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How to State Your Work Habits for an Interview
If you want to talk about your work habits during a job interview, you don't have to wait for the interviewer to bring the subject up. You can steer the discussion in that direction by mentioning your work habits in the answers to other questions. Talking about your work habits can give employers insight into your professional values and work routine, so practice stating them in a way that puts you in the best light possible.
Use as Strengths
Potential employers often ask you to describe your strengths during a job interview. This is an ideal place to include some of your best work habits. Use specific examples as you discuss your work habits. For example, when describing how you stay organized, you might talk about how you use an electronic task list that ties in with your calendar and syncs with your smartphone. You can also mention other work habit strengths such as being punctual and keeping colleagues and supervisors updated on the status of projects you are working on.
Use to Offset Weaknesses
After interviewers ask about your strengths, many ask you to describe weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses, so don't gloss over the question. Instead, use examples of how your work habits have helped you overcome weaknesses in the workplace. For example, you might struggle with deadlines. Don't say you miss deadlines. Instead, say you must constantly use your organization skills and ability to juggle multiple tasks to stay focused and finish each step of every project on time.
Basic Description of Yourself
Some interviewers immediately start the discussion by having you tell them about yourself. After hitting a couple of brief points such as your work experience and professional ambitions, use this as an opportunity to chat about your work habits and how they are reflective of your personality and belief system. For example, you might mention a time when you were given unclear directions about a work project. Let the interviewer know that instead of bickering with team members about the interpretation, you took the initiative to ask your boss for clarification before moving forward.
Cater to the Position
When preparing for your interview, consider what skills are important to the position and cater your work habit descriptions to those skills. In a sales environment, for example, your cold-calling skills might be more important to mention than whether you color-code your files. If you are applying for a position that puts more emphasis on team than individual goals, you might describe how you value the input of all team members because everyone brings different experiences to the table. Or, you might talk about how you appreciate the accountability that comes from the team mentality because everyone can keep each other on track.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.