Work ethic is a value based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character.
Workers exhibiting a good work ethic in theory would be selected for better positions, more responsibility and ultimately promotion. Workers who fail to exhibit a good work ethic may be regarded as failing to provide fair value for the wage the employer is paying them and should not be promoted or placed in positions of greater responsibility.
Most employees have to work together to meet a company's objectives. An employee with a high sense of teamwork helps a team meet its goals and deliver quality work. These employees respect their peers and help where they can, making collaborations go smoother.
It takes a certain level of commitment to finish your tasks every day. An employee with good discipline stays focused on his goals and is determined to complete his assignments. These employees show a high level of dedication to the company, always ensuring they do their part.
Some employees do only the bare minimum, just enough to keep their job intact. Employees with a strong work ethic care about the quality of their work. They do their best to produce great work, not merely churn out what is needed. The employee's commitment to quality improves the company's overall quality.
A strong sense of responsibility affects how an employee works and the amount of work she does. When the employee feels personally responsible for her job performance, she shows up on time, puts in her best effort and completes projects to the best of her ability.
Integrity stretches to all aspects of an employee's job. An employee with integrity fosters trusting relationships with clients, coworkers and supervisors. Coworkers value the employee's ability to give honest feedback. Clients trust the employee's advice. Supervisors rely on the employee's high moral standards, trusting him not to steal from the company or create problems.
Always keep in mind the key concerns of the employer. Your work ethic often gets to quality and efficiency, from a management or business perspective. In your answer, address one or both concerns. In a retail store, sales and service performance are keys. For a retail sales associate job, you might say, "I have a very strong work ethic that I have demonstrated as the top seller in my current store. I also have consistently high marks on customer satisfaction surveys." This response touches on efficiency and quality and provides tangible support.
Beyond providing the summary response that describes your work ethic, give examples. This point is true in essentially any question that gets to your qualities or strengths. Whether asked or not, you should offer an example to prove your point. You might say, "I am an extremely dedicated and hard-working professional, though I like to have fun and enjoy a positive work culture as well. In my last job evaluation, my supervisor noted that I have a strong mix of professionalism and personality.
Aside from indicating that you have a strong work ethic, you can bring up several other effective, related qualities. You might say, "I am highly motivated and work hard when I believe in what I am doing. I have shown strong performance in a similar position because I have a passion for the work." In this response, you touched on self-motivation and passion for the work, which managers commonly look for.
The entire purpose of the interview is for the manager to decide whether he likes you and if you're the best fit for the job. Many interview questions, including this one, center on the broader question of "What are your strengths?" Before the interview, list your strengths and compare them to the job. Identify the three or four best matches. Throughout the interview, including your response to a "work ethic" question, you should carry on the theme by emphasizing those strengths.