Do You Take Work Home With You

How to Answer Interview Question: Do You Take Work Home With You?

The question “do you take work home with you“ is a behavioral/competency/ situational question. This type of question is asked to determine an employee’s soft skills. The principle is that past behavior is a key to judging future attitudes.

When a candidate is asked a behavioral question, the employer simply wants to know what an employee is capable of, judging from the candidate’s action in a similar situation in the past. This question is one of the tricky behavioral questions. The interviewer could either be accessing the candidate’s organizational skills, diligence, work-life balance, or dedication and passion. This is why it is important to research the company’s culture and style of operation. If possible ask current employees about the company. The response you get will help you to construct the answer you will give during an interview. If the company is interested in a candidate’s organizational skills, diligence, or values the work-life balance of their employees, you might want to stress more on how organized you are and only take work home at crucial times.

On the contrary, if the company sees workaholic staff as dedicated and passionate, you might want to stress your willingness to work from home. In any case, it is important to note that an interview is a two-way gate, as the company is getting to know you, and you are also getting to know the company. If you are a candidate that values a good work-life balance and the company doesn’t seem to be respecting that, then it is time to move on and keep searching.

When answering a behavioral question, try as much as possible to not give a vague answer. In as much as the question seems like what you can just answer with a Yes Or No, try to give fully defined answers. This is why it is advised to use a framework while answering. In this contest, the STAR framework will be a good way to present your answer. Using this framework, a candidate will be able to show how organized and diligent he is, and at the same time pass on the idea that he is willing to take work home at crucial times, by giving an example of when he had to take work home in his previous work. The STAR framework helps you to tell a story simply and compellingly, without endless rambling.


What does the STAR acronym stand for?

Situation- Describe a context within which you performed a job. Be specific as possible. Talk about a specific instance and not your general responsibilities.

Task– Describe your role in that situation, perhaps you had to help your group complete a task on a tight deadline.

Action– Then describe how you met the task or endeavored to meet the deadline. Explain the specific actions you took to handle the situation or overcome the challenge. This part of your answer requires the deepest explanation, as this is what determines your fitness for the job role. Identify the impactful steps you took to achieve success. Even though the work is done by a team, it is important to highlight what you did specifically. So instead of using the word “we”, use more of “ I” to highlight your particular contribution.

Result– Finally, explain the outcome or result generated by the action. Do not spend much time listing the results; instead, pick two or three impacts of your efforts. Quantify your efforts if necessary. Also, include what you learned or how you grew.

Here is a good way to answer the above question using a STAR framework.

I am extremely organized and skilled at budgeting my time. When I start a project, I create a timeline that allows me to complete the assignment on time, without taking my work home. But I understand that urgent situations might come impromptu and I have to take my work home to meet a deadline.

Situation: In my former role as a lesson teacher, I was given a new task to carry out a mop-up class for the prospective WAEC students.

Task: During one of our mop-up classes, I realized that they were not taught a particular topic for a subject they were due to write 2 days after.

Action: I had to stay up all night to research more on the topic. I drafted an explicit note and noted down all the key points in the topic. This is to make it easier for the students to read the following day against their exam the day after.

Result:  When the result was out, All the students who participated in that mop-up class, had an excellent result in that subject.

The candidate above was able to communicate her ability to be organized and diligent while also passing the fact that she does not like taking work home. The candidate was also able to show her dedication and passion for her work.


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