During an interview, being asked about your work style seems like a trick question. What does the employer want you to say?
How honest should you be?
Well, fear not, as you will soon learn the very best way to answer the common interview question, “what is your work style?”
Why Do Employers Ask This Question?
Even though employers just want you to work efficiently and effectively regardless of your work style, this question is often asked to gauge how well you will fit into the company’s culture. Different work styles have different pros and cons so. For example, even if you are a hard worker but prefer to work independently, and the job you applied for is heavily team-based, you might not be a good fit for the role.
Employers may also want to find a work style that is different from the current team to get a fresh perspective or complement the work style of the team. They may have a team that is very detail orientated and are looking for someone who has a ‘big picture’ outlook on work.
Therefore, it is good to know in advance what your work style is so you can let them know the benefits of having you on their team.
What is a Work Style?
So, what actually is a work style? Well, this is the way you work when you are working at your optimum. It includes how you organize and structure your working day so you can complete your work on time. There is no right or wrong style, and the “best” work style really depends on your job and your office culture. However, to work optimally, you do need to know what your work style is.
Types of Work Style
Those with an independent work style perform their best when they are working alone. Usually, they find it difficult to work with other people or as part of a team, and they do not like to be supervised. Independent workers are self-motivated and disciplined.
On the other hand, cooperative workers thrive in team settings. They value their co-workers’ opinions and excel when collaborating on ideas. Also, they have excellent communication skills, which can be an advantage to any prospective employer. They can lack self-motivation, however, and struggle to make decisions independently.
In between independent and cooperative workers are the proximity workers. They are more versatile and flexible. Proximity workers like to work on their own tasks but be around co-workers and maintain a social connection with them. Proximity workers are great to have within a team as they can connect the independent and cooperative workers and help balance out a team.
Supportive workers want to collaborate, not compete with their co-workers. They are nurturing and thrive off connections with their co-workers and clientele. And are empathetic and know when something is wrong with another co-worker. They are also excellent at facilitating interactions and conflicts between team members.
Detail orientated workers like to meticulously plan every possible outcome of a project. They submit higher quality and error-free work in comparison to other work styles and tend to ask a lot of important questions throughout their project. They are also very organized, but when in leadership positions, they can often micro-manage.
Conversely to detail orientated workers, big picture workers are more visionary. They have ideas and want to create change or opportunities within a company. Yet, although a big picture working style can help a company grow and progress, this style of worker needs help to bring the project to fruition.
What is Your Working Style?
It is not only important to know this in order to answer an interview question, but learning your own working style will help you maximize your time and structure your day. Everybody wants to work more efficiently so they can spend more time doing the things they love! To help determine your work style, you should look at these five steps.
Your Work Space
Do you prefer the bustle of an office and the ease of communicating with your co-workers, or do you prefer working at home or in the solitude of your own office where you can reduce communication down to scheduled email checks?
Cooperative, proximity, supportive, and big picture workers tend to do better in settings where they can easily bounce ideas from their colleagues and get inspiration from them. Independent and detail-oriented workers prefer a quieter setting which allows them to focus on the task at hand.
Detail-oriented workers love to meticulously plan their days and their deadlines. This is less structured in cooperative, supportive, and big picture workers who need to account for time spent conversing with their colleagues.
Although cooperative workers cannot meticulously plan their day, they must prepare their deadlines well in advance to account for the different work styles of their team members.
Similar to determining your workspace is determining your preferred communication. Would you rather send a concise email, have a one-to-one conversation with a co-worker, or present your ideas in a big meeting?
Supportive workers prefer more intimate one on one conversations where they can really get to know their co-workers, whereas big picture workers may prefer brainstorming sessions with groups of enthusiastic people.
Debating and being assertive can come naturally to some working styles. Others prefer to avoid conflict at all costs. Those that prefer to work more closely with their colleagues tend to be better at dealing with conflict as they have more of a rapport with their co-workers; in contrast, independent works may struggle with conflict.
Supportive workers thrive in this situation because they are excellent facilitators and great at developing a compromise.
One of the easiest and accurate ways of finding out your work style is through personality tests. The Myers-Briggs Type test is a popular example, but there are many others. Although these tests are not specifically aimed at working style, learning more about your personality can highlight some of the traits associated with your working style.
How to Answer “What is your Work Style?”
So now that you have figured out your own personal work style, you should be fully prepared to answer the question in an interview. Firstly, you should research the company and check out some of their current and past employees to determine what they are looking for.
Although you should not lie about your working style, it is helpful to have some buzz words that you know they are looking for to incorporate into your answer. Even though you want to impress your interviewer, remember that you should also be learning if this job is going to be the right fit for you and your work style.
When you are answering this question, it is important to highlight the positives of your working style and link it back to skills the company may wish for. If you can mention some achievements, you have had because of this working style as evidence, even better!
So here is an example answer that you can adapt to fit your own working style…
While my work style can be flexible, I have excellent communication skills, so really thrive when working in a team. I believe that working collaboratively yields the greatest outcomes as you can access a wider range of ideas and skills.
In my previous position, through collaboration with my colleagues, we ran our most successful campaign to date. The primary theme for our campaign was established through a brainstorming session with all my co-workers. Our different backgrounds and different positions in the company allowed us to come up with an innovative idea that could not have happened without this co-operation.
But What About All the Other Common Interview Questions?
No problem at all, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you could ever need on How To Answer What Are You Passionate About, What Makes You Unique, and How Do You Handle Stress, as well as How To Answer What Is Your Greatest Strength, Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, What Are You Most Proud Of or How Do You Handle Conflict!
Back to today’s interview question…
Learning your own work style will not only allow you to succeed in your own profession, but it can help reduce work-related stress. This is vital in order to have a good work/life balance. You should now have all the tools to find your own working style and answer this question concisely in an interview.
The very best of luck with your next interview.