Understanding why employers ask 'What is your work style?'
Discussing your work style during an interview is one way to show an employer you have what it takes to get the job done right. By tailoring your working style to the job you're applying to, you can focus on specific traits that would make you successful in this position. Every type of job requires a different type of employee, which is why this is your chance to show you're the right fit. Here we further discuss why employers ask 'What is your work style?' and offer advice and examples to help you effectively answer this question.
Why employers ask about your work style
An employer may ask ‘What is your work style’ to see if you have the right traits to fit in with their company. For example, if you’re working on a team, saying that you enjoy collaborating with others could be useful for this type of work environment. Likewise, if you’re applying to work in a more serious, detail-focused job, then sharing that you prefer to work independently could also be favorable. Get to know the requirements of a job and make sure your work style can be applied to this position.
How to answer 'What is your work style?'
When discussing your work style, employers are looking for an open and honest response. This is your chance to prove that you fit in with the company culture and the way they operate. Follow these steps to effectively answer ‘What is your work style?’:
1. Reflect on your work style
Prior to your interview, reflect on what your work style is. Common work styles include the following:
- Independent: You prefer to work on your own without much supervision.
- Cooperative: You thrive in a group setting and enjoy collaboration.
- Proximity: You need a balance of independence and group work to be content.
- Supportive: You tend to form deep connections with your colleagues and want a workplace with a sense of camaraderie.
- Big picture: you focus on the larger objectives of your company rather than the day-to-day details.
2. Show that you’re adaptable
When describing your work style, focus on the parts that show that you are a good fit for the job. Share how these characteristics make you more qualified for the position. When applying to jobs in the first place, it’s wise to choose ones that align with your working style, however, if you feel that you could adjust your working style, make that apparent. By not being too specific about the way you work, you can open yourself to more opportunities.
3. Share a few examples
In your answer, give an example or two that can give the employer a better idea of your style of work. For instance, you could explain how your cooperative skills led to a big win at your last job. Sharing examples can show how this style of work has benefited you in the past.
Example answers to 'What is your work style?'
The way you answer ‘What is your work style?’ may vary based on the job you’re applying to. When preparing for your interview, use these example answers as inspiration:
Example 1: Independent
In my last position, I had a lot of alone time to figure out things on my own. I found that this independent working style suited me well, as I consider myself a problem solver. Having a chance to look at an issue on my own lets me dive deep into multiple solutions. Of course, if this position were to require me to collaborate with others, I could definitely adapt. For instance, with my previous experiences, I often got to begin a project independently and then meet with others later on to discuss our work.
Example 2: Cooperative
I thrive off working in a team setting, which is why I was interested in this position in the first place. I think with a tight-knit team of creative professionals, all of our brainpower and unique experiences can lead to innovative solutions. Being able to work with others keeps me happy and driven. Upon researching your team’s page on the company website, I think we will all mesh quite well.
Example 3: Proximity
My working style blends cooperation with independent work. I think it’s important to collaborate with others, but I also value the time I get to work on a task by myself. I find that having this combination keeps work interesting and is how I am most productive. For example, when I was a product specialist, I met with my team once every other week to discuss our progress. I felt like this was a great way to connect with each other and share ideas. I also valued that in between these meetings I could think of solutions on my own and work through things independently.
Example 4: Supportive
My ideal working style is being in an environment where we can all support each other through our career journeys. Based on your company’s values, I can see camaraderie is quite important, which attracted me to applying here. At my last job, I was the head of the employee morale committee. Essentially, we worked to find ways to make work a better place for everybody. I would love to be a part of any similar initiatives this company may have.
Example 5: Big picture
Although I know the day-to-day details are important, my working style is primarily focused on the big picture. Setting goals that align with those of the company is how I’ve been successful throughout my career. As a goal-oriented person, I found that reassessing my aspirations periodically keeps me motivated and driven. By finding ways to meet my team’s objectives, we all can succeed. I operate in a way that takes the minute details and applies them to what we’re really working toward.