Tough Interview Question - Describe a typical work day for you.

Describe a typical work day for you.

Similar interview questions:
Walk me through your list of activities for a normal workday.
What are the key things you need to accomplish in your work on a weekly basis?
What are the core deliverables for your role?
How do you prioritize your work?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is assessing both the quantity and quality of your work. For example, your work day may consist of 80% repetitive tasks with only 20% creative tasks. Or it could be the inverse. Your work may also be a mix of maintaining prior work and systems vs. developing new projects and/or deliverables. The breakout is meaningful. So the answer gives the interviewer insight into where and how you are spending your time. It can also be a launching point to ask about how you prioritize your work.

The best approach to answering this question:
Repetitive tasks are part of most work days and you should cover this up front in the first part of your answer. But use that as a launching point to focus on the unique and creative aspects of your work, which you should cover in greater detail and give examples of work you have done or are currently doing that is in alignment with the role for which you are interviewing.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I have key responsibility for maintaining several core products, two of which I was personally involved in developing. So usually the first part of my day is taken to make sure these products are running correctly and applying any necessary fixes, if needed. Yet the greater part of my day is taken with our recently launched new product development for the accounting department. Here are some of the details about that new product…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"In my recent internship, I had a core project that was my key deliverable for the summer. So my work day was structured around completion of that deliverable. So I’ll cover first an example of a work day early in the project and then I’ll also give you another example of a work day as we I got closer to completion of the project…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"I spend a lot of my time in meetings, which are totally not productive for me. I’ve complained to my boss about it, but she just keeps telling me that she needs someone from the team represented at these meetings. We spend more time talking about doing stuff than actually doing stuff…"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

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

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