Among several questions that you’ll face at an interview is this one: “What is your work style?” or describe your work style.
This is one of the common questions that interviewers would ask because they wish to find some more reasons to hire you. Therefore, answering this question in a proper manner is very important.
Unfortunately, lots of jobseekers get stumped by this question and are unable to provide a satisfactory answer. Therefore, to help you crack an interview, I’m presenting different ways to answer your question about “What is my work style?”.
Let’s therefore understand why some employers ask about your work style.
Reasons Employers Ask What is Your Work Style
There’re several reasons an employers ask about your work style. Here’re some of these reasons.
Generally, every company has a corporate culture. Therefore, interviewers want to find out whether you can blend easily into the company’s corporate culture.
Your response can help the hiring manager determine whether you have the qualities to deliver results in the position for which you are applying. Employers can also use your answer to gauge how you will perform in a team.
Secondly, an interviewer or employer wants to comprehend your inherent strengths and weaknesses that could help you to adapt your working styles, where necessary.
Usually, they would look for a response that emphasizes on your skills, awareness about your own qualities and the industry in which you’re working as well as the role you’ll be playing, if hired.
And thirdly, employers try to gauge your overall aptitude for playing the role effectively in adverse situations, if they arise for any reasons.
That’s because every company goes through various business cycles. Your response will help them to somewhat find out how you can cope with these various cycles of the business.
Preparing to Answer about Your Work Style
You’ll need a lot of preparation before the interview to respond to this vital question about your work style at an interview. Here’re some steps that could help you prepare your response.
Read the Job Description Carefully
A lot of candidates apply for a job without carefully reading the job description and responsibilities at a specific role.
This can be a blunder. If you want to answer the question about your work style in a manner that impresses the employer, I would suggest you actually research in the job description. That’s because you’ll find several hints about what’s expected from you at that role.
Find Out More about the Employer
The next thing to do is find out as much information about the employer as you can. This means, going through the company website, their annual reports if possible and checking their social media pages.
One more thing that I can suggest is that you go through reviews about the employer if they’re available on job boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor.com among others.
Here you can find some unbiased and honest reviews written by existing or past employees. This would give you a fair idea of the working style at the organization.
And don’t leave behind LinkedIn profile of the employer. That too can tell you a lot about the place where you’re applying for work.
Find Common Ground
Obviously, you wouldn’t get a clear idea of what’s the working style of your prospective employer. That doesn’t matter. Therefore, try to find a common ground where your working style would be desirable to the employer.
You can do this by highlighting the fact that you’re willing to do what it takes to provide the desirable results for the company.
Also indicate subtly that you’re not rigid about your working style. And that your working style on its own merit, could work to the benefit for the employer.
Find Out Own Work Style
This is something we often ignore. Regardless whether you’re a fresher applicant or have some experience at various roles, we often don’t know our own work style.
Therefore, try and find out what makes you stand out from other employees or how would you like to work, if you’re a fresher.
That way, you can respond to the question of your own work style with some level of confidence.
Answering What Is Your Work Style
With adequate preparations, you can be confident of responding to the question about your work style at an interview.
Remember, no interviewer or employer wants an answer that would fit your working style to the ‘T’. That’s because all of us have individual and unique personalities and traits. However, speak about your desirable traits while responding to this question.
Researching about the job role would help you answer this important question.
1. Independent Work Style
If you can work effectively without any sort of supervision, you can confidently say that your work style is independent. This means, you’re able to do all the work at your organization with minimal or zero supervision or directions from a senior.
Generally, this work style is best when you’re applying for a remote job. That’s because there won’t be any seniors or company officials at the location where you’re working.
That means, you’ll have to execute all tasks independently, in accordance with policies of the organization and directives given by seniors.
Independent work style is also suitable for introverts. If you’re an introvert, the independent work style is suitable because interaction with other colleagues or even seniors is minimum.
Actually, answering that your work style is independent is best suited for topmost positions at a company.
There would be few people within the organization to supervise you. And the only persons you might report to include a director or even the employer themselves.
Having an independent work style also means you’ll assume all responsibilities of executing the work alone and delivering it on schedule, with minimal or no help from juniors and peers.
You can respond that you’ve an independent work style only if you’ve adequate skills and experience at a specific role. And if the position itself demands that you should be an independent worker.
Furthermore, to respond to this question, you can highlight some of the projects and assignments that you’ve done alone, without the assistance or help of colleagues.
Working independent is a superb quality, especially if you’re planning on becoming a freelancer later.
2. Contemplative Work Style
If your job role requires a lot of thinking or contemplation, answer that you have a contemplative work style.
The contemplative work style is best when you’re appearing for an interview for roles that require you to plan and analyze. Obviously, the employer would expect you to be a good thinker in such cases.
The contemplative work style is an excellent response nowadays if you’re applying for positions such as a data scientist or data analyst, project manager, senior planner, engineering consultant, financial consultant or marketer.
The contemplative work style suits all of these positions because you would have to put in a lot of though while executing your work.
Again, the contemplative work style is suitable for introverts to some extent. It also requires the ability to work independently because nobody should break your chain of thoughts or try to influence them while you’re at work.
Contemplative employees are most sought after by employers. The reason is that they don’t take rash and impulsive decisions. Instead, they put in a lot of thought before doing anything.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you can think about how to go about the tasks at hand at leisure. Instead, it means that you will stay focused on the job, find the best ways and means to execute the tasks at hand and stick to your thoughts about that work.
Contemplative work style also means you’ll have above average analytical skills, math skills, can prepare charts and diagrams or projections about an organization’s future goals and targets.
Jobs that require very high level of creativity such as graphic designers, web designers, software and app developers, content writers and copywriters require the contemplative work style.
At the same time, contemplative work style might also require excellent communications skills. That’s because you may have to outline or explain your ideas or projections to the employer.
To highlight a contemplative workstyle, display a portfolio of your works. This would help the employer comprehend that a lot of thought goes into your work. That you’re a rational thinker and not prone to being influenced by others, though you might seek their opinions.
3. Cooperative Work Style
Cooperative work style is best suited for every fresher. Or for those job roles that require a lot of teamwork. As the term suggests, you’ll be cooperating with your colleagues and juniors to work on any specific project.
Cooperative work style is suitable for sales and marketing jobs as well as for projects where more than one person would be necessary for its successful completion.
A cooperative work style is an indicator that you’re a willing learner. That you’re open to learning new skills and techniques from colleagues and juniors in your team.
And this means you’ve no egos about own educational qualifications or any work skills that you might have acquired during an internship or previous work.
Employers that have a large workforce prefer employees that have a cooperative work style.
That’s because you’ll be able to blend into the rest of the workforce without much problems. And that you can cut across departmental lines to ensure a smooth workflow.
I suggest the cooperative work style for freshers for one main reason. As a fresher, you might not have the necessary skills to work at a particular role.
However, you could acquire these skills by cooperating with seniors in the role. And teamwork helps you learn a lot from others, while fine-tuning your own but limited skills for a job.
Cooperative work styles are generally suitable for lower or middle level jobs where you have to work with lots of people.
Hence, if you’re applying for a sales and marketing job or any role where teamwork is necessary, you can respond that you have a cooperative work style.
You can highlight cooperative work style by talking about projects and assignments that you did at college or high school together with others or those completed successfully during an internship.
4. Proximal Work Style
Actually, proximal work style is a proper blend of independent work style and the cooperative work style.
However, proximal work style is more or an independent style because you would be operating at the role without involvement of others. However, you would still require to cooperate with colleagues, seniors and juniors to fulfill the role.
Generally, proximal work styles are useful in customer service. That means, you’ll be in close proximity to the sales and marketing forces and you’ll be cooperating them on various issues related to customer care.
At the same time, you’ll be an independent operator that can think outside the set box and provide solutions that suit both- the customer and your employer’s interests.
Proximal work style is the most common type of work styles in the world. Other than customer service, it covers a lot of areas such as middle level management, administration and Human Resources, among others.
The proximal work style is very flexible. There would be times when you have to work as a team. And others when you’ll be operating independently.
You could be called upon for advice or you may have to take some from colleagues and seniors. However, you would have to act independently when it comes to the best interests of the company.
This workstyle shows you’re very responsible and can blend easily into any work culture. That you’re willing to accept deficiencies of others and yet, perform well in your own unique manner.
Generally, persons with a proximal work style have an easy-going nature and a pleasant personality. At the same time, they’re not people pleasers.
You can highlight that your work style is proximal by giving examples of situations where you had to take opinions or suggestions from colleagues and seniors yet act on your own, based upon out of the box thinking.
5. Leadership Work Style
If you’re applying for a managerial role or one in the top management, a supervisory job or even one that requires teamwork, respond that you have a leadership work style.
This is the best response you can provide when you’re changing a job to get a higher position with a new employer.
As the term itself suggests, you will require excellent leadership skills for this work style. This itself involves a lot of things.
Firstly, you should be able to think on behalf of the team and not yourself. And you should also be a superb motivator.
Leadership work style requires you to have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence. That’s because you’ll have to lead a team and someone might be feeling low or hold a grudge against other team members.
You need to use your EI to assess the mental state of each team worker before, during and after a task to ensure smooth workflow.
Good leadership workstyle also means you’re capable of working independently, in cooperation with others and have the contemplative and proximal work styles too.
This is a trait that employers look for when you’re applying for a senior position.
To show an employer that you have the leadership work style, discuss how you have motivated colleagues and teammates in the past or you’re doing so at the current role.
6. Supportive Work Style
If you’re applying for jobs that require support services such as secretarial work, sales and marketing support, admin and HR support or any other job that requires you to play a role in the background only, respond to the question saying your work style is supportive.
Basically, supportive work style means that you’re open to taking directions from seniors and providing them services they require to fulfill their roles effectively.
It would also include some level of advising to the persons you support, based upon your knowledge about the company and its operations.
Therefore, you’ll require superb knowledge about the department where you’re working as well as the overall operations of the organization.
That’s because you might have to brief a senior about some situation or person for them to take the right decision.
Supportive work style is also a form of cooperative and contemplative work styles. That’s because you’ve to put in a lot of thought on the way you’ll be supporting a team or senior or peers. This also means teamplay in most cases.
Additionally, supportive work style means you would require a very high degree of accuracy in your work and be able to maintain records of various things concerning the department or officials that you’ll be supporting.
You can answer this question by discussing all the support services that you’re rendering to a current employer or did so at a previous workplace.
Method of Answering About “What is Your Work Style?”
You might get the impression that answering about your work style requires long-winding responses. That’s a myth. Instead, I would suggest that you be very concise with your answer and respond to the point.
All the six work styles can be answered rather briefly. Usually, the interviewer will then ask you to highlight examples of your work style.
And that’s the time when you can provide an answer by speaking about what you’re doing at the current role or did at a previous job, that aptly showcases your work style.
The trick here is not to rush into the answer. Instead, think about it for a few seconds before proceeding to respond. That’s the reason I’m emphasizing on prior preparation to respond to this question.
Though this question sounds harmless, it means a lot to the employer. And they look for precise and concise answers from your side.
There could arise a scenario when you might believe you don’t have any set work style. That’s nothing to worry about.
When you study the job role, you can easily identify what kind of work style from my above list of six different ones would best suit that position.
And you can respond accordingly. However, employers do expect that you would know what’re the responsibilitie
Therefore, going prepared is the best way to crack an interview by responding to questions about your work style.