One of the most frequently asked questions in the interviews is about your work style. What is your work style and how to position it to make an impact during an interview. Read on!
What is your work style?
A common question enquired by interviewers and recruiters is, what is your work style? Companies must be aware whether employees are focused on flexible style at work, hardworking and whether they are inclined to be a perfectionist.
Hence it is critical to understand the tips and suggestions required to explain the work style and articulating the responses. Besides a discussion on the probable questions that can be asked by companies is an important factor to understand and refer to as and when needed.
As working professionals, we often bring a unique set of skills to the table based on our learnings and experiences. In the current scenario, with a pandemic being one of the driving decision-making factors, affecting a lot of major companies, most companies and teams have begun working remotely and question around work style is gaining unprecedented significance.
This makes the following question one of the critical parameters that hiring managers are concerned with during interviews – what is your work style? In this blog, we will discuss the definition of work style, understanding & recognizing various work styles, and the way to manage different work styles.
Additionally, we will also focus on interview questions and how to answer what is your work style. Lastly, we will impress upon the concept of work style assessment so you can ace your next interview. Before we jump right into it, let us first understand the concept of Work Style.
What is the interviewer trying to understand by asking about your style at work?
By asking about your style at work, an interviewer intends to clarify the work style descriptions and the subsequent work style assessment from the responses and answers provided by the candidates.
- Whether the candidate is capable of adapting to the company culture and way of working
- Understand if the candidate has the potential to deliver quality results
- The willingness of the candidates to embrace the work style and employment mode of the company; especially the remote mode of operations and time-zone flexibility
- Maintain interpersonal relation while working in a team inducing effective communication and collaboration
While enquiring, what is your work style? companies normally ask for a test sample for additional elaboration.
Tips to answer the interview question: How would you describe your work style?
In this section we will talk through the ways to answer the question on, how would you describe your work style? or what is your work style? It is essential to first evaluate the company’s style of working before structuring your responses. The critical point is to answer thoughtfully on how do you work and how would you describe your work style.
1. Know your company before the interview
The first thing that is highly recommended before interviews are, to go through the company’s website before your interview. You must try to understand the company’s mission, vision, and objectives. See if you are a right fit for the organization.
Scan through their social media sites to understand the ways of working of the organization. Remember the interviewer will always try to match your work style with the company’s culture and overarching work style.
2. Answering career style interview questions
For effectively answering in a career style interview, you need to remember the following 3 key tips; a ready reckoner to assist you on the question, how would you describe your work style?
- Focus on the flexible working style to cut across different time zones
- Focus on interpersonal relationship capabilities to induce teamwork and effective collaboration
- Focus on how you manage multi-tasking and strict deadlines
3. Responses to the question on how do you work
If the question from the interviewer is how do you work or what is your work style? here are the tips on how to describe your workstyle,
- For professionals who follow different work styles, elaborate on each of the situations when you toggle between the styles
- Talk about the communication mode you follow
- Elaborate on the dedication towards achieving the goals of the company
4. Work style definition
Interviewers would want to know your knowledge on work style definition, what is your work style and types of work styles; here are the tips
- Describe the independent work style if you are interviewing for an online blogging or content writing job
- Describe the team-oriented work style when you are interviewing for working in a project
- Describe the mixed work style if you are working from a remote location
5. Dos to keep in mind while answering different work styles
- Analyze and assess your work styles. Explain in clear, concise terms about your work style and how it can lead to work accomplishment as per the company’s objectives.
- Do not exaggerate your work style to please the interviewer. Keep it short and concise, focusing on pointed answers to the qualities you possess.
- Share your experiences by providing real examples of your work style. Mention how your work style has benefitted a team and company
- Even if you do prefer working independently, the interview might be looking for your flexibility in collaborating with others. Hence, ensure you touch upon how you can tie in your independent work style with team collaboration.
- On the other hand, some companies may prefer employees who are independent workers. In such situations, you need to define your strengths as someone with an independent work style or someone who can manage to adapt to an independent work style.
- A common question asked by an interviewer as part of what is your work style is also on your methods of communication. Remote jobs prefer interactions through virtual meetings, web conferences, emails, audio, and video calls, etc. In contrast, traditional office spaces may prefer meetings in person. It is advisable to be familiar with the different modes of communication and share your comfort in adapting to them.
6. Donts while explaining how do you work
- Do not be rigid and strict on a definitive work style. It is better to strike a balance between your working style and the company’s way of working. If you are looking for a job in the company, it is good to create synergy.
- Do not just mention your characteristic traits while defining your work style. Share your previous experiences and the positivity behind them.
- Do not hide your likes and dislikes about specific work styles. It is better, to be honest, and transparent.
Also Read: Culture index survey | A comprehensive guide
Work style examples for reference
Let us now focus on the various work style examples for reference. Whenever you are asked a question, what is your work style? these subsections will assist you in providing you with the appropriate responses.
Among the different types of working styles, a stereotypical work style may not always benefit the company; hence out-of-the-box innovative work style must also be encouraged.
1. Functional expert work style example
Examples or sample answers on being enquired about the eccentricities of functional expert work style is hereby mentioned below,
- Harp on the importance of domain knowledge as one of the work style examples
- Talk more about the business processes as part of your work style descriptions and an answer to the question, what is your work style?
- Elaborate on ways to enhance productivity and optimization in a functional expert work
2. Thought provoking work style example
Samples for reference on how to answer queries for thought provoking work style,
- Talk about the different thought-provoking ideas you have introduced in your past assignments as one of the work style examples
- Emphasize how your ideas have brought in both quantitative and qualitative benefits to the organization. A sample answer can be ˜20% reduction in manual effort by introducing RPA automation.
- In your style definition, provide due importance on how you leverage your innovative mindset and quality to bring in greater stakeholder satisfaction
3. A holistic approach to work
Companies prefer employees with a broader mindset, hence presenting a holistic approach to work will earn greater credits. Here are some samples on how to tackle the question on a holistic approach as one of the work style examples.
- Specify the different aspects of a program – project management, communication, infrastructure, resource availability, etc.
- Mention the need for documentation starting from the business requirements, specifications, test results, training manuals, and so on.
- Talk about organizational change management activities.
Top 10 work style questionnaires
In the previous section, we have discussed the sample examples on handling the question of, what is your work style? Let us now focus on the sample answers for a few other frequently asked work style interview questions. The following sub-sections will act as a guide and ready reckoner.
1. What kind of personality do you work best with and why?
Question: What kind of personality do you work best and why?
Sample Answer: I work comfortably with varying personalities. The main objective is to work collaboratively, with a clear understanding of the goals. I am flexible to work with everyone and till now in my career have maintained healthy interpersonal relationships with all.
2. How would others rate the quality of your work?
Question: How would others rate the quality of your work?
Sample Answer: I am a hardworking individual who loves to work with accuracy and precision. Have never missed a deadline in my past assignments. My peers, supervisors, and team members will rate me as 5 out of 5 when it comes to dedication and a positive attitude towards work.
3. What kind of worker are you?
Question: What kind of worker are you?
Sample Answer: I follow two different work style types. When I work remotely I follow both independent and team-oriented work styles. But when I am physically present at the office premises, I am fully into the team-oriented work style.
4. What do you work for?
Question: What do you work for?
Sample Answer: I work to fulfill my ambitions for the future; to perform a meritorious role (specify your industrial and functional domain or technological expertise). Introducing innovations in my work for betterment is another aspect of what do I work for or you may term it as an answer to what is your work style?
5. What steps do you take to ensure a high level of accuracy in your work?
Question: What steps do you take to ensure a high level of accuracy in your work?
Sample Answer: The answer to this work style questionnaire is: I believe in constant monitoring, testing, and auditing of the work completed. The checks must be performed against verified standards and by someone external to the team.
6. Which type of company would you prefer to work for?
Question: Which type of company would you prefer to work for?
Sample Answer: I desire to work in a company that has a constructive mission, vision, and goals for the near future. Allow flexibility of work is another criteria I am interested in. Focus on out-of-the-box thinking is also crucial for me.
7. What kind of people do you like to work with?
Question: What kind of people do you like to work with?
Sample Answer: One of the vital work style questionnaires. The common answer is: I like to work with self-motivated and inspired people. Since I am myself dedicated and possess a positive attitude, I will be particularly eager to work with people of similar thought process.
8. Describe a project you have worked on example
Question: Describe a project you have worked on example
Sample Answer: It is one of the popular work style questionnaires to evaluate a person’s past experiences. You must pick up a project where you talk about the role you played, your responsibilities, and how you excelled over others to complete the work before time.
9. What elements of your job interest you the most?
Question: What elements of your job interest you the most?
Sample Answer: The elements of a job that interests me the most are Work-life balance, effective collaboration, efficient communication, teamwork, pleasant work environment, autonomy in thoughts, appraising work and appreciations, flexibility in work, transparency in leadership communications, and well-organized management hierarchy.
10. Describe your work ethic
Question: Describe your work ethic
Sample Answer: It is an answer to how to describe your work style, as well. I am immensely dedicated and focused on my work. Never allow distractions and deviations while concentrating on my goals and deadlines. Prefer balancing professional and personal life to avoid any delays in the overall work schedule.
List of different work style types
The best way to define work style is the strategies or methods you adopt and leverage in executing your daily activities and tasks. The means of delivering a particular task may vary between individuals. Some believe in working independently while others believe in teamwork to achieve results.
The critical aspect is to understand what is your work style and whether your team members are aligned to it. If there is a significant difference between the work styles of the managers and the team, it may result in clashes.
Additionally, if there are many variations in the work style between the team members, it becomes a matter of concern and can affect overall deliverables. The common suggestion is to strike a balance amongst the varying work styles and hire the team accordingly.
This way, you can avoid miscommunications that could be responsible for slowing down the productivity and efficiency of your organization. There are various types of work styles, let us discuss some of the examples for a clearer understanding of the concept
1. Independent working style
Novel writers, story writers, bloggers, and poets prefer this independent working style. Similarly, many scientists and research analysts opt to work in silos without any disruptions— many entrepreneurs too, like focusing on their work alone.
Adopting and implementing this work style successfully depends on the profession. To reap the advantages of an independent working style, one must consider factors such as – The amount of interaction you prefer during the course of your work, how often you prefer sharing updates, etc.
This particular work style is a great way to stay focused, attentive and productive. It is useful for those who prefer to work as per their schedule, take time to nurture their innovative thoughts and ideas; and prefer having no reporting manager.
Working in a team is not ideal for people who adopt this particular work style. For you to work with a team, given you have an independent work style, you would need to clarify your work style to your manager and plan your work & schedules accordingly.
2. Team-oriented working style
Executing a project or a program demands extensive teamwork, collaboration, and coordination. Tasks are divided amongst multiple teams and workstreams. Each workstream constitutes a group of assignees possessing a specific domain or technical expertise. The group performs the task in a cohesive manner.
The sub-tasks are dependent on each other through their inputs and outputs. The team leads divide the activities among the members, either in a sequential Waterfall methodology or following the scrum-based Agile methodology.
In both situations, cooperation and synchronization are the vital factors of success. If the above scenario is what sounds ideal, then you have a team-oriented work style. You prefer a sequential approach to work and place importance on reliability and collaborations amongst your peers.
3. Mixed working style
A Mixed working style involves a combination of Independent and Team-oriented working styles. Remote professionals typically follow this model. While working independently from home or in a coworking space, they engage in discussions and meetings with their teams or clients when a situation arises.
It can be to seek help and guidance or work on tasks etc. If a person has a mixed work style, they undertake the responsibility of completing their tasks in silos, yet at the same time, do not hesitate to approach their team for support. They even assist the other members in executing their jobs and also clarifying queries.
4. Social working style
When trying to understand this work style, the ideal example to go by is a traditional HR Department in a company. Their primary motive is to bring in a feeling of harmony among the employees. They celebrate the accomplishments and achievements by offering accolades etc.
This is referred to as the social working style, where there is no competition. Another typical example is of a therapist or counselor. They are often hired by companies and academic institutions and play a vital role in the organizations. Counselors follow a social working style since that governs their success.
5. Innovative working style
Strategists and Company leaders who are entrusted with the work of increasing the sales, growth, and market presence etc. adopt an innovative work style. Their thoughts and ideas are focused on creating innovative ways for future growth.
They seek to attain potential customers and increase team and organizational satisfaction levels. They are quick to Identify hurdles in expansion, analyzing future risks, and finding out the appropriate mitigation paths. These are their key areas of focus.
They strive to fulfill the company’s mission, vision, and objectives. Analyzing market trends, adapting them, and understanding competitor’s strategies fall under their purview. Having considered the various work styles mentioned above, you can ask yourself the following questions,
- Do you prefer working independently or collaboratively?
- What is your work style?
- What is your approach to work?
- What do you picture as your ideal work environment?
- How do you prefer communicating with your superiors and your teammates?
These questions will help you evaluate your work style. We shall now further discuss the techniques to identify and manage various work styles.
Tip: Your work style will have a significant impact on business growth and thus is a crucial parameter for employers to consider during the hiring process. During an interview, ensure you establish your work style clearly while also highlighting your other skills.
How to manage various work styles?
Learning to manage the different work styles are crucial for the successful execution of a program or a project. It is needed to nurture stable relationships between team members and the team leads or the managers. The tips for managing the variations in the work styles efficiently and effectively,
1. Meet and talk to your team members
No matter where your team members are located, remote, or in the office, greeting and meeting are essential. Ensure you schedule some time to talk to them and through conversation, try to understand their way of working, their aspirations, and thoughts behind how they perform specific tasks.
Try to analyze the strengths of the working style and categorize them. Categorization is essential for you to group your team members according to a similar work style. Strength analysis guides you through figuring out how it will benefit the company in the long run.
If you are one of the team members, then on your part, you must be aware of what is your work style. You must be able to communicate the same to your managers and peers for better synchronization and coordination.
2. Match your work style to the Job
During the hiring process, it is essential to select candidates that fit the working environment of the company. Hence you must ask them to define the work style and their mode of working. Once you are convinced, you must try to match their work styles with the job in hand.
This matching process will eventually increase the motivation levels of the employees. The execution processes will be faster, leading to satisfaction of work. You can earn good results, in turn, benefiting the company. Harnessing the right talent coupled with a suitable work style, is sure to boost up the efficiency level.
3. Set clear objectives and goals
Setting the objectives of a program and the goals of each team member are the key steps for the successful execution of a job. It helps the team members to match their work style to the tasks entrusted to them.
One challenge here is that the team members may approach the goal in various ways—the obvious reason being the difference in their work styles. As a manager or coworker, you need to maintain focus, observe their modes of working, amplify their strengths and guide them towards the goal.
4. Leverage benefits of varying work styles
You may be under the notion that a team’s success depends largely on hiring members with identical work styles. Although it seems like similar work styles would work harmoniously you need to consider this – imagine having a team with only executors and no innovators or vice versa – it wouldn’t work, would it?
Considering that, you need to look at creating an environment that fits work styles in a complementary way. A mix and match is always beneficial. An out-of-the-box approach must be encouraged in a team.
The essence of that approach is to encourage the members to ask each other the simple question of what is your work style? The benefit of it lies in the fact that team members earn a greater understanding of their colleagues’ work styles.
They will respect and support each other; eventually, a benefit for the company. We had earlier mentioned the situation where hiring managers when reviewing potential candidates enquire about their work style. This section will serve as a suitable guide for facing interview questions with confidence.
Work style behaviors
We will now discuss 4 work style behaviors or 4 working styles prominent among professionals in the current modern world.
1. Collaborative work behavior style – Working as a team and liaising with both internal and external stakeholders similarly.
2. Innovative work behavior style – Introducing innovations to automate manual activities, increase productivity and efficiency in the processes and technologies
3. Empathetic work behavior style – Listening to the suggestion of others, accepting feedback in a positive tone, and rectifying faults.
4. Sincere behavior style – Dedicated and focused on achieving the goals and the stipulated deadline
There are other work style behaviors like being honest, passionate, etc. but the above 4 are the key ones.
Summarising thoughts on work style assessment
It is recommended to assess your work style before applying for a job. Many websites provide online tests for work style assessment. They present a set of questions for you to answer. The questions are mostly psychology related. Once you answer all the queries, they perform an in-depth dive analysis of your traits.
You can judge yourself and analyze your work style. These assessments help to understand the positive and negative effects of your work style. While they answer the vital question of what is your work style, they provide you with an asset to analyze your strengths and weaknesses.
These are vital for facing interviews, and to excel at your workplace, they also improvise on your low points. Work Styles define your professional aura. Seek a job that matches your work style; else you may end up feeling stressed or anxious.
You may find it tough to cope up with the management and the leadership of the company. Dissatisfaction is an excellent barrier to your future growth and career aspirations. By now, you must have acquired a fair knowledge of what is your work style and what are the best examples of work styles.
You are now equipped with strategies on how to approach interview questions focused on work styles. Follow the do’s and don’ts to avoid being rejected in interviews. One thing to remember is that there is no good or bad work style. It’s all about giving a balanced view of what is your work style.
The only exception is being hostile and non-cooperative. A person who respects their peers and the company, and is honest about their work style, can strive to maintain a healthy work environment seamlessly working with different work styles towards success.
Kuntala is a versatile writer with a focus on diverse areas around work, productivity, collaboration at work, hiring, management, HR, and training. Her background of past experience in technology and consulting helps in molding razor-sharp insights into the research and user-focused content she creates. Professionally she is an IT consultant in a sales role and also a writer of short stories and poems, travel blogger, and fashion influencer.