Last week we discussed answering whether you prefer working alone or as part of a team. This week’s question is very similar, but more general. When an interviewers asks you to “Describe Your Work Style”, they’re hoping for insight into exactly HOW you work. This question is about how you get things done. It’s important to emphasize this when you answer.
Work Style & Preferences
By answering this question, you should set out to highlight what it is about how you work that makes you a valuable employee. This is a good chance to highlight your strengths. However, you should also mention any work preferences. If there are any ways you prefer to work, or ways in which you work more efficiently, bring these up. For example, do you thrive when you are given minimal direction? Or perhaps you are someone who has to be managed constantly to stay on track. If this is the case, talk about it. If you prefer to be a team member than a lone wolf, bring it up. It’s better to bring it up now than to be hired and not enjoy the job.
Another aspect to consider is how you interact with your coworkers. Are you at your best when you are working with others? Are you able to focus better and get more done alone? These are questions you should ask yourself. It’s also helpful to think about your interactions in your last position. Think about what you did or didn’t like about how you were managed. This is a good way to tell what your work style is if you’re not sure.
When answering this question, it’s very important to make sure you stay focused on relevant answers. Also, don’t say anything that is likely a negative trait. Saying, “I work best with music”, or “I prefer a laid-back, casual approach” won’t win you any points. These types of preferences can be misconstrued and may hurt your chances for the job. You should be focused on how you work for this question. Don’t say anything that panders to the interviewer either. Interviewers talk to many candidates and can tell when a statement is genuine or not.
Thinking about your work style goes beyond how you work with people. You should also think about your work process. Do you prefer to tackle all of your biggest tasks first? Do you have a constant to-do list that is crossed off daily? Interviewers like to hear about your productivity methods. This illustrates that you have a way of getting work done. It also shows you are already thinking about how you can be productive and benefit the company if you were hired.
Thinking about how you work will not only better prepare you to answer this question, it will also make you a better employee. Once you realize how you work best you can choose to be efficient. Consciously knowing your best practices is extremely beneficial.