Interview questions: Describe your work style

22.07.2015 11651

Do you know what your work style is? This is a popular interview question, but a lot of people go wrong in their answers because they don’t understand what that employer really wants to know. They’re not interested in your personality or your likes and dislikes with this question. (They're not interested in how you dress for work, either.) They want to know how you work.

So some people really shoot themselves in the foot with the ‘work style’ question because they say things like, “I’m really laid back.” First, that’s a personality trait. Second, no one wants to hear that. No one wants to pay for your moseying along through your day. They want to get their money’s worth out of your salary.

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It’s not about your personal preferences, either. For instance, some people will say things like, “I’m not a fan of conflict.” What’s that got to do with your work style? Nothing.

Work style has to do with the work.

First, you want your answer to mesh nicely with the job itself. How does your style fit with that job?

If it’s a data-driven role, you don’t want to talk about how you like to come up with creative solutions for problems. That’s not needed so much in that job. Those are basics.

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What they really want to know are things like: Do you like to work alone, or as part of a team? You may actually prefer one or the other, but you should know what the job requires. Most companies appreciate someone who can do both. Teamwork is important, but sometimes you’ve got to just saddle up and go it alone. Talk about how you are comfortable with both.

Are you comfortable with minimal direction, or do you need lots of details before you complete a task? I think it’s important to be upfront with this one if you really can only function one way. If you hate being micromanaged and your future boss believes in it wholeheartedly, then you are not going to want that job and it won’t be a highlight on your resume.

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You always want to pick out a few of your best qualities (again, that fit especially well with the job you want) and talk about those: Are you organized? Do you work quickly? Are you a good multi-tasker? Do you enjoy taking on extra projects? Are you a great planner? Are you consistently a top performer?

You can’t be all things, but you can successfully approach this question like you do all interview questions: with a strategic answer that thoughtfully addresses the question and provides an answer that meshes your best qualities with the needs of the job.

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