Do you prefer hard work, or smart work?

By definition, hard work is when you, well, work hard. It’s when you’re willing to put in a lot of work to get the job done.

Smart work on the other hand, means doing the work efficiently. If you manage to get the job done in 2 hours instead of 5, with the same end-result, you’re doing smart work.

Keep in mind, though, that by asking this question, the interviewer is looking to understand what your work ethic is like. Meaning, they’re looking for a healthy combination of both, not just one.

That is, they want you to be the candidate who not only thinks smartly but works hard as well.

So, your answer here shouldn’t be one-sided…

“Oh, I looove smart work. That’s when you come up with what to do, and make other people do it, right?”

don’t particularly have a preference - I believe that both hard and smart work is important to get the best results.

Smart work, on one hand, lets you figure out the best and most efficient way to get things done.

Hard work, on the other hand, means that you’ll do the job right. Even if there’s no way to do it smart or efficiently, you’ll be willing to put in long hours of work to get it done.

I’m the type that does both.

For an example of smart for, during my time at [Made Up Corporation], I was in charge of the sales department. As a process improvement initiative, I migrated from an outdated, in-house CRM, to Pipedrive. This improved the department’s productivity by around 20%.

On the other hand, the whole migration process took around 3 months of hard work. As the software we were using was outdated, trying to learn how to map and migrate our data was a lot more complicated than we’d expected.”