Tough Interview Questions - What is a typical work week for you?
Following is a tough interview question:
What is a typical work week for you?
Similar interview questions:
Where do you spend the majority of your time on a daily/weekly basis? What areas of responsibility take up the greatest percentage of your time at work?
Why the interviewer is asking this question:
The interviewer is trying to better understand the content and context of your work. Often, it can be difficult to understand what of the candidate's background constitutes the majority of the work week. Does the resume reflect 90% of the individual's work? Or only 10%? If the latter, what constitutes the remainder? Most candidates have dull, repetitive tasks which are not represented either in the resume or in the typical interview. This question is seeking to understand where the candidate spends the majority of the work week to put the experience being discussed into context.
The best approach to answering this question:
Do not provide an hourly breakdown of what you do each work day. Instead, provide 3-5 key areas where you spend the majority of your time each week and cover them in detail. Then provide a specific example of how you spent your time in one of these activities, ideally in a recent week.
An example of how to best answer this question:
"I spend the majority of my time developing and implementing our strategic plan for the coming quarter, as well as building and adjusting detailed plans for resource allocation so that we are properly aligned to the business priorities. The remainder of the time is spent in staff management, project management, budgeting and status meetings. So about 60% of my time is spent in strategic activities, meaning one month or more into the future, while 40% of my time is spent in tactical activities, delivering in the present. An example was last week as I worked on our workforce planning for the coming year, then broke it down further by business unit and by quarter. This workforce plan impacts not only my organization, but also the other organizations in the company. We need to plan in advance to complete our hiring to have the resources in place when needed. So I meet with the other department heads to discuss both their future resource needs as well as factoring in hiring and attrition."
An example of how you should not answer this question:
[as quoted from Peter Gibbons in the movie Office Space] "Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh heh - and, uh, after that I just sorta space out for about an hour. Yeah, I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work."
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!