Operating style has to do with the way you operate or performs
your work. It is a reflection of the way in which you plan,
execute, and control the quality of your work. Operating style
is a measurement of your work habits, and is usually a reflection
of some broader operating principles and beliefs that you believe
are important to your personal performance and success.
The following array of questions may be encountered in the interview
as the prospective employer attempts to get a handle on how
you go about carrying out your job responsibilities:
- How would you describe your operating style - the way you
go about getting your work done?
- What do you believe are the day-to-day operating principles
that are important to personal success?
- How is the way you approach your work different from others
in your group?
- In what way is your work style unique?
- What benefits do you derive through using this operating
- What type of work style do you believe is important to good
- What are the underlying principles and beliefs you feel
are important to an effective operating style and good performance?
- What kind of operating style do you believe is characteristic
of poor performers?
- What do you believe are the key differences in operating
style between good performers and poor performers?
- What are the basic work principles by which you operate?
- Why are these work principles important to you?
- How are some of your basic work principles reflected in
one or two of your key accomplishments?
- Cite some examples of how some of your basic work principles
and operating style have aided your performance.
- What principles did you employ?
- What performance benefits were realized?
- Give me an example where you abandoned one of your fundamental
work principles, and how it affected your performance.
- What basic principle did you abandon?
- How did it impact your performance?
- What learning resulted
from this experience?
- What do you believe are the key operating or work principles
by which most successful people operate?
- How do these principles translate into success?
- What key operating or work principles are most frequently
ignored by poor performers?
- If your co-workers were asked to describe your operating
style and work habits. what do you think they would say?
- What aspects of your work style would they say are particularly
- What improvements might they suggest in your operating style?
- How does your personal philosophy affect the way you perform
- How would your boss describe or categorize your work style?
The Classic Answers
The following answers should serve as reliable models
for planning your own answers to interview questions that
are intended to evaluate your operating style:
1. "My operating style can best be described as focused,
well-organized, and strongly committed to bringing about
improvement in the functional areas for which I am responsible.
I tend to take a project approach to carrying out my
work. This includes defining opportunities for improvement,
setting specific goals, formulating a workable plan, carrying
out the plan in a timely fashion, and assessing results.
I like to include my internal customers in the planning
process and, where possible, partner with them in bringing
about the improvement.
Since my overall operating goal is customer
satisfaction, I feel it is important to get them involved in any
way that I can. I suppose the best evidence I have of
the effectiveness of this approach are the several complimentary
letters from satisfied customers that are in my
2. "I believe the operating styles of poor performers
probably reflect, in large measure, a lack of good planning
and focus. Poor performers, I believe wait for things
to happen, and then react to them. Good performers, on
the other hand, are persons who plan to make things happen,
and are continuously motivated to achieve improved results.
Setting goals, planning, good execution, and timely follow-through,
I think are the basic operating principles underlying
3. "Although certainly not a key problem, I believe I could
improve my work performance by taking time to do more
planning. Although by nature I believe in the importance
of planning to achieve successful performance, like most
people, however, I sometimes get so caught up in the day-to-day operating demands of the job that I can't seem
to find the time to do some of the strategic planning
I know could be beneficial. I'm getting better at this,
however. Last week, I went of J-site for three hours to
do some strategic planning. As a result, I now have some
longer term goals for my function and a specific plan
to achieve them. I think this is a good starting point."