How to Answer “What is Your Work Style?” in an Interview

“What is your work style?” This question may seem initially daunting, and it’s understandable how it could be. After all, what exactly does ‘work style’ encompass? Can’t that mean just about anything? The answer is, yes, it can mean many things, but it’s also a very important question for an interviewer to ask an interviewee.

Knowing an interviewee’s work style will tell the interviewer how well they will fit in the company and meet its expectations and work standards. This does not mean that the answer needs to be overly complicated; in fact, keeping it both simple and precise will show your interviewer your confidence in your abilities in various ways.

This post may have affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission on purchases through the links (at no extra cost to you). This does not change our opinion but does help support the site. Thank you!

Below are tips and tricks for answering the ever-popular ‘work style’ question:

What is an Interviewer Looking for with the Question “What is your work style”?

As mentioned above, the phrase ‘work style’ can seem vague initially, making it nearly impossible to answer. To even begin answering it, it’s important to break it down. Simply, work style is how you work in the day-to-day.

There are plenty of ways to gauge this: do you prefer a fast-paced, bustling environment, or a very relaxed and laid-back atmosphere? Are you all about being part of a big team, or are you more comfortable working independently?

Lastly, can you handle taking on multiple tasks, or is one project at a time more your style? Your answers to these questions will determine your work style and the company culture you will adapt well into.

For example, if you are meticulous and tend to spend a long time working on projects to produce your best work, you will probably not do very well at a company where your boss expects you to knock out multiple projects a day at a fast, efficient pace!

What Specific Factors Fit Into Work Style?

There are several other aspects of work style besides the kind of environment you prefer. Figuring out these more specific attributes requires you to think about your strengths and weaknesses at work.

These include thinking about your organization skills, communication style and relationship with bosses. Ask yourself the following questions:

Organization: Are you a hardcore planner who knows when they will complete their projects down until the last minute? Or are you more ‘go-with-the-flow’ when it comes to how you approach your projects?

Communication Style: As is often said, communication is key in all areas of life. Each job will have its own requirements when it comes to how team members will communicate. Some companies prefer phone calls, others prefer chat messages, and some are all about in-person. Which style suits you best?

Relationship with the Boss: This factor is perhaps not often thought of by most, but it’s very beneficial to consider before approaching any potential job. Do you prefer receiving lots of guidance from a boss, or are you more into having a heavier responsibility for your work?

How Do I Find a Company That Matches My Work Style?

After you settle on your work style, you should aim to look for companies that match it. Most companies and organizations will have a mission statement on their website that explain the company’s philosophy and goals.

Reading these will help you better understand the company’s overall work culture, which will help you figure out if you would be a good fit or not. In addition, reading these statements will give you a better idea of what a company is looking for in a candidate, which can help shape your answers in an interview.

How Do I Correctly Answer “What Is Your Work Style”?

Once you’ve found a job with a great match for your work style, it is time to consider how you will answer the question. Before looking at what to do, you should know what NOT to do:

Not Be Honest About Your Style: First and foremost, it’s important to understand that not being completely honest about your work style could harm your chances of securing a job. Answering how you think you should answer will give your words less worth, and, even worse, could potentially land you a job with a completely unfit environment for you.
Provide Overly Detailed OR Overly Vague Answers: It’s just as important not to be too firm with answers as it is to not be too vague. If you make firm statements like “I can only work alone,” you are limiting yourself to how you can handle only one particular work environment.

For instance, though a company may emphasize independence for its workers, it may also require interaction with colleagues from time to time. At the same time, if you are too broad, answering such as “I like to work alone, but I also like working in a team,” it won’t give an accurate depiction of your character to the interviewer.

Once you’ve understood what to avoid, you can focus on what you SHOULD do:

Examples, Examples, Examples: You may have a very good answer, but if you have nothing to back your response up with, it may just come off as empty words.

If you consider yourself a ‘team-player,’ give a brief but impactful answer about how you and a previous group of colleagues tackled a difficult project and achieved success.

Highlight Your Main Style and Other Keywords: It’s great to lead with what you consider your overall work style, such as your preference and ability to take on many projects at once.

What else does this style say about you? For instance, it could say that you produce fast and efficient results. You also probably have good problem-solving skills, as you can fix problems quickly to move onto the next task.

The ideal answer to this question will be a few sentences long and demonstrate your personality and working abilities. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses in a work environment, narrowing down how you deal with any company’s top priorities: organization, communication style, and interaction with others. Come up with a strong example that demonstrates your worth and ability, and you’ll be on your way to securing your ideal job!