Job Interview Question: Describe the Pace at Which You Work

How to Respond to Interview Questions About Your Work Speed

Businesswoman presenting project to coworkers
Be careful when answering interview questions about how fast you work. Copyright Thomas Barwick

When you're asked to describe the pace at which you work, be careful how you respond. This is a 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.

Emphasize Steadiness and Quality

One way to answer this question is to say that you work at a steady pace but usually complete work in advance of the deadline. You also want to emphasize that you achieve quality results at your pace. Provide a specific example of a time when working at this pace helped you achieve results.

Discuss your ability to manage projects and get them done on, or ahead, of schedule. If you work at a job where you have set criteria (i.e. number of calls made or responded to) that measures accomplishments, discuss how you have achieved or exceeded those goals.

Sample Answers

  • 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 can balance working steadily on multiple tasks. This allows me to complete all of my work on time and produce quality results. I won "best salesperson" three times at my previous company.

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