You can bet at some point during your job interview your hiring manager is going to ask about your work ethic. It’s best to have a strong answer ready for that question. However, some hiring managers choose to weed out employees they feel might be less productive by evaluating how they present themselves in the interview. In other words, they may not come right out and ask the question. 

How to Answer the Straightforward Question, “Describe Your Work Ethic” 

The trick is to avoid reciting a string of adjectives you believe the hiring manager is looking for. Instead, they want specific descriptions and to get a sense of what kind of a worker you are. To achieve this, it’s important to think through your answer and figure out a way of demonstrating the traits you have.  Questions designed to analyze your work ethic include: 

  • Describe a time when you went above and beyond expectations at work. 
  • When things are slow, what do you do? 
  • What does a work ethic mean to you? 
  • Give an example of when you went above and beyond expectations, or when you completed a project that was more difficult than you anticipated. 

If you believe you’re dependable, enthusiastic, committed and positive you may form an answer in which you use those adjectives by telling a story. You might start with a description of who you are, such as I’m an enthusiastic and independent worker. I’m dedicated to completing the tasks assigned to me and on time. For instance, . . . now give an example. The best answers are concise, specific and showcase the qualities you want your hiring manager to remember about you. Do not: 

  • Answer dishonestly 
  • Use clichés, such as you’re a hard worker or self-motivated  
  • Use a list of general characteristics without offering some kind of support 

Use Examples and Stories to Prove Your Work-Related Attributes 

Most people remember information when it’s told to them in story form, and the same is true for your hiring manager. You’ll stand out from other candidates when your hiring manager remembers the stories and examples that you gave them. This is more than a convincing way to drive the point home, it taps into memory pathways and may give you the edge. Think of a time you were able to get through adversity using hard work, such as raising a child while attending college, volunteering on the weekends and evenings or a specific project at work that took extra time and energy you were willing to give. 

People who have a strong work ethic are also usually reliable, passionate and respectful. The way in which you conduct yourself up to and during the interview can showcase these qualities. During communication with the company, ensure your tone is professional and respectful, only using a relaxed demeanor after the hiring manager sets the tone. 

Showcase the Work Habits Your Hiring Managers Looking For 

As you’re considering the examples you’ll bring with you to the interview, remember a hiring manager is looking for professional employees who are efficient in the way they get things done, demonstrate strong organizational skills, are timely and consistently meet deadlines, are able to collaborate and have a team focused approach and can focus on specific tasks and responsibilities to achieve their goals. You should not attempt to highlight each of these skills in one example, but rather have several examples ready to demonstrate your work ethic. 

Are You Ready to Show Off Your Skills? 

We are ready to help! At Stellar Staffing Solutions, we love helping to bring together a team of individuals who can drive the success of businesses forward. When companies succeed, so does the community. Let us help you showcase your skillset and land your next job. Contact our professional recruiters today! 

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