Interview tips: How to answer "what is your work style?"

Last updated: May 20, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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Interview tips: How to answer "what is your work style?"
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When you go to your next job interview, one of the questions you may be asked is, "What is your work style?"

When hiring managers ask this open-ended question, they already know what types of answers they're looking for based on the kind of person they’re hoping to hire for the role.

For example, they may want someone who is a team player or a candidate who can work independently.

To help you know how to answer this question, we've put together the following guide. We'll tell you about different work styles and why an employer may ask this question.

Also, we'll give you our top tips so you'll feel confident giving your answer and we'll show you good and bad examples of how to respond.

What is a work style?

Not everyone thrives in the same work environment. When you know your work style, you can choose the right job for your personality type.

There’s a range of different work styles. The best work environment will be one that maximizes your productivity and makes you feel appreciated.

It should match your pace and the way you like to be managed.

For example, you may be someone who prefers to work independently. You prefer a manager who gives you time and space to get the job done.

Or, you may be someone who prefers to work in a team. You enjoy group projects and leaders who are available to discuss small details.

Maybe you work best with clear deadlines and a fast-paced workplace. Or, you could be one of the 69% of employees who prefer working from home.

If you’re not sure what your work style is, think about your last job. What worked well for you, and what didn’t?

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Why do employers ask this question?

"What is your work style?" is a common job interview question. Hiring managers ask this to help them decide whether you'd be suitable for the job.

They’re trying to look at the big picture to see how you'd fit within their company.

For example, your answer will help them decide whether you'd work well with existing team members.

It'll also tell them about your preferred leadership style. They can think about their management team and whether you’d be a good match.

And, they’ll learn about your work habits and compare them to the company culture.

Tips for answering “what is your work style?”

Now you know why recruiters ask this question. But how should you answer it? Before you go to your job interview, read these top tips:

1. Tell the truth

You should always be honest during a job interview. If you get the job under false pretenses, it won't be long until someone notices you lied.

For example, if you're an introvert who likes to work solo, don't tell the hiring manager you need a collaborative work environment.

Some employers may ask you to take an online assessment. These tests help them understand your personality type and your ideal working style. Try to be honest when taking these types of assessments.

2. Think about the company

Before the interview, you should research the company. What are they looking for?

You can look at their website and social media pages. Does your work style match their values?

If you've read the job description and you're not a perfect fit, you can still highlight your ability to adapt to the requirements and learn on the job.

3. Know your strengths

Think about your strengths. What are you good at, and what are your soft skills?

You may find it helpful to brainstorm and write these down in a list.

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For example, you may be a big-picture thinker with excellent problem-solving skills. Or you may be organized and good at multitasking.

You can also think about your workplace relationships and the way you communicate. Are you a person who values teamwork and strong leadership? Or are you a self-motivated, quiet achiever?

4. Use an example

When you talk about your work style, you can use an example from your last job.

For example, you can discuss a time when you were flexible and adaptable. Or you can talk about a goal you achieved with your team.

Make sure the example is clear, relevant, and to the point.

5. Rehearse your answers

Practice common interview questions and answers to help you feel confident on the day. You can ask a friend or family member to help.

You can read other common job interview questions here.

What does a good answer to this question look like?

If the hiring manager asks you this question, it's an opportunity to show the employer your personal work style and how it can make you a good employee.

Let's take a look at what a good sample answer looks like:

"I'm flexible in the workplace and enjoy challenges. I'm an independent worker with a strong work ethic. I can meet tight deadlines and complete tasks to a high standard. I feel comfortable working under a manager with little supervision.

I also thrive in an environment where I can be part of a team. For example, at my current job, we held an in-store event for our customers. Each employee had a role and worked as a team. The event was a success."

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What does a bad answer to this question look like?

Don’t waste this opportunity to sell yourself. Here are some examples of what you shouldn’t say:

"I don't know."

"My last manager was awful. I couldn't work with them at all. I also don't like my co-workers."

"I'm a hard worker, and I can do it all myself. I don't need anyone else."

These answers don’t show the hiring manager that you could be a successful member of their team. In fact, answers like these may even give the hiring manager the impression that you’re difficult to work with.

You want to focus on displaying your positive attributes when answering this interview question.

What’s your work style?

Before you go to your next job interview, make sure you practice common interview questions.

One question the hiring manager may ask is, "What is your work style?" Your answer could help you get the job!

We explained the different work styles and why the hiring manager may ask this question.

Then, we gave you our top tips to help you give the perfect response.

Our list includes telling the truth, thinking about the company, knowing your strengths, using an example, and rehearsing your answer.

Finally, we gave you some sample good and bad answers.

Do you want more career advice? You can visit our Getting Hired Resource Center. Ready to start your job search? Check out our job search tool.



Jose Pena
Bullet point

I remember I had a job interview in the summer for a computer position. I got asked this question on my second interview. Sadly, by the time I got asked the question I was really nervous.

It didn't help that I got a flat tire on the way to the interview. Yet, it takes time and practice to develop strategies to do well in an interview.

Ford Simpson
Bullet point
Jack of all trades,.master of none

I have never been asked that question. Did they make up their minds without asking? I am like silly putty,strong emphasis on silly, I work in all styles,but I have tried to avoid being labeled one way or the other.Happy Thanksgiving,Ford