When you're asked to describe the pace at which you work, be careful how you respond. This is an interview question where faster isn't necessarily better. Most employers would rather hire employees who work at a steady pace and produce quality results. Someone who is too slow to get the job done in a reasonable time frame isn't going to be a good hire. Neither is a candidate who works frenetically all day, because they might make more errors, or more easily burn out.
When answering this question, avoid exaggeration, and demonstrate that you are a steady and dependable worker.
Emphasize Steadiness and Quality
The most important qualities to emphasize when answering this question are steadiness and quality work. Steadiness means that you can work at a consistent pace without getting burned out. Quality means that your work is free of errors.
When saying that your work is steady, you of course don’t want to imply you are a slow worker. You might say that you work at a consistent pace, but you usually complete work in advance of a deadline.
You also want to emphasize that you achieve quality results at your pace. You might explain that you work at the pace you do in order to avoid mistakes and to take the time to check over your work before submitting it.
Explain Your Work Method
If you have time, explain the method you use to produce quality work at your pace. For example, perhaps you break big projects into manageable daily tasks, and slowly complete the project piece by piece. Or perhaps you always aim to finish a project two days in advance to give yourself time to check your work for errors.
If you work at a job where you have set criteria (i.e. number of calls made or responded to) that measures accomplishments, discuss what method you use to achieve (or exceed) these goals.
No matter what your method, be sure to emphasize that you never focus so much on one task that you avoid all your other responsibilities. Mention that your process involves juggling both the specific task and the other parts of your job. Employers want job candidates who can multitask effectively.
When answering a question about your work pace, provide at least one specific example of a time when working at your pace helped you achieve results. For example, you might mention a time you had to complete a report by a certain date. You could explain how you set aside two hours every morning to devote to the project until you finished it two days ahead of time.
You might also provide a concrete example of a time your work pace helped you not only get a job done, but get it done without error. For example, you might mention how your articles rarely need copy editing, or how you have been praised for the precision of your reports.
Sample Answers to Interview Questions About Work Pace
- I usually work at a steady, consistent pace. Because of my ability to organize and plan out my work schedule, I always complete my work ahead of time. For example, when I was assigned a large project due in six months, I broke the project into large goals and small, day-to-day goals. I created a schedule, and steadily checked off each of these goals while still successfully completing my other duties. I ultimately finished the project a week ahead of schedule.
- I consider myself a diligent worker who avoids procrastination. At my previous sales job, we had to make at least 30 calls every shift, on top of our other administrative responsibilities. While some people saved all their calls for the end of their shift, which sometimes led to people missing their quota, I divided my time between making calls and doing my other duties. I am not easily distracted, but instead can balance working steadily on multiple tasks. This allows me to complete all of my work on time and produce quality results. In fact, I won "best salesperson" three times at my previous company.
- I have been praised for my ability to hand in assignments well ahead of schedule. Although I work quickly, I also produce quality work. For example, I am currently responsible for writing our quarterly newsletter. I tend to complete the assignment at least two or three days before the submission deadline, which gives me time to thoroughly proofread my work. Both employers and colleagues have commented on my error-free newsletters.