer. When answering your question, you can also demonstrate the strategies you adopt to ensure productivity and efficiency in the workplace. For instance, you can highlight how you plan each day, your number of working hours each day, and how you adapt to changes in your work schedule.
4. Be honest
While it's a great idea to fit your answer into your employer's expectations, staying honest when answering this question is vital. This is essential to ensure that you can function in the role if they hire you. For instance, if your best work environment is in a quiet place alone, being in a noisy environment can limit your productivity in the workplace. I nform the hiring manager so they can accommodate your preferred work environment. Remember to highlight your flexibility and capability to adapt to diverse work settings.
5. Be concise
When answering the question, ensure your answer is brief and connected to the role specifications. For example, instead of describing every part of your work style, highlight the qualities that make you unique and ideal for the job. For instance, you could discuss your ability to adapt to different work environments using your performance and activities in a previous role.
Skills to demonstrate your work style in an interview
Here are some skills you can demonstrate when answering a question about your work style in an interview:
Answering interview questions requires you to demonstrate good communication skills. First, listen attentively to the question. Second, construct your answers clearly and concisely. Finally, ensure you show confidence when communicating with your interviewer.
Starting at a new company usually requires you to change, and demonstrating you can adapt to such changes helps improve your appeal to employers. Even within the workplace, changes in processes, methods, clients, and tools can occur without notice. Hiring managers want employees who can demonstrate versatility, consistency, organization, and optimism when those changes occur.
Even if you prefer working independently, you need teamwork skills. These are attributes that allow you to work easily with others. Show the hiring manager you can collaborate with coworkers to achieve a specific goal. Examples of attributes that allow you to showcase your teamwork skills include leadership, critical thinking, empathy, honesty, positivity, and taking responsibility.
Read more: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples
Work ethic refers to your commitment to performing your duties and completing tasks while focusing on optimal results. You can also demonstrate work ethic through professional behaviours such as punctuality and respect for team members. For instance, you can showcase time management by arriving for your interview on time or early.
Example answers to "How would you describe your work style?"
Here are some sample answers to the question that can help you create your own impressive answer:
Example answer for an accountant
Here's an example of an answer if you're in an interview for an accountant position:
"I'm comfortable working independently or as part of a team, depending on the demands of a project. Typically, I'm eager to meet new people and make new friends, which extends to my approach to work. This allows me to collaborate easily with coworkers in a company, regardless of their position.
Still, sometimes I love to work independently and in my office. For instance, I prefer to be alone when I file my weekly report or reconcile the departmental account. In most cases, I do this after others have closed for the day to devote myself to the tasks and ensure accuracy."
Example answer for a project manager
Here's an ideal answer to review if you're in an interview for a project manager position:
"I recognize the value of reliability in every workplace, and it's something I prioritize. For instance, in the past seven years, I've only missed seven workdays, and this was due to circumstances beyond my control. In addition, I understand that being a dependable colleague means being available to collaborate with others to meet clients' needs and achieve the company's goals per schedule. I deliver my best performance each time to ensure every team member can function effectively.
For instance, in my last job, a brilliant software developer joined the team. The developer was exceptional in their skills but unfamiliar with the emerging Agile management method. I dedicated the next three weekends to discuss how the team uses the Agile method to improve team collaboration and productivity. This eased his onboarding process and allowed the developer to contribute significantly to the team's success within the first month."
Example answer for a marketer
This example demonstrates how to describe your work style if you're interviewing for a position as a marketer:
"One thing that makes me unique is my ability to adapt to diverse workplaces. When working independently, I work quickly and complete my tasks ahead of my deadlines. In addition, I enjoy getting feedback from my supervisor as it allows me to get an objective review of my performance and identify areas for improvement. This has helped me become a more valuable professional in the workplace.
I also love working as part of a team and can adopt team collaboration where necessary. For instance, we received a large order from our major client that we needed to deliver weeks ahead of our usual timeline in my past role. While I handled the project alone, I recognized it was a time-sensitive task that needed multiple handlers. I subsequently delegated some project parts to different individuals and installed quality control measures to ensure quality delivery. This ensured we completed the task on schedule and satisfied our client."
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