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How to Answer “What Is Your Work Style?” in an Interview (+ Examples)

What Is Your Work Style

As an open-ended question, “What is your work style?” can be challenging to navigate and answer. Interviewers often use this question to determine whether you’re a good fit for the company culture and the role. In turn, this means that preparing a good answer can significantly boost your chances of landing the job. In this article, we will look at some of the best tips that will allow you to prepare a concise and compelling answer to “What is your work style?”

Table of Contents: 

Why do employers ask, “What is your work style?”

At its core, this question serves to help the interviewer gauge if you’ll be a good fit for the organization. Your response can reveal how you perform in a team and whether you can be successful in the position. For example, suppose you’re applying for a job that hinges on collaboration but says that you prefer working alone. In that case, this might be a red flag.

The question also shows your level of maturity and self-awareness. The interviewers want to see that you understand the role’s requirements and can objectively determine if you fulfill them. This is why it’s vital to tailor your answer to the position. Check the company’s social media, past job listings, and website. This will help you understand the company culture, general requirements, and the type of candidates they are likely to hire. Based on these aspects, you can then prepare an answer that will cement your position as the ideal candidate. Additionally, even if you don’t fit entirely into the company culture, show that you’re willing to adapt.

How To Answer “what Is Your Work Style?” In A Job Interview?

Related: 12 Hardest Interview Questions and Best Answers

What are the different types of work styles?

  • Independent – Independent workers perform best when they get to work solo. As such, they often struggle with collaboration as well as supervision. Typically, they like to create their own path and see where it leads them. Visionaries, creatives, and entrepreneurs are often the proponents of the independent working style. Overall, they are productive, efficient, and highly disciplined.
  • Co-operative – As the opposite of the independent worker, the cooperative employee works best as part of a team. Mainly, they enjoy sharing responsibility and thrive on feedback from their colleagues. In a group setting, they are organized, collaborative, and strategic in their approach to tasks. Moreover, they have excellent communication skills and diplomacy that make them a perfect fit for any relationship-focused role.
  • Logical – Employees with this work style are typically quick and efficient in problem-solving and overcoming challenges. Moreover, their linear thinking allows them to thrive in data-oriented positions and achieve personal or company goals promptly. However, logical employees sometimes forget about communication and planning. Instead, they spend most of their time deeply concentrated on their thought processes.
  • Detail-Oriented – The detail-oriented employee is organized, strategic, and steady in their work. They make a great addition to any team by bringing a sense of stability. In risky situations, they prefer to be thoughtful, slow, and methodical in their solutions, thus thriving in research-oriented positions. As team leaders, they can be slightly perfectionists and tend to micromanage. However, if paired with proactive colleagues, they are a great driving force of success.
  • Supportive – Having a more emotionally driven work style, supportive individuals are often expressive and great team players. In and outside of work, they thrive in collaboration and building new relationships. Subsequently, they perform well as part of a team, to which they often bring harmony and resolve conflicts. Their emotional intelligence and active listening skills allow them to facilitate effective communication and account for the feelings and opinions of those around them.
  • Visionary – The vision of the bigger picture drives the visionary. They are natural leaders who inspire others to work towards common goals and vision. Thriving in taking chances and risks, they are energetic and actionable. Additionally, they have a talent for turning risks or challenges into new opportunities and pursuing them tirelessly. However, they can sometimes overlook the rest of their team’s opinions or pay little attention to the details of their vision.

How to answer the question  “What is your work style?” in a job interview?

To tailor your answer to “What is your work style?” to match the job you’re applying for, consider the following steps:

Step1: Research the company and position

The fact that the question is very open-ended allows you to choose what you want to emphasize. Ideally, you should find those aspects of your work style that overlap with what the job calls for to focus on. So, the first step in preparing your answer should be to analyze the job description. Ensure that you understand what the company is looking for and which of the requirements you can fulfill. Next, research the company as a whole. This can tell you more about their company culture, values, and goals.

Step 2: Tell a story to demonstrate your work style

When you’re asked, “What is your work style?” you may feel tempted to give a vague, generic answer. However, the best way to leave a lasting impression on the interviewer is to tell a story. So, add some proof to your response. If you’re an idealist, explain how you set your team goals and led people to achieve them. Give specific examples of what you did that reflect your work style.

Step 3: Be honest and concise

When asked about your work style, be honest and concise. Focus on the elements that make you an ideal candidate for the job, such as leadership abilities and relevant accomplishments. Avoid simply saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear and ensure your response aligns with your qualities and work style. If unsure, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions during the interview.

Step 4: Don’t overthink it

There’s no need to stress over and overthink your answer. You might feel like you don’t have a clear answer because you haven’t named your work style yet. In that case, think about how you approach your tasks. How is it different from how your colleagues approach theirs? Which soft skills do you use most often at work? Are they relevant to the position you’re applying to? All of these questions can give you valuable insight into your work style and how to phrase your answer.

Remember, the goal is to showcase how your work style will benefit the company and contribute to your success in the role. By customizing your answer to match the job you’re applying for, you can demonstrate your understanding of the company’s needs and your ability to thrive in the position

Sample Answers to “What is your work style?”

Independent work style 

Example Answer: In my previous role, I spent a lot of time figuring things out on my own. Whether it was finding new opportunities or solving problems, I discovered that this working style suits me well. I would consider myself a great problem-solver. When diving into an issue, I can find effective solutions quickly and determine which one is the best. However, I’m also very adaptable and have no problem collaborating with others. In the past, I would often go through the planning and organizing stages of a project alone and then discuss it with others to get valuable input and implement the solution.

Co-operative work style

Example Answer: I thrive in collaborative settings where the team can come together and brainstorm unique ideas and solutions. In fact, that is the reason I first gained interest in this position. I believe that combining creative and analytical input from all team members leads to great results. Additionally, working and communicating with others daily keeps me motivated and passionate about the work I do.

Supportive work style

Example Answer: One of the things I value the most in any job is a supportive environment. I believe that a team must have each other's back and support everyone's career. At my previous job, I spent most of my time listening to our employees' input and implementing it to make the workplace more enjoyable for everyone. I would love to be able to do the same for your company and employees. And, judging by your website, I believe that employee wellbeing and camaraderie are important to you, too. 

Related: How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Mistakes to avoid when answering this question 

When answering the question “What is your work style?” in an interview, it’s important to avoid certain mistakes that could negatively impact your response. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Overemphasising personal preferences: While it’s important to understand your own work style preferences, avoid coming across as inflexible or unwilling to adapt to different work environments. Emphasize your adaptability and willingness to work collaboratively, even if you prefer certain aspects of working independently.
  • Not providing examples or stories: Simply stating your work style preferences without providing examples or stories to back them up can make your response less impactful. Use specific examples from your past experiences to demonstrate how your work style has contributed to your success or the success of a team or project.
  • Being too vague or generic: Avoid giving generic or vague answers that could apply to anyone. Instead, tailor your response to the specific job and company you are interviewing for. Research the company culture and values beforehand and align your work style with those aspects.
  • Not considering the job requirements: Make sure your answer aligns with the requirements of the job you are applying for. Tailor your response to highlight how your work style is a good fit for the position and can contribute to the success of the team and organization.
Remember, the goal is to provide a clear and concise answer that showcases your strengths, abilities, and how your work style can benefit the company. Use specific examples, avoid generic statements, and tailor your response to the job requirements.

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