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How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

When you are interviewing for a job, the hiring manager may ask you questions about your attitude in a workplace setting.

While you may not be able to fully anticipate every interview question, one question you might be asked is a variation of "How would you describe your work ethic?" The way you answer this question can show interviewers what kind of employee they can expect you to be.

In this article, we explain why employers ask about work ethic, discuss how to answer questions about work ethic and provide example answers for "Describe your work ethic."

Why employers ask about work ethic

Interviewers try to predict what kind of employee you would be if they hire you and how your work could help the company reach its organizational goals. Asking about your work ethic is one way they might try to determine to what degree you are likely to exceed the minimum requirements of a job.

Questions about work ethic can also help a hiring manager determine your level of confidence in the position you are applying for. This question can be a good opportunity to showcase your positive outlook toward work and willingness to contribute to the company's objectives.

How to answer questions about your work ethic

Here are some steps you can take to prepare a strong answer to questions about your personal work ethic:

1. Brainstorm

Since many employers ask questions about work ethic, preparing some possible language before your interview can make it easier to answer efficiently and effectively when the time comes to respond. Here are some example words you might use when asked to describe your work ethic:

2. Share a situation

Think of a specific time when you relied on your strong work ethic to accomplish a task at work. For example, you might remember a time when you volunteered to work overtime to meet an ambitious production quota. You might also think of a time when you noticed a problem at work and independently implemented a solution. Sharing a specific situation that called for a dedicated work ethic can show your interviewer that you are aware of the importance of work ethic in the workplace.

3. Explain your task

After you have shared a specific situation with the hiring manager, you can speak more specifically about your role of your work ethic in those circumstances. You can share your specific job duties when you worked volunteer overtime, for example, and explain how you completed many types of tasks during that time.

If you shared a story about independently solving a problem you noticed at work, mention whether or not implementing that solution was part of your regular duties or if you exceeded expectations. Sharing your specific task can give your interviewer helpful context for your description of your work ethic.

4. Describe the action

Talk about the actions you took in the situation you shared, and explain how those actions are an example of your work ethic. For example, if you shared a story volunteering to work overtime, you might add more details about why you decided to volunteer, the amount of overtime you worked and the tasks you completed during that time. If you shared an anecdote about a problem you noticed and then solved without prompting, you might explain the steps you took to implement your solution and how those steps show your initiative in your career.

Describing your actions connects your work ethic to a specific situation, which shows your interviewer how you can directly benefit their company.

5. Talk about the results

Telling your interviewer about the results of your actions can lead to details about your work ethic. The interviewer might be impressed by not only your awareness of the importance of work ethic but also your confidence in the positive outcome of your dedicated work.

In the instance of volunteer overtime, for example, you might cite the specific production goal you met by working extra hours. If you are discussing a specific problem that you took initiative in solving, you could explain how your solution saved the company money or kept a colleague safer on the job.

Example answers for "How would you describe your work ethic?"

How you present your work ethic can be a vital component to a potential employer's decision-making process. Here are some examples to help you prepare for the question "How would you describe your work ethic?"

Example One: "I describe my work ethic as dedicated and determined. For example, I was working as a server on a restaurant crew of 12 at a local cafe, and three of our servers called in sick one day. Rather than working my standard shift and leaving my colleagues to complete more work than they normally would have to, I chose to work a double shift and help close the restaurant.

Although I was technically a server, that night I worked as a server, a hostess and a busser. I even jumped in on the line to cook. As a result, we received no customer complaints and our sales were higher than they had been all season. This experience is characteristic of my dedication, drive and willingness to exceed expectations by stepping in to work extra when it is helpful."

Example Two: " My work ethic is best described as goal-oriented and motivated. For example, when I started my last job as a childcare provider, I had only the basic level of certifications needed for the job. I noticed that a local organization was offering certification classes to achieve the next level in my childcare career, and although it wasn't required, I signed up for the classes I needed to advance my career.

My supervisor noticed that I started implementing new ideas and strategies with the children in the classroom and invited me to serve as a lead instructor. Most importantly, the children and families appreciated my new expertise. Taking additional optional classes shows that I am an employee who is motivated to exceed my goals."

Example Three: "Trustworthy and committed are words that come to mind when asked to describe my work ethic. For example, in my last job at a busy office, we experienced a high volume of accounts payable to process at the end of every month. I worked in payroll, but every month I chose to support the accounts payable department by processing invoices in addition to my regular payroll tasks.

Soon, the accounts payable department came to count on my assistance during our month-end closing process. They even dubbed me an honorary AP clerk! As a result of my trusted commitment to teamwork, our accounts were never late in all the months I worked for the company."

When hiring a new team member, you should look for someone with a strong work ethic. In this article, we share 15 interview questions about work ethic you can ask and quality sample answers to look for from promising candidates.

What is work ethic?

Work ethic is a combination of several moral principles based on the idea that hard work is fundamentally valuable and worth pursuing. If someone has a strong work ethic, they likely possess other traits such as dependability, respectfulness, productivity and collaboration, among others.

Interview questions with sample answers

Here are some interview questions about work ethic to ask candidates:

1. What does having a good work ethic mean to you?

Essentially, those with a good work ethic are committed to the company's goals and work hard to attain them. If a candidate explains that having a good work ethic means being able to focus on their tasks and put in extra effort when necessary, this could be a good indicator that they are the right fit. Look for an answer where the candidate emphasizes that they have these qualities.

Example: "As someone who values having a good work ethic, I would say it means being a goal-oriented person. By focusing on my personal goals and those of my team, I find that I can stay focused and motivated. Another part of having a good work ethic is realizing how my actions affect others. I find that when I work extra hard, my entire team benefits. By setting a good example for others, we can all improve our own work ethic."

2. Can you share a time you put in extra effort at work?

This question helps you learn if a candidate has experience exerting extra effort in the workplace. Their response can tell you if they truly know the meaning of hard work. A quality candidate will be able to easily provide an example of a time they worked extra hard on a project. Their answer will show that their effort was worth it in the end.

Example: "When I was a senior copywriter, my team was experiencing a huge influx of client work. Our creative director signed on two clients at the last minute, meaning that our entire team would need to put in overtime to meet these clients' needs. I decided that by working extra hard for this short period, I could help our team meet these important deadlines. I saw this almost as a mission to impress the client and show them that our team was capable of anything.

After working 10-hour days for two weeks, we finally got caught up on our work. My creative director treated us all to a free lunch and let us go home early that next Friday. She pulled me aside and said we couldn't have done it all without my extra effort. This reinforced the importance of hard work and putting in extra effort when necessary."

3. Would you consider yourself to have a strong work ethic?

Based on the candidate’s answer to this question, you can tell if this person is capable of putting in extra effort at work. Ideally, a candidate will say they have a strong work ethic and be able to share why they feel this way. Look for an answer where a candidate shares an example of why they have a strong work ethic.

Example: "I definitely would say I have a strong work ethic. I consider myself a proactive person, meaning that I am always brainstorming what I can do to be helpful and make life easier for everyone else. If you talked to my previous coworkers, they would say I was always willing to volunteer to take on additional tasks. For example, one time I volunteered to create a presentation for an important client meeting. Everyone was so appreciative of this since they found presentations challenging. Rather than viewing this as extra work, I saw this as a great learning opportunity."

4. How do you stay motivated?

A major part of having a strong work ethic is finding ways to stay motivated. This interview question is important for determining how candidates stay focused and productive. Quality candidates may say that they have strategies to internally motivate themselves. You want to find someone who responds well to motivation from their managers while also finding ways to independently stay motivated.

Example: "While things like positive feedback and praise from my managers are super helpful ways to keep me motivated, I have also found some strategies to motivate myself. I find that by practicing healthy habits, I can stay more focused. For instance, I start each morning with a session of yoga and a cup of green tea. I feel like this little routine helps me wake up and feel ready to take on my day.

Another way I stay motivated is by creating goals for myself. I use the SMART method

, meaning my goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. This system keeps me on track and reminds me why I need to work hard every day."

5. Are you willing to work overtime?

Asking if a candidate is willing to work overtime can help you decide if a candidate can work extra hours if your company needs them to. Adding this to your job description can save time and \ effort when looking for candidates. When answering this question, your candidates should be aware of this job requirement. If not, they may not be your top choice for who you're going to hire.

Example: "When going into health care, I knew overtime was common. I am more than willing to work extra hours when the hospital needs me. I am committed to providing excellent care to patients and if that means working extra hours, then that sounds good to me."

Additional questions to consider asking

Five questions may not be enough to give you a clear picture of the candidate’s work ethic. Here are some other questions to consider asking:

Describe a time when you were proud of how hard you worked on a project.

Give two examples of what you did in previous jobs that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.

When have you worked the hardest? What motivated you to do so?

How do you prioritize your tasks? What time management strategies do you use?

Describe a time that you felt overwhelmed with your workload. How did you handle it?

Describe a time you did something because it needed to be done even though it wasn’t your responsibility.

Describe a time when you weren’t satisfied with your job. What could you have done to make it better?

Describe a time you had to work with a difficult manager or important client.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

When an interviewer asks you to describe your work ethic, they’re looking for a couple of specific things.

…And giving the wrong answer to this question could cast doubts on whether you’re the person they want to hire.

So in this article, we’ll look at how to answer this question in a job interview… with sample answers, mistakes to avoid, and more.

Why Employers Ask You to Describe Your Work Ethic

Employers want to hire someone who is motivated, hard-working, and able to stay focused on the job.

They’re paying you and they want to make sure they’re getting good value for that investment.

So while this isn’t a trick question, the employer does want to make sure that you sound hard-working, resilient, and positive/upbeat about your work when they ask questions about work ethic.

They also want to make sure you’ve thought about this topic in general. Is work ethic something that’s important to you? (Hint: You want to show them that it is!)

So now that you know why they ask this question, let’s look at how you should answer to impress them.

How to Describe Your Work Ethic in an Interview

The best way to answer this interview question is to sound like you’re consistent, reliable, and hard-working. You never want to sound like you lack motivation. And you don’t want to sound like you’re unpredictable, either.

Employers prefer someone who is predictable and steady over someone who does amazing work one day but then struggles the next day.

A hiring manager prefers that first type of person because it’s easier to predict the results of their work and easier to rely on them to get important tasks done. That’s what every hiring manager wants.

So along with a strong work ethic, you need to show consistency.

Answers to “How Would You Describe Your Work Ethic?”

Next, let’s look at a few example answers that follow everything we talked about above.

Here are two word-for-word answers that would impress an interviewer when they ask, “how would you describe your work ethic?”:

Example Answer #1:

I would describe my work ethic as reliable and consistent. I enjoy my work and I find it easy to stay motivated and productive. I’ve also noticed that I feel better at the end of the day when I’ve had a great, productive day. So I find it rewarding, too. I guess I’m fortunate, but I’ve never struggled with motivation or work ethic, and I consider it to be one of my strengths.

Example Answer #2:

I’m a hard worker. I think I picked up the habit from my father, who always encouraged consistent work and stressed the importance of doing things the right way and not taking shortcuts. So, work ethic is something that’s important to me and something I take pride in. I try to show up each day with the same effort and mindset so that I can deliver consistent results for my team and be someone they can count on.

You can see from the sample answers above that there isn’t one “right” response. You can share a personal story about how you developed your work ethic (like response #2 above) or just dive into a more straight-forward explanation like in example #1.

As long as you show them that you work hard and come into work each day with a consistent effort and positive outlook, you’ll impress the interviewer.

List of Words/Adjectives that Describe Work Ethic

Use the following adjectives when answering, “What is your work ethic?” These words will help you sound professional and hard-working.

• Persistent
• Reliable
• Level-headed
• Determined
• Fastidious
• Steady
• Accountable
• Responsible
• Resourceful
• Committed
• Energetic
• Enthusiastic
• Self-motivated
• Dependable
• Dedicated
• Positive
• Honest

Make sure to select options that are true and really fit your personality when answering, though. That way, you will sound genuine!

Mistakes to Avoid

When answering interview questions about your work ethic and work habits, avoid the following mistakes:

First, don’t brush this question off or act like it’s not an important topic. While it doesn’t relate to your job-specific skills (like marketing, customer service, graphic design, data analysis, etc.) it can be just as important to an employer! So take this question seriously.

Next, avoid sounding like you dislike work or do it only to earn a paycheck. It’s much better to show them that you take pride in doing good work, or that you find it rewarding to contribute to the team’s efforts. Or at the very least, show that you recognize that coming into work with high energy and effort each day will help you further your career, so you’re motivated and consistent with your work ethic because of this.

And finally, show that you’ve thought about this question in advance by responding clearly, and don’t act like you’re caught off-guard or unsure what to say. Use the steps and examples above to prepare a good, direct answer that you can go to! This will show the employer that you’ve thought about this topic in the past and take pride in your work ethic.

Conclusion

“Describe your work ethic,” isn’t a trick question, but it does require preparation if you want to impress the interviewer.

When employers ask about this topic, they want to see that work ethic is important to you and that you approach your work in a reliable, professional way.

If you follow the tips and examples above, you’ll show them that you bring a consistent, positive attitude and great work ethic each day, which will help you get more job offers in any industry.

Related articles and questions:

Hold Up! Before you go on an interview.

Get our free PDF with the top 30 interview questions and answers. Join 10,000+ job seekers in our email newsletter and we’ll send you the 30 must-know questions, plus our best insider tips for turning interviews into job offers.

This one of those age-old interview questions that inspire a generic, overused response (do I even need to say it?).

This article will be breaking down the underlying question, and how to compose an answer that hits all the right notes.

Variations Of This Question

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different variations of this question so you don’t get caught off guard.

The most common ones are:

  • What kind of work ethic do you have?
  • Can you describe your work ethic in three words?
  • Are you a hard worker?
  • When have you worked the hardest?
  • What was the hardest job you’ve had?
  • What’s an achievement of yours that required significant effort?

What The Interviewer Really Wants to Know

The interviewer is trying to get to the heart of who you are as an individual and the type of work output that can be expected from you.

Their ideal worker is a hard worker, one who does the best job they can, 100% of the time. Of course, not all people are created equal and part of their job is to weed out the undesirables.

It’s not uncommon for companies with a subpar hiring process to end up with a revolving door of workers. By directly asking about your work ethic, they’re cutting to the chase in an effort to better understand if you’re the type of person they should invest their time and resources on.

Interviewers may use a variation of this question to know more about your work history and behavioral patterns.

Anyone can say they have a strong work ethic, but if they ask you for examples in your past jobs, this will give them all they need to know in regards to taking a chance on you.

How to Answer: “How Would You Describe Your Work Ethic?”

A great, thorough answer to this question has 2 main parts.

Let’s explore them.

1. Pick An Accurate Adjective

When asked this question, you’ll have to respond with a descriptive word that conveys to the interviewer how you view your work ethic.

Keeping this adjective positive is key. You want to come across as someone that knows what traits make a strong work ethic.

If you think back to a time when you performed a task that took a lot of effort, these adjectives should pop into your head pretty easily.

If you’re having trouble, here are a few to get you started:

  • Committed
  • Enthusiastic
  • Energetic
  • Determined
  • Honest
  • Diligent
  • Positive
  • Dependable / Reliable
  • Accountable
  • Productive
  • Self-Motivated

2. Justify It With An Example

Describing your work ethic in a word or two is all well and good.

At some point, though, you’ll need to follow it up with a real-life example so it doesn’t sound like you’re just pulling descriptions out of thin air.

By providing the interviewer with an example of how you executed a task through the use of your work ethic, it solidifies your word.

This helps them form a mental picture in their head of how you can help the company.

Putting It All Together (Example Answers)

The theory behind all this is sound, but knowing how to put it all together into a coherent answer isn’t always as straightforward.

Below are some real examples of how you might approach this interview question.

Example #1: Positive and Determined

“I’d describe my work ethic as positive and determined.

In my experience, all jobs have their pros and cons, but having a positive attitude plays a big role in how you see things and go about your day.

Allowing yourself to get bogged down in negativity is easy. But by shifting my perspective, it helps me to do my job more effectively.

When I’ve been given a task in previous customer service roles, I’ve tried to do it to the best of my ability. If I don’t have this ability from the outset, I’m determined to learn how I can improve and finish the task the proper way.”

Example #2: High Energy

“I would say that my work ethic relies on the abundant energy that I bring to the office every day.

Over the years I’ve cultivated this trait as it’s helped me to not only fire up my sales team but also myself.

While most people will guzzle down coffee like it’s going out of style, making this mental shift has allowed me to be a high-level salesman without the caffeine crash, closing deals and hitting my targets every month for the past 3 years.

Being a high-energy and enthusiastic individual is infectious and rubs off on those around me. When clients see how I’m more than happy to serve their needs, it puts them in a high-energy state as well.

This brings us to the same level where trust can be established, leading to a beneficial working relationship for both parties.”

Example #3: Diligent

“I believe my ex-employers would sum up my work ethic in a single word: diligent.

Growing up, I was taught that a job should be done properly rather than cutting corners to just get it done. This instilled a trait of diligence in me that I take to work every day.

As an accountant, I log a lot of hours dealing with numbers. That’s a lot of figures to keep track of, so it’s important for me to be diligent when it comes to tax season so no mistakes are made and my clients (as well as the government) are happy.”

How NOT to Answer

We’ve gone over the right things to do, but it’s worth mentioning some of the mistakes people often make so you can avoid them.

Don’t Just Blurt A List Of Adjectives

If you’re asked to describe your work ethic, having a fully scripted, canned response will make you come across as robotic.

On the flipside, even if you did prepare for this question, don’t make the mistake of firing off a master list of descriptive words.

Your work ethic is a multifaceted array of traits, but you should identify the strongest one (or two) and go with it.

Describing your work ethic as productive can easily be broken down to include the traits that being productive requires. But listen to how it sounds when compared to using only a single descriptive trait.

  • A single trait: “I would describe my work ethic as productive, as I enjoy the personal satisfaction that comes from putting in the work and finishing tasks I’m assigned.”
  • Too many traits: “I would describe my work ethic as productive, but also diligent, determined, dependable, and have a positive attitude that helps me be a high achiever in any job.”

The first is direct and to the point. The second comes off as a bit braggadocious, and the interviewer doesn’t need you to rattle off 5 traits to build a picture in their head of your work ethic.

Don’t Make It About Money

Obviously, a large percentage of the population works to pay the bills, and the company you’re interviewing for knows this.

But your quest for money isn’t something you want to convey when answering this question.

The best answer is to focus on a quality that the company can harness by hiring you, resulting in them reaching their goals.

An answer that shows you to be a highly capable individual will make a lasting impression. They’re on the lookout for someone that can help them provide their service, rather than a worker who is only looking to pad their bank account.

How is your work ethic?” or “Do you have a good work ethic?” or “Describe your work ethic?” are the most important HR questions asked in many companies. It is one of the most tricky behavioral questions that can be asked in your interview. On this page, you can find the complete guide to answering this question.

Page Highlights :

  • Why is “Do you have a good work ethic” asked?
  • How to answer that question?
  • Differences between Good Work Ethics and Poor Work Ethics
  • Sample Answers.

Why is “Do you have a good work ethic” asked?

HR Questions are mostly asked to know about the candidate. By asking “Do you have a good work ethic?”, The interviewer will get to know the candidate more. They want to hire candidates who are hard-working, motivated, responsible, accountable, self-disciplined, and able to stay focused on the work. You have to highlight these keywords while explaining your answer.

How to answer this question?

The best way to answer this question is to sound like you’re hard-working, reliable, consistent. You shouldn’t mention in a negative way like “I am a lazy person”, “I am not a workaholic” etc., So, along with work ethic, you should also show consistency by providing some real-time examples that resemble you are a workaholic.

Differences between Good Work Ethics and Poor Work Ethics

Good Work Ethic

  1. Always loves to do work.
  2. Wants to complete work in time. .
  3. Keeps personal problems out of the workplace.
  4. Loves to do work overtime.

Bad Work Ethic

  1. Always loves to escape from work.
  2. Wants to extend the deadlines for no reason.
  3. Gets irritated easily.
  4. Doesn’t love to do work in time.

Points to be remembered

  • Be Specific : Explain with examples that demonstrate your work ethic.
  • Be Concise : Share your examples clearly without any rambling.
  • Showcase your qualities : Before going to the interview, just go back to JD(Job Description) and note the qualities that are needed. Highlight the qualities in your examples.

Sample Answers

Answer 1:

I’m an enthusiastic, and dedicated individual who always wants to complete my work in time. For example, every day I make a timetable to do my tasks. Until and unless my tasks for the day get complete, I won’t go to bed.

I’m an enthusiastic, and dedicated individual who always wants to complete my work in time. For example, every day I make a timetable to do my tasks. Until and unless my tasks for the day get complete, I won’t go to bed.

Answer 2:

I’m dedicated to working with my team to discover and implement new methods for the completion of tasks in the office. We as a team, work together and find an efficient solution to the problems. During our project work, we have created an API for customers’ understanding which was not a part of our work. But we put our own time into creating that API and with all our hard work the project gets succeeded and got the best project of the year award.

I’m dedicated to working with my team to discover and implement new methods for the completion of tasks in the office. We as a team, work together and find an efficient solution to the problems. During our project work, we have created an API for customers’ understanding which was not a part of our work. But we put our own time into creating that API and with all our hard work the project gets succeeded and got the best project of the year award.

Answer 3:

I would like to describe my work ethic as reliable and consistent. I enjoy my work and find it easier to stay productive and motivated. I always stay happy when my daily tasks get completed. This happiness makes me, continue my work for the next day too. Through this, I can be able to produce my work in a productive way.

I would like to describe my work ethic as reliable and consistent. I enjoy my work and find it easier to stay productive and motivated. I always stay happy when my daily tasks get completed. This happiness makes me, continue my work for the next day too. Through this, I can be able to produce my work in a productive way.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Describe Your Work Ethic – Interview Answers

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

When an interviewer asks you to describe your work ethic, they’re looking for a couple of specific things.

…And giving the wrong answer to this question could cast doubts on whether you’re the person they want to hire.

So in this article, we’ll look at how to answer this question in a job interview… with sample answers, mistakes to avoid, and more.

Why Employers Ask You to Describe Your Work Ethic

Employers want to hire someone who is motivated, hard-working, and able to stay focused on the job.

They’re paying you and they want to make sure they’re getting good value for that investment.

So while this isn’t a trick question, the employer does want to make sure that you sound hard-working, resilient, and positive/upbeat about your work when they ask questions about work ethic.

They also want to make sure you’ve thought about this topic in general. Is work ethic something that’s important to you? (Hint: You want to show them that it is!)

So now that you know why they ask this question, let’s look at how you should answer to impress them.

How to Describe Your Work Ethic in an Interview

The best way to answer this interview question is to sound like you’re consistent, reliable, and hard-working. You never want to sound like you lack motivation. And you don’t want to sound like you’re unpredictable, either.

Employers prefer someone who is predictable and steady over someone who does amazing work one day but then struggles the next day.

A hiring manager prefers that first type of person because it’s easier to predict the results of their work and easier to rely on them to get important tasks done. That’s what every hiring manager wants.

So along with a strong work ethic, you need to show consistency.

Answers to “How Would You Describe Your Work Ethic?”

Next, let’s look at a few example answers that follow everything we talked about above.

Here are two word-for-word answers that would impress an interviewer when they ask, “how would you describe your work ethic?”:

Example Answer #1:

I would describe my work ethic as reliable and consistent. I enjoy my work and I find it easy to stay motivated and productive. I’ve also noticed that I feel better at the end of the day when I’ve had a great, productive day. So I find it rewarding, too. I guess I’m fortunate, but I’ve never struggled with motivation or work ethic, and I consider it to be one of my strengths.

Example Answer #2:

I’m a hard worker. I think I picked up the habit from my father, who always encouraged consistent work and stressed the importance of doing things the right way and not taking shortcuts. So, work ethic is something that’s important to me and something I take pride in. I try to show up each day with the same effort and mindset so that I can deliver consistent results for my team and be someone they can count on.

You can see from the sample answers above that there isn’t one “right” response. You can share a personal story about how you developed your work ethic (like response #2 above) or just dive into a more straight-forward explanation like in example #1.

As long as you show them that you work hard and come into work each day with a consistent effort and positive outlook, you’ll impress the interviewer.

Mistakes to Avoid

When answering interview questions about your work ethic and work habits, avoid the following mistakes:

First, don’t brush this question off or act like it’s not an important topic. While it doesn’t relate to your job-specific skills (like marketing, customer service, graphic design, data analysis, etc.) it can be just as important to an employer! So take this question seriously.

Next, avoid sounding like you dislike work or do it only to earn a paycheck. It’s much better to show them that you take pride in doing good work, or that you find it rewarding to contribute to the team’s efforts. Or at the very least, show that you recognize that coming into work with high energy and effort each day will help you further your career, so you’re motivated and consistent with your work ethic because of this.

And finally, show that you’ve thought about this question in advance by responding clearly, and don’t act like you’re caught off-guard or unsure what to say. Use the steps and examples above to prepare a good, direct answer that you can go to! This will show the employer that you’ve thought about this topic in the past and take pride in your work ethic.

Conclusion

“Describe your work ethic,” isn’t a trick question, but it does require preparation if you want to impress the interviewer.

When employers ask about this topic, they want to see that work ethic is important to you and that you approach your work in a reliable, professional way.

If you follow the tips and examples above, you’ll show them that you bring a consistent, positive attitude and great work ethic each day, which will help you get more job offers in any industry.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

It is because candidates with extensive relevant experience and the right skills won’t be an asset for a company unless they exhibit a strong work ethic. In other words, qualification and skills aren’t enough to guarantee that a candidate will be successful in a job. Besides great qualifications, work experience and skills, a top candidate will also exhibit a will to work hard and dedicated.

What is the best way to evaluate work ethic in candidates?
You can’t really assess a candidate’s work ethic by resume alone. When you’re trying to recognize a strong work ethic, it is important to look beyond your candidates’ qualification and skills. In order to find if your candidate is a hard-working, reliable, dedicated, punctual and responsible employee, you should use behavioral interview questions.

Here are top 5 job interview questions designed specifically to evaluate candidate’s work ethic:

  • Can you describe a time when you went the extra mile at work?
  • When things are slow at work or you’ve finished your tasks, what do you do?
  • How do you define work ethic? What does it mean to you?
  • When have you worked the hardest? Describe the situation and explain your motivation.
  • Give an example of when you completed a difficult task that made you work harder than normal.

By asking these job interview questions, you can easily uncover candidates with a strong work ethic. The best candidates will be able to provide detailed, real-life examples of their previously demonstrated inclination to work hard and go the extra mile.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

You may not hear: “Describe your work ethic” in every job interview, but it comes up often enough that you should prepare a strong response. While the hiring manager does want to gauge whether you have a hard-working attitude, this question also opens the door to expand on your other positive work attributes.

Work Ethic Attributes

If you want to demonstrate a good work ethic, you’ll need to give examples. Bring up related qualities like self-motivation and passion for the work, and you’re sure to get the message across. You might say, “I am highly motivated and work hard when I believe in what I am doing. I have shown strong performance in a similar position because I have a passion for the work.”

Demonstrate Strength

The entire purpose of the interview is for the manager to decide if you’re the best fit for the job. Many interview questions, including this one, center on the broader question of “What are your strengths?” Before the interview, list your strengths and compare them to the job. Identify the three or four best matches. Throughout the interview, including your response to a “work ethic” question, you should carry on the theme by emphasizing those strengths.

Give Examples

Beyond providing the summary response that describes your work ethic, give examples. This point is true in essentially any question that gets to your qualities or strengths. Whether asked or not, you should offer an example to prove your point. You might say, “I am an extremely dedicated and hard-working professional, though I like to have fun and enjoy a positive work culture as well. In my last job evaluation, my supervisor noted that I have a strong mix of professionalism and personality.”

Take the Inside View

Always keep in mind the key concerns of the employer. Your work ethic often gets to quality and efficiency, from a management or business perspective. In your answer, address one or both concerns. In a retail store, sales and service performance are keys. For a retail sales associate job, you might say, “I have a very strong work ethic that I have demonstrated as the top seller in my current store. I also have consistently high marks on customer satisfaction surveys.” This response touches on efficiency and quality and provides tangible support.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

As one of Miami’s top staffing agencies, we know there are lots of articles out there about hiring individuals who are “top performers,” or “star employees.” While it’s always great to have a few of these on staff, not every person you hire is going to be a stand out. That said, you want every single person you do hire to be a hard worker, regardless of the position or department they’re in.

So when you’re interviewing, what kinds of questions should you ask to evaluate work ethic – regardless of if you’re hiring for a C-level position or the mail-room clerk?

Here’s a look at 8 possibilities:

  1. What’s your definition of work ethic?
  2. How would you describe your work ethic?
  3. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond in a job.
  4. Tell me about a time when you had to work as a member of a team to complete a task.
  5. What would your past boss or supervisor say about your work ethic?
  6. What would your past co-workers say about your work ethic?
  7. What excites you about this position or this company?
  8. Why do you think you will be successful in this position?

And if you’d like some additional assistance with the hiring process – beyond ideas for interview questions – let us know. As one of Miami’s top staffing agencies, we’ve helped thousands of clients find qualified, reliable, and hard working talent on a short-term, seasonal, and full-time basis. Contact us today to learn more.

A resume will not be able to accurately identify whether a candidate has a strong work ethic, so how do you capture whether a particular person does or does not have this important trait to positively impact your company?

The key is understanding how to ask questions in a behavioral interview that measure a candidate' work ethic. This will make the difference between hiring the wrong candidate who is costly to the company and hiring the best candidate who will generate a strong return on investment.

The Importance of Asking These Questions During a Behavioral Interview

Assessing work ethic in each candidate helps you find the best fit for a particular role or team. This is important because a candidate with poor work ethic could negatively impact your company' productivity, disengage other employees, and create inefficiencies for the rest of the team.

The ramifications of an employee with poor work ethic goes beyond creating more work for a manager trying to motivate an employee to work harder. It also breaks down overall trust and the structure of the team.

The best way to avoid this when hiring a new employee is understanding how to conduct a behavioral interview and knowing which questions to ask that tie specifically to work ethic.

The following list includes examples of which questions to ask during a behavioral interview to accurately assess work ethic.

1. Give two examples of what you did in previous jobs that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.

The traditional interview approach with this question is to ask a candidate whether they think they are a hard worker. In an interview setting, the candidate would be able to draw up the best version of themselves to sound impressive.

However, the behavioral interview approach identifies specific situations that capture the candidate' actual behavior and the result of that behavior.

2. Describe a situation where you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

Asking this question focuses on a specific situation, achieving measurable information related to the candidate' work ethic.

Conversely, the traditional approach to this question results in a hypothetical situation about whether the candidate would go above the call of duty. That line of questioning yields no measurable information to determine whether the candidate has a strong work ethic.

3. Tell us about a time when you worked without close supervision and how things turned out.

This behavioral interview question unlocks the candidate' actual ability to work without close supervision by examining their behavior in a previous and similar work setting. It removes the candidate' ability to present an ideal picture of working without close supervision.

The candidate' goal is to sound like a very reliable worker who can complete tasks on his or her own, respects authority to complete tasks assigned by a superior, and delivers results for the company without needing to be supervised.

You need to know whether this will actually happen, though. You unlock that answer through this behavioral interview question focusing on actual events.

4. When you have a lot of work to do, how do you get it all done? Give an example.

If asked the wrong way, this question could give you the wrong impression of a candidate. The traditional approach based on subjective opinions or hypothetical situations gives the candidate room to present a favorable, ideal picture of their work habits. But, it does not reveal actual behavior.

By asking this behavioral interview question, you can unlock what the candidate did when asked to complete a big workload in a previous work setting and what the result was under the those circumstances.

There is a significant difference between if the candidate would be able to handle a significant workload in your company and knowing whether the candidate will be able to complete their tasks based on their past behavior as an indicator of outcomes in your company.

Example of Assessing Work Ethic and Achieving ROI

ZERORISK HR has researched companies that successfully use behavioral interview techniques to replace employees who exhibit poor work ethic.

One particular company was looking to hire a new graphic artist after the previous employee did not complete projects on time, was not dependable, and had poor communication.

When hiring the replacement, the company used behavioral interview questions that focused heavily on work ethic. This process included asking questions related to specific work ethic situations in their employment history, what the task was in the situation, what action the candidate took, and the result of their action.

The company also interviewed each candidate' references to further evaluate their work ethic and confirm what each candidate said during their interview.

The result of gathering this hard evidence was a clear picture that one particular candidate matched the profile of a graphic designer with strong work ethic. They were able to confirm that the candidate met deadlines, was committed to completing tasks in various circumstances, and kept the team on track.

The company then hired this individual and achieved a return on investment in the role. This would not have been possible if the company relied on subjective opinions or hypothetical answers during the interview process.

Asking behavioral interview questions allows you to examine actual situations and what action the candidate took to identify how they will perform in a similar role in your company.

To learn more about how to train your hiring managers to conduct a behavioral interview and what questions to ask candidates, consider the Behavioral Interview Training course offered by ZERORISK HR. This two-hour training course will ensure that your team has the proper tools to assess work ethic in candidates when making important hiring decisions.

When you walk into an interview, you will be answering many questions about yourself and your qualifications for the open position. But, it is important that you also ask questions. Asking follow-up questions will help you understand what the role entails and demonstrate your interest in learning more about the company.

Preparing your questions ahead of time will ensure they stay top of mind during your conversation. Keep reading for a few examples of questions to ask and why you should ask them.

What do the day-to-day responsibilities look like within this position?

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

It is important to understand what will be expected of you so that you can work hard to meet the requirements. When seeking a job, it is also imperative that you have an interest in the position. The more you care about the company and your work, the more you will commit to doing a great job at it.

What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees?

Learning about company culture can teach you a lot about what is

important to the company and the relationships between employees.

What is your favorite part of working for this company?

As the interviewer talks about their work, are they speaking with enthusiasm easily? It is a good sign if their passion flows naturally.

What does success look like in this position and how do you measure it?

Be sure to clarify how the company measures success. Find out how and how often it is measured.

Are there opportunities for Professional Development?

This is a great question to ask for a couple of reasons –

  1. Asking for Professional Development shows you seek to further your career goals and constantly improve as a professional.
  2. You will want to work for a company that invests in educating employees. Stagnation in your career is not beneficial.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question my qualifications for this position?

Asking this question shows that you are highly invested in obtaining the position. It will also allow you the opportunity to respond and address any potential concerns that the interviewer may have. Plus, it can also provide you with a better understanding of where you may stand in the interview process!

Employers have begun to recruit and retain lesser employees due to the tough economic conditions. Employers have begun to emphasize on qualities such as multi-tasking abilities and strong work ethics to select and orient an applicant for the job in concern.

Thus, it is absolutely essential to possess good work ethics and demonstrate the same while being interviewed for a job. If you are able to successfully demonstrate strong work ethics; you are sure to obtain the job.

It is important for you to understand what constitutes ideal work ethics before you answer the interview question- “Describe your work ethics?”

What is work ethics? Work ethics is basically the modus operandi of doing a task keeping in mind the harmony and synergy of the coworkers involved. It also constitutes an individual’s demeanor with respect to his team members, co-workers and his sincerity towards the job.

What are your work ethics?

Ideally, a good work ethics demonstrate the following six points:

  1. Positive outlook: A positive outlook is indeed the most important aspect of good work ethics. It enables an employee to overcome the toughest of situations.
  2. Respect to co-workers: An individual with good work ethics would essentially show respect to his co-workers and especially to the decision maker.
  3. Inter-personal relationships: Inter-personal relationships are yet another important aspect of good work ethics. In order to achieve better inter-personal relationships, an individual needs to learn providing genuine feedback and support.
  4. Understanding approach: An individual needs to understand the work related pressures and thus, avoid bouncing off unrealistic deadlines.
  5. Empathy and sensitivity: An individual with strong work ethics will be more sensitive to co-workers’ needs and demands. He would also empathize with them in testing times.
  6. Honest and sincere: An individual needs to be honest and sincere to the work deliverables, his team and the employer.

Let us understand with the help of an example:

Interviewer: “Please describe for us your work ethics?”

Interviewee: “I am an honest and sincere individual and I do not like to ‘Boss around’ to make my presence felt. I believe, I am more understanding than the rest and thus, able to touch-base team problems at the core level. For instance, due to my constant ‘informal get-togethers’ with the team members, I was able to realize their work pressure and thus, modify the deadline of a project. As a result of which, the team worked enthusiastically and we excelled in overall expectations of the client.”

Further reading – Work Ethics Interview Questions and Answers.

Similar interview questions:
What do you do best?
What is an area where you are considered to be an expert?
Is there an area where you are the go-to person on your team?
What is your greatest attribute?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is attempting to identify your core competencies and whether they align with the needs of the role. The interviewer is also attempting to find out if you have an accurate view of self in relation to what is truly your greatest strength. Most practiced interviewers are aware that candidates often present false strengths in hopes of falsely aligning with the position, so a typical behavioral follow-on question is: “Can you give me an example of how you’ve used that strength in your job?” Or an even tougher question is to time-bound the behavioral question: “Can you give me an example of how you’ve demonstrated that strength in your job in the past week?” So don’t try to fake your way through the answer with a strength you cannot back up with examples. Another experienced interviewer method to get past your practiced answer is to ask: “What is your second greatest strength?” and “What is your third greatest strength?”

The best approach to answering this question:
We all have multiple areas of strength, so the key is to select behavioral traits which align with the needs of the role and have examples to show these traits as strengths. Do your research in advance of the interview to know what the core competencies are for the role. Give an example of applying your strength in your current or most recent role.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
“I have quite a few strengths…(pause to think)…probably my greatest strength is my reliability. Part of my reliability is consistently being there, I have a 100% on time record at work and have had it for the last three years. But it’s more than that. People know that they can trust me to do what I say I will do, they trust me to deliver. For example, my boss had a difficult project that needed to be completed in a short amount of time. He asked me in a meeting with the rest of our team to take on this project. After the meeting, he told me that he gave me the project because he knows that I will deliver on time. He’s right. I just delivered that project yesterday, a day ahead of schedule. And it was right the first time, no corrections needed.”

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
“Good question. I have quite a few strengths, but if I had to focus on one that I would consider to be my greatest strength, it would be my work ethic. I’m driven to succeed and deliver results, which I know is not the case with many others. As an example, on my recent internship, I was given a secondary project which my boss later realized was much too large in scope to be accomplished within the timeframe of my internship. Yet I was really into the project and kept working on it long after the other interns went home each day. I really wanted to deliver this project before my internship was completed. In the end, I was able to have a prototype up and running before my last day. My boss said she was amazed at how much I accomplished and how I completed something that she didn’t think would be possible…”

An example of how you should not answer this question:
“Well, I think I’m pretty much awesome in any and every area you can think of. You name it, I have it covered. In fact, I really don’t have any weaknesses, pretty much everything is my strength. So if you were going to ask that question about what is my greatest weakness, don’t, because I don’t really have any. That really bugs me when people ask that question, because it assumes that I have a weakness of some sort and I don’t. If you look up ‘awesome’ in the dictionary, my name will be there.”

Further review: know the answers to these 100 Common Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

How you talk about your work habits in a job interview is a good indication for hiring managers about your mental outlook toward your job responsibilities. Employers assess your good habits and bad habits in interview questions that ask you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses on the job, for example. Consider your admirable traits and good habits for job interview preparation. Work them into all aspects of your interview responses to create a strong impression about your work ethic and the steps you take to ensure success.

Fast and Efficient

A hiring manager wants to know you’re fast and efficient in the way you approach your daily work tasks, so describe your time management skills when responding to interview questions. “I make a daily “to do” list every day to ensure I’m addressing daily responsibilities as well as making progress on long-term goals and objectives.” Indeed Career Guide suggests sharing measurable accomplishments that demonstrate how you perform on the job. For example, you could describe how much time and money you saved the company at your last job by suggesting a faster method of sorting outbound parcels.

Highly Organized

Demonstrated organizational skills are critical to impressing an interviewer, so describe your self-management techniques when asked about how you stay on top of projects and work responsibilities. “I create color-coded filing systems for myself to help me differentiate between individual projects. I also standardize computerized file names to ensure documents are easy to identify and retrieve.”

Timely Task Completion

Time management skills are highly coveted, according to Rasmussen University. Consistently meeting deadlines is critical, both to your individual performance and for team members who depend on you to complete your work on schedule. State your time-conscious traits in your interview by describing how you monitor your work product to ensure timely work efforts.

You might say, “In my work as a paralegal assistant, there’s no room for missed deadlines. I pride myself on completing documents at least 24 hours before every filing deadline. I build in additional time to account for emergencies and last-minute changes.” Recent college graduates, for example, could describe how they set priorities to meet pressing deadlines in their role as a student leader, club officer or college newspaper editor.

Collaborative and Helpful

Interviewers like to see candidates who are collaborative, dependable and reliable. You don’t need to give a persuasive speech for job interviews but you should be able to speak with conviction. Demonstrate your professionalism in this area with examples of team initiatives and a description of how you view group work efforts. “I always appreciate the opportunity to brainstorm with co-workers. I find drawing on the individual expertise and experience of numerous people strengthens the group as a whole, and helps us develop more innovative concepts.”

Focused and Attentive

Being able to focus on specific tasks and responsibilities is a valuable trait, particularly in positions that call for close attention to detail. When interviewers ask how you approach complex tasks, describe how you hone your focus. “When I’m working on a detailed aspect of a project or need extra sharp focus, I get to work on it first thing in the morning, when I‘m at my best.”

It’s relatively simple to describe your expertise and qualifications in an interview because you can give concrete examples of your work. A very subjective area of your qualifications – work ethic – is likely to be one of the most important factors in the hiring manager’s decision. Therefore, you must characterize your work ethic with the same amount of confidence as you have with your job knowledge, recommends Career Sidekick.

Prepare Some Answers

Employers use work ethic questions, in part, to gauge your confidence, according to jobs website, Indeed.com. If you want to speak confidently about your work ethic (or any other skill or attribute) prepare and rehears your answers. Draft at least two to three examples that demonstrate your work ethic. Compile examples from your entire career – not just the most recent job.

If you are a recent graduate or just entering the job market, explain your personal commitment to school. Personal and professional ethics are transferable from the academic setting to the workplace, so don’t feel that having a job is the only way to explain your work ethic.

Choose the Right Time

You’ll be more effective if you look for the right point in your interview to being the discussion about work ethic. For example, wait until the interviewer approaches the subject of professional traits. Professional traits include being dependable, credible, reliable and trustworthy.

Don’t wait to be asked about your work ethic; if you bring up the topic, it shows that you are as proud of your integrity at work as you are about your ability to actually perform the job tasks.

Discuss Your Career Aspirations

Your ethics should align with the t commitment you have to your profession and your colleagues. Describe how you feel about your former jobs and contributing to your employers’ successes to illustrate work ethic from an internal perspective. The internal perspective of your work ethic is what affects you, your colleagues and your employer.

Talk about dedication to the company’s philosophy and the ability to uphold the business principles that are congruent with your own values. Avoid providing unrealistic examples such as working late every night to finish your job duties – that can actually backfire on you concerning your time management skills. Talk about believable instances where you demonstrated loyalty to your employer or a commitment to finishing a job on deadline.

For example, you could say, “I perform my job duties responsibly and am accustomed to deadlines and competing priorities. In my previous job, I was responsible for assisting lawyers with trial prep. The law firm’s reputation depended on our courtroom success, and I demonstrated commitment to my employer by going the extra step to prepare for our clients’ trials, even if that meant working nights and weekends right before our trial date. My satisfaction comes from knowing that I’ve done my best work in the interest of the firm.”

Talk About External Stakeholder Relationships

Your ethics extend to your interactions with suppliers, vendors, customers and other external stakeholders. Describe your work ethic and how it affects the external relationships you have as a representative of the company. This includes the manner in which you interact with the firm’s clients, customers and even industry competitors.

It also affects the image you project outside the workplace. If you’re interviewing with a company that values its business reputation throughout the surrounding community, talk about aligning your goals with the company goals to serve community interests.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Its a behavior based interview question. You need to talk about your previous or current job achievement followed by real examples. For above question you can simply talk about your sales management and people management skills. Do give practical examples.

Work ethics related to sales experience pertain to a person’s attitudes, feelings and beliefs about work. The state of a person’s work ethic determines how that person relates to occupational responsibilities such as goal-setting, hard-working accountability, task completion, autonomy, reliability, cooperation, communication, honesty , effort, timeliness, determination, leadership , volunteerism and dedication. A strong sales experience that is related to work ethic – one that encompasses a positive and productive approach to work – is favored in the work force. For that reason, it is not uncommon for employers to ask prospective employees questions regarding their work ethic, related to their sales experience. Because work ethic is a complex and individualistic subject, it is important that you put careful consideration into your own work philosophy so that you can best express yourself when the need arises.

Answering Questions About Your Work Ethic

1. Prepare to be asked questions about your work ethic and how it’s related to your sales experience . Other questions related to this might be about your attitude towards your current job, job performance, ability to work with others, skill sets, etc.

· Questions about your work ethic might not be phrased exactly as “describe your work ethic” or “Tell me about a sales experience that demonstrates your work ethic?”

· Similar questions might include: “How would you describe yourself?”, “How do you feel about working in a team?”, “How do you feel about training and learning new skill sets?”

2. Provide an honest answer that implies a strong work ethic and related to your sales experience. Choose characteristics of your attitude, feelings and beliefs about work to give an answer that is true to you, and that presents your work philosophy in the best light.

· For example, you may state that you approach work with dedication because you believe in doing your best, and when you do your best you feel accomplished and satisfied.

· You might also say that you also do your best to make sure you enjoy your work, and that helps you to complete tasks with enthusiasm.

· Stress that you see jobs as a continual learning experience and that you will always seek new training and workshops that will allow you to further your skills and contribute to your workplace in new, innovative ways. Employers will look for individuals who want to advance their own knowledge about their job and contribute new insights to their team.

3. Use real-life examples to support your answer from your work experience. Consider situations you have been in that exemplify the work ethics you claim to have.

· For example, if you say you place a high priority on honesty, cite a scenario in your life where you were especially honest in the face of difficult circumstances.

· If you claim to work well with others, describe a group project that you successfully contributed to.

4. Describe a difficult scenario at your last job, and how you worked to solve it, highlighting your work ethics that are related to your sales experience. Describe how you successfully troubleshooted and worked with others to come to a solution.

· Use concrete examples. You might say something along the lines of “A client was having a problem with their account and they were very upset and angry. I was able to maintain being very calm and understanding while I worked to resolve the issue. I had to work directly with my manager to come up with a solution that addressed the clients and company needs at the same time. In the end, the client was happy with the solution and how I worked effectively with my team.”

In addition to the answers, I would like to add that in such interview question you should demonstrate how you have used your work ethic during sales activity. And for example you can explain a situation where you were honest with the customers in delivering the products (quantity & Quality) at time and as required, despite the customers was not there !

You must be honest in your dealings with people at work if Wi deal of my life and we must deal with the situations with tact and expertise always let the customer feels he’s right to deal with him according to this theory

Your work ethic is how you deal with a sales problem right from the word go till you have finally closed the deal. So start by knowing everything about your product & also who are the competitors & what they are offering. Secondly get to know everything about your client including his likes dislikes etc, language if he is from a different nationality. Listen to him as though he is the most interesting person you have met. A professional equation & importantly mutual trust needs to be established. you must be prepared to negotiate & be flexible. Once the deal is finalised ,make sure you follow up & close the deal.

hello sir. sir first we must have patience . currently am working as a medical representative. in this field there must have a patience towards time. longtime waiting is must to meet the doctors. we should talk the DOCTORS with a smile..a smile gives a person a possitive mind . we should join the work on time. as a medical representative. work should be on time. if lated for joining a work then the meeting with the DOCTORS cant attend. so..always receive a customer with good smile. and must have ability to do the work on time. and must have patience to listening a customer wants .

The number of questions and interview topics that the interviewer, recruiter or hiring manager can ask you are unlimited. However, some job interview questions are more common than others. So what are these frequently asked interview questions? Read all about it in this blog.

Your goal, of course, is to make a positive and memorable impression on the interviewer. You should be able and prepared to answer commonly asked interview questions efficiently. During the interview the interviewer expects you to answer basic interview questions without hesitation.

Interview preparation

There are several points to take into account when you’re preparing for a job interview. Make sure you follow all the points as mention on our job interview preparation checklist.

This checklist contains a number of essential questions you should be able to give an answer to during a job interview. The answers to the checklist questions will give you a better understanding of the position and the company. If you know this information you can include them in your answers during the interview. It is, of course, better to give answers that establish a match between your abilities and experience and the job description and the company’s goals and values. It’s simple, if you fit into the company culture well you are more likely to get hired than if you don’t.

Most common job interview questions and answers

These are the most common job interview questions that you expect during your interview. Make sure that you have answers ready in STAR-format to provide the interviewer with as concrete information as possible. When thinking about a job interview try to place yourself in the shoes of the recruiter or hiring manager. What questions would you ask job candidates to find the best suitable one for the job? Would you hire the one that can clearly and concretely explain why he wants to work for the company or someone who is not really sure why?

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Have you ever been asked, “How would your past coworkers describe you?” or “How would your previous boss describe you?” These can be startling and unexpected questions to deal with during an interview. However, they are not without their purpose. Let’s explore why interviewers ask this question during job interviews, what good and bad answers look like, and some sample answers to consider.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Questions?

Hiring managers will ask this question for a few reasons.

On one hand, they may want to know how you fit into the company culture at your last job. If you didn’t get along with your coworkers or your coworkers would be likely to note that you didn’t fit in, it could mean that the company culture wasn’t a good fit for you. And if the job you are interviewing for has a similar company culture, you may not be deemed a good fit for that either.

Hiring managers will also ask this question to get a feel for your personality, teamwork ability, and how well you interact with others. If you’re just a general pain or decide to take this opportunity to bad mouth your old coworkers, you’ve raised a red flag to your potential employer. They will also compare what you’ve said to what your actual references have said about you.

Interviewers will ask this question along with “how would your previous boss describe you?” is get a sense of what your own sense of self-perception is. Employers want confident employees.

What Does a Good Answer to “How Would Your Coworkers Describe You” Look Like?

A good answer to “how would your coworkers describe you?” will contain a few key elements:

  • Honesty
  • Modesty, but don’t sell yourself short
  • A situation or example of how your coworkers or a single coworker thought of you
  • Something relevant to your prospective job
  • One personality trait highlighted at a time

What Does a Bad Answer to “How Would Your Coworkers Describe You” Look Like?

These answers, or any derivative of them, should be avoided:

  • “My coworkers all hated me.”
  • “I don’t think my coworkers would have a lot to say about me. I was a bit of a lone wolf.”
  • “I literally never spoke to my coworkers.”
  • “They were all jealous of me, so I doubt they told you anything good.”
  • “My coworkers didn’t respect how great of an employee I was and were all jealous.”
  • “My coworkers would say I was the best employee ever.”

6 Example Answers to “How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?”

Example one

My past coworkers have told me that I am very organized and quite good at time management. During one specific project, my team members praised me for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the project’s different aspects. We ended up completing the project ahead of time, and it went really well! I’d love to have a similar relationship with my team members in this position.

Example two

I’ve been told that I am both a reliable leader and an excellent team player. In fact, one coworker from my previous position offered to write me a personal letter of recommendation at one point because of my excellent team leadership. It really made me feel valued by the company. He was impressed by my ability to lead a development team effectively while also listening to and considering everyone’s individual input as we determined the best plan of action for this new business initiative.

Example three

My coworkers would say I’m consistent in pursuing and reaching my goals. When I worked as a project director, I experienced rejection, which is obviously never fun. However, I didn’t let that rejection get me down or take me away from achieving my goals. On the contrary, I used that strength for all my projects and worked afterward. I would love to bring that energy to this position.

Example four

My past coworkers would say that I am very cheery and optimistic. I would think they would say this because I’ve demonstrated how I see setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. There is always a creative solution to a problem, no matter what it is, and I genuinely love searching for it and working with a team to find it. One particular instance that comes to mind was when previous coworkers from my last job were upset and worried about budget cuts to our IT department. I brainstormed a few clever ways to maintain some of our resources on a tiny budget. They ended up being implemented, and everyone was delighted with the result.

Example five

I think my past coworkers would describe me as hardworking and attentive. At my previous job in food service, I would clean up around the soda counter when I was about to break. It takes so little time and energy to tidy up, even if you’re not on the clock. I didn’t know this at the time, but the shop manager saw me do this. He approached me later and told me that he sees a hardworking employee when he sees actions like that. It really made me feel good about myself, and I’m confident that I can bring my hard-working nature to this position as well!

Example six

I’d like to think my colleagues from my last position would describe me as a professional. I was usually on time for every shift, dressed appropriately, and reached my deadlines. I certainly wasn’t perfect, but I had a goal in mind every time I clocked into work: I was there to do a job and commit to a set of tasks, and I wasn’t going to leave until those tasks were performed properly. I was also very loyal to my team, and while I miss them now, I’m ready to bring my professionalism to this new team at this company.

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How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Download our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free download. No email required.

Similar interview questions:
If I were to ask your professors to describe you, what would they say?
If I were to ask your former boss to describe you, what would he/she say?
How would other people describe you?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is looking for two things: 1) your ability to view yourself from an external perspective; and 2) potential insights from others who know you well as a third party objective opinion. In asking the question, the interviewer will likely also probe the source of the answer. So be ready to answer the follow-up question of “Why do you think they would say that?”

The best approach to answering this question:
This is where having written letters of recommendation can help you in the interview. Most people ask for letters of recommendation after the interviews are over, when references are being checked in prep for a potential offer. However, if you do your homework in advance, this is something you should be doing before you interview. It is also the best way to bulletproof your references in advance. If you have a professor with whom you’ve had a close relationship, ask for a letter of recommendation to be used with future employers. If you have had an internship, ask for a letter of recommendation from your boss and/or others with whom you have worked. If you have work experience that has generated a performance review, this may also be used as your documentation. Work awards can also be used. The best approach to answering this question is to be able to back it up with a written letter of recommendation, awards or other performance documentation. Answer the second question before it is asked.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
“My boss would say that I was one of the most productive individuals on the team and that I was key to helping our team achieve our goals for the year. We not only met our key goals for the year, we also delivered on two additional projects, one of which won the President’s Award for outstanding achievement. I know she would say that, because that’s what she wrote in my performance appraisal. I have a copy of it for your review, along with a copy of the President’s Award that I received for the Afterburner Project. Would you like to see them?”

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
“I have received personal feedback from several of my professors, who refer to me as one of the most dedicated students with whom they have worked along with recommending me for the Outstanding Student in Accounting Award. I won that award my Senior year and had been recommended by the Department Chair. I have his letter or recommendation along with the copy of the award, would you like to see them?”

An example of how you should not answer this question:
“Well, I’m not quite sure, since I really didn’t have much of a relationship with any of my professors. I doubt any of them actually knew who I was. You see, I went to a public university and most of the classes were in big lecture halls. So it was really difficult to get to know a professor on a personal level. I met some of the TA’s when I went in for help and tutoring and they would probably say I was a little bit slow to learn the material, but eventually got it.”

Further review: know the answers to these Common Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

It’s important to understand the purpose of this question. The interviewer isn’t trying to trip you up.

The fact is self-awareness and willingness to accept your faults are important characteristics in any job seeker. Employers look for employees who know that perfection is a misguided concept. This is why they ask candidates to share their weaknesses.

The best way to answer the question “What are your weaknesses?” is with honesty.

And give some examples of weaknesses to help the hiring manager understand where you’re coming from.

But make sure you also show how you have tried to overcome your weaknesses. Remember, if you frame a weakness in a positive way it will not reflect badly on you.

What Are Professional Weaknesses?

Professional weaknesses are concerned with traits that are related to your work ethic and behavior. Professional weaknesses can be gauged from your work history and your experiences in the workplace.

Self-awareness will enable you to cite weaknesses examples that will work to your advantage. You can ace your interview if you’re confident about both your strengths and weaknesses.

Here is a list you can use to structure your professional weaknesses:

First, you need to identify your weaknesses. Reflect on the following points and see if you can spot any weaknesses you have:

How well you deal with deadlines

How well you receive feedback

If you’re able to work in a team

If you have trouble communicating with clients

If you’re willing to learn new skills for different roles

Here are 10 examples of weaknesses that you can talk about in your job interview:

If you want to say that you tend to be reluctant to ask for help, add a positive instance where you overcame your weakness. For example, you could mention that your previous supervisor guided you with one-on-one check-in meetings until you felt comfortable asking her for help on your own.

Many people are afraid of speaking in public. The important thing is working to build confidence in it. Don’t just tell the interviewer that you get nervous when you have to speak in public. Add an instance where you overcame your fear with preparation and practice and made a presentation or pitch successfully.

You may want to talk about how you find it difficult to say no to additional requests from your colleagues and seniors. When talking about a weakness like this one, also describe how it has helped you grow and polish other skills. Perhaps you have learned the importance of organizing your calendar, delegating where possible and staying on top of your tasks to manage your work better.

Some people tend to avoid taking risks. But this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t step out of their comfort zone from time to time. If you want to share that you are risk-averse, also describe a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone to complete a task. Share how the experience made you realize the importance of being open to opportunities

It’s fine to dislike confrontations. Feel free to say so to the interviewer, provided you make it clear that it doesn’t negatively impact your work. You could say that you’re slowly overcoming your apprehensions about conflict by scheduling regular catchup meetings with your subordinates and superiors to give them feedback.

It’s human nature to be critical of others. You can positively frame this tendency by talking about how you value feedback and open dialogue. Give an example of a time when you gave or received feedback that helped you improve your performance.

Don’t worry if you have a habit of procrastinating! Reframe this positively by sharing how your tendency to procrastinate has made you more efficient in your work. Perhaps you schedule every task in a list to ensure you never miss a deadline. Or you use time management techniques to complete your work on time.

If you struggle to keep a healthy work-life balance, feel free to mention it to the interviewer. Make sure you also talk about the steps you take to improve your work-life balance. The interviewer will appreciate your honesty.

If you tend to take criticism to heart, you are not the only one. As you talk about this weakness to the interviewer, also mention how it has helped you. Does your sensitivity to criticism inspire you to work harder? Talk about steps you have taken to get accustomed to feedback so you can accept it more easily.

You can also mention which technical skills you feel you lack. For this answer, don’t choose skills that are central to the job you are applying for. Be sure to mention how you are learning these skills. Talk about classes you’re taking, books you’re reading and so on to brush up on it.

Can I write about weaknesses in my resume?

It is not recommended that you mention a weakness in your resume. Talking about your weakness in an interview is acceptable because you can explain it carefully. There is no scope for ambiguity when discussing it face-to-face. An interview also gives you a chance to show how you learned and grew from your weakness.

Writing a weakness in a resume may prove detrimental. If you’re not called for an interview, you won’t get a chance to justify your professional weaknesses or even mention the steps you’re taking to overcome them. The weaknesses you listed will leave a bad impression.

So it’s best to leave this question for your interview where you can give weaknesses examples for well-rounded answers.

Performing well in an interview is not just about preparing what you will say. Your attitude and body language convey a lot more than you may think. A positive approach when elaborating on your weaknesses will help you achieve career success.

Ace your job interview and learn how to speak effectively with Harappa Education. Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course will help you learn tools that you can use to tackle the question of your weakness in an interview confidently. Learn from our faculty’s personal experiences and get the job you want.

Explore the skills & topics such as Skills for Resume , Difference Between CV and Resume & How to Answer Strengths in an Interview question from our Harappa Diaries blog section and ace an interview.

Mine is more I'll work hard, but I won't kill myself to meet expectations. I generally look for the path of least resistance when applicable when working on a project then way the pros and cons of doing so.

I guess I'm a slacker in more ways than one (or management material)

My work ethic definitely suffers from long periods of low activity intermingled with periods of high activity. It's tough to stay sharp when you're basically paid to sit on your ass half the time.

Also, I'm basically an ETL dev, which means the only code I write tends to be SQL, pl/sql or other database-centric languages and shell scripts. When I'm busy with that, it's not bad; but working with GUI tools like Informatica makes me really, really bored.

Gui tools are great for lazy people like me.

I don't feel like a hard worker, but I suppose I am. I work consistently and somewhat aggressively on whatever needs doing, for about 8 hours. Then I go home and mostly don't think about work for the rest of the day (unless there's an unsolved problem I can't let go, but that's somewhat rare).

Yesterday, I started thinking about work while I was cooling down after a workout, and I solved one of my bugs. That was kinda nice.

Currently on a 4 day reddit/facebook binge..so yeah

4 days, huh. just getting warmed up.

😂😂😂 sounds like the dream.

I flip between being on the ball and redditing the day away, pretty much entirely dependent on whether I have task(s) to do. I'm not going to go on for hours just looking for work to do, but if my manager tells me to do a list of things I'll do them all until I'm finished. I'm getting better at finding things to do, but it's hard to get motivated when those things come down to documentation.

Nobody at my current job respects me or values my expertise, so my current MO is to basically just do the minimum that's required, because there is literally no point to doing more. I'm so unhappy, though; I like being challenged at work, but the flipside there is that I appreciate situations in which my work and decade+ of expertise are valued.

Could be better

my work ethic is pretty good if I actually have stuff to do, but most of the time I just keep my head down and pretend to be busy

I put my 8 hours in, then I go home. Like virtually every other person here. I'm the type of person that keeps on doing tech/dev stuff after work, but it's never directly related to my main job. It's usually open source stuff or the occasional contract work.

That the team comes first. My goals are always to get the team improving in their code quality and standards. I want people to be proud of what they do. I try to lead by example but at the core, my job focuses around making our other developers better. Challenging them, questioning them, pushing them outside their comfort zones. I expect it back to me, too! I want to work somewhere where I grow. I view how the team has grown as a reflection of my contributions, not really the code. I like people, and I enjoy challenging myself, so this motivates me a lot. It's rare I come in and don't want to give it my all, because I care about the people there.

Skills and qualifications aside, employers look for strong work ethics in a candidate. Here’s how to convince them you’ve got what it takes.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Your role in an interview is to convince the prospective employer that you are fit for the job.

On top of your body language, which provides non-verbal cues of your attitude towards the questions asked and what you have shared, the interviewer looks for anecdotal evidence from your interview responses, to infer the kind of employee you will be.

Will you show initiative? Are you dependable? Can you work with people from different backgrounds?

These point to your work ethics.

What is a good work ethic?

Work ethics refer to a set of moral principles that govern how an employee performs his/her job.

What employers are looking for is a good work ethic, one that shows an employee’s attitude and determination in delivering the best for the company.

You can describe your work ethic using past job experiences.

To understand your work ethics better, employers pose behavioural interview questions like:

  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.
  • Give us an example of how you tried to solve a conflict between a client and yourself.

Your responses, and body language, allow the interviewer to predict how you will perform in the role vis-a-vis the demands of the job, the people you will work with and the stakeholders you will manage.

Any negative sentiments towards work or language, that indicate the lack of drive to perform gives an impression that you have bad work ethics.

While the application of a strong work ethic differs across jobs, the traits that employers look out for are largely similar.

The key to answering interview questions that effectively illustrate your work ethics, is by scrutinising the job description to understand the demands and expectations of the role.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

What are some desirable work ethics that employers look out for when interviewing candidates?

1. Reliability

Being reliable means you can be trusted to deliver high-quality work by stipulated deadlines.

This is regardless of whether the task is small or large and complex. Being punctual also sets a case for reliability.

Interview tips

Think about a time you:

  • Worked on a complicated task assigned with no guidance
  • Rectified or addressed issues in the absence of the person-in-charge
  • Prioritised multiple deadlines and meetings

2. Cooperation

A good work ethic also manifests in teamwork. Employers are looking for candidates who can work with people easily to get the job done, even when differences persist.

Interview tips

Think about a time you:

  • Were assigned to a new team to work with
  • Set aside personal differences with a colleague to complete a project together
  • Worked with colleagues of all age groups and seniority levels to address issues

3. Professionalism

Every job function demands a level of professionalism, be they in the way one speaks to internal and external stakeholders, dresses to work, behaves in the work setting, or executes tasks.

So to speak, being professional means displaying proper workplace etiquette in all communication and task delivery.

Interview tips

Think about a time you:

  • Addressed a difficult client during a meeting without losing your temper
  • Guided new hires on work responsibilities and expectations
  • Navigated a complex work issue with management

4. Discipline

Discipline underpins one’s resilience, commitment, and dedication to perform.

Those with a high level of discipline focus on executing jobs well, meeting and exceeding expectations, and taking the initiative to improve work performance – all these while maintaining a good work-life balance.

Interview tips

Think about a time you:

  • Managed work assignments against the demands of family
  • Took initiative to develop new skills at work
  • Set weekly goals and met them

5. Respect

A respectful candidate is one that completes the package. Being respectful to people means you treat them fairly, not succumb to negative emotions under stress, listen to opposing views and shy away from gossip.

These pave the way for effective cooperation and professionalism. Respectfulness also applies to one’s personal time or that of a colleague.

Being a reliable coworker or relentlessly disciplined to strive for progress, at the cost of self-care means you do not respect personal time and those with loved ones.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Being proactive or action oriented at work is one of the most appreciated skills by HR interviewers. Along with talent, they always seek candidates who do more than speak. Some of the key traits of being action oriented are working hard and enjoying the same.

An individual who is being proactive or action oriented and full of energy for the things he/she sees as challenging is a positive influence on the entire team. These are employees who are not fearful of acting with minimum planning.

Such employees also like to seize more opportunities than others. It is true that they are taking some potential risks, but it also means that they are willing to go that extra mile. They are the type of people who get things done. This could be done on their own or through other people. They are people who are not afraid of commitments and try to make sure that other people do the same. They like to be proactive — be it helping others, or following up on the tasks accomplished in ongoing projects.

Think back to a period of time in which your positive work ethic even inspired others. Share with me the details.

The HR interviewer would like to know if you have been able to create a positive impression at work with your ethics. It could be that people look up to you and take inspiration from your working style. Answer this question with modesty. Say that making good business decisions is important. You can say that you are highly action-oriented, you’re the type of person who gets thing done — and sometimes this also requires help from others.

To ensure commitments are fulfilled, you believe in working as a team — so being action-oriented is something that you also push your team for. You can cite an instance where, may be you were leading a project at work. This required you to coordinate with numerous people and handle multiple tasks to ensure that the work is completed on time.

Talk about how you were proactive or action-oriented at work, you could have taken measures like holding meetings for the project team or trying to address problems that have cropped up. You can also describe the strategies or procedures you implemented or even team changes. It could be hiring a different vendor for some parts of the project and opting for a completely new process for carrying out another aspect of the project.

Share some instances that demonstrate your capability to regularly develop and implement plans for new projects and to redirect activity on plans that aren’t working.

The HR interviewer often asks the candidate about sharing instances where they have demonstrated their capability to regularly develop and implement plans for new projects and to redirect activity on plans that aren’t working. They want to know how proactive you are at work when it comes to making changes, or do you always make do with existing plans. Tell the interviewer that you try to regularly review the existing plans and procedures, and make changes in the same to enhance productivity.

You can say that being action-oriented in simple things can help you to make major changes. It could be documenting your major duties and operations, check for potential absences of employees, being familiar with company’s policies and procedures etc. You can say that you also like to keep a tab of what other units are working on so that duplication and waste of time and resources are avoided.

Alongside while answering this HR interview question, mention that sometimes you collaborate activities with other teams or redirect plans based on impromptu suggestions — which may seem taxing immediately but would provide long-term gains for the company and the team. Also, add that you like to prioritize by writing a list of all the tasks which you need to do, then ranking them according to importance. Say that you also try to estimate how much time it would take to complete tasks. This helps you to get an idea of how your day/ project would look like and stay focused on what is important.

Think back to a recent period of time that reveals your skill to view challenges, and even mistakes, as an opportunity to grow.

During the course of the HR interview, the interviewer would like to know what skills you have to analyze and foresee challenges. They believe that a candidate who can overcome challenges, and rather consider it as an opportunity to grow would be ideal for them. Tell them that you like to optimize your skills and manage your actions in accordance with the situation.

For example, if there are new members on the team, you always remember that you are checking to see what progress people on their teams are making. Often, “micromanaging” helps you to overcome hurdles, and this is the essence of your job to see to it that things are accomplished — and that too in a timely fashion. The skill or art of micromanaging means you are trying to make everyone do things exactly the way you would.

Other skills like foresightedness are also relevant here. You can cite examples of how at the end of a project meeting, you make certain that each person is clear on exactly what action steps he or she is responsible for. Eliminating ambiguity is one of the first steps to grow.

If there is a scope or chance of a mistake that you foresee, you try to fix things or make amendments. If a wrong shipment has arrived, instead of fretting, you continue with your actionable and redirect the task of managing the wrong shipment to another team.

Describe the most complex, challenging situation in which you needed to be the one who set the pace for productivity by example, in a firm but unthreatening way.

There are instances when everyone is stuck in a challenging situation at work. Often, this implies that the team members are disheartened and someone needs to put the right foot forward and set the pace. You can talk about or describe a situation where you had to deal with something like this. Mention that having a friendly attitude goes a long way in strengthening relationships. If you have a good rapport with them, people respond to you. During a challenging time, it is important that you support others in their projects, especially when they ask for your help and you are in a position to assist.

To demonstrate that you are proactive at work, along with this, you can also add that you like to involve the entire team to participate in the brainstorming sessions. Not only does it help them to feel more involved, it also makes them come up with ideas to improve the company and support customers better.

So, while you are only being proactive and action oriented in pushing them a little, it is actually the team effort that helps to overcome challenges. When you share issues or some challenges that you are facing, you are laying the stepping stones for the team to get active too. It helps them to develop the capacity to work efficiently under pressure. Mention that you like being consistent and think on your feet so that you can set a good example for your colleagues.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

We help you identify the appropriate weakness and provide examples of  how to confidently discuss your weakness in the interview. Select one or two weaknesses from this list of 5 common workplace weaknesses.

The key to successfully handling the weakness question in an interview is to identify the weakness, explain what this looks like in the workplace and then, most importantly, what steps you are taking to minimize the impact of the weakness and improve.

Example of Weaknesses in the Workplace

Reluctance to Delegate

What this looks like in the workplace:

  • Unwilling to give tasks to others and make full use of co-workers
  • Reluctant to hand over responsibility to others
  • Can result in under-utilizing other’s skills and taking on too much of the workload oneself

Good sample interview answer:

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Lack of assertiveness

What this looks like in the workplace:

  • Unwilling to speak up and contribute ideas and thoughts in a group situation or to a supervisor
  • Finding it hard to say “no”
  • May be taken advantage of at work by putting other’s needs ahead of one’s own needs

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Lacks patience

What this looks like in the workplace:

  • Wants tasks completed quickly and efficiently in line with own standards
  • Frustrated with slower workers or under-performing colleagues
  • May be too critical of other’s contributions and work

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Reluctant to ask for help or support

What this looks like in the workplace:

  • Finds it difficult to ask for assistance with tasks and assignments
  • Takes on tasks without having the necessary resources to complete them efficiently

Having a strong work ethic and the ability to work independently is positive but it is important to be able to ask for help when necessary in order to optimize your efficiency.

Technical Skills

This example of weaknesses relates to hard skills – experience and expertise – rather than soft skills or characteristics and behaviors. They are technical competencies that the candidate would like to improve on. Common areas for development in the workplace include:

  • people management skills
  • project management skills
  • data management skills
  • data analytical skills
  • computer skills

Select a hard skill that is not a key requirement of the job you are interviewing for. Discuss why you want to develop the skill looking ahead in your career and any action you have taken with regard to skill development.

How to answer interview questions about your work ethic

Example of weaknesses – the full list

This list of workplace weaknesses provides further information on identifying your weaknesses and answering “What are your greatest weaknesses?” in a job interview.  

List of employee strengths

This complete list of workplace strengths will help you with this interview question.  We list a number of common  strengths and what they look like in the workplace.

How do I identify my strengths?

Our strengths-finder will guide you through the simple process of recognizing your own strengths.

Top sample interview answers – what are your strengths and weaknesses?

Be well prepared for this common interview questions. Find good sample interview answers and excellent tips on successfully answering the strengths and weakness interview question.