Fast-paced work environment

December 14, 2021  •  Reading Time: 9 min.

Including: How to state in an interview that you have already worked in fast-paced environments

Many jobs require employees to work in fast-paced work environments. This ranges from jobs in call centers, over a stressful corporate job, to a busy position in a restaurant.

business meeting

When being interviewed for these kind of jobs, a common question asked by companies is, “Do you enjoy working in fast-paced work environments and teams?” When answering this question, be sure to answer both parts of the question. Explain why you work well in a team environment and also why you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment or on intense projects.

Before we delve deeper into interview related issues (job seekers take note!), let’s first answer some common questions about a fast-paced work environment, no matter the industry:

Is working in a fast-paced environment a skill?

A fast-paced work environment describes the pace and rigor of work in a company.

In start-ups, for example, the term is mostly used to evoke a sense of excitement. In service occupations (e.g., restaurants), it tends to describe the speed at which a person works. For healthcare workers, on the other hand, a fast-paced workplace can mean having only few breaks.

If you already work in a fast-paced environment, you can most likely demonstrate the following skills:

  • Capacity to prioritize and manage time effectively in order to handle multiple projects.
  • High productivity: Ability to innovate and perform at a high level.
  • Good Judgement and dexterity in the completion of tasks.
  • Ability to work as part of teams and a high level of cooperation.
  • Working hard: Self-starter and the aptitude to work independently under high stress.
  • Capacity to respond positively to change and unanticipated tasks or events.
  • Staying organized: Efficiently working through a to-do list at a fast pace.

This means that being employed in a fast-paced work environment is a skill in itself, as a whole set of skills must be met in order to be successful there.

What are examples of working in fast-paced jobs?

Here are some examples of jobs where employees can expect to “work hard and play hard.”:

  • Bartender

From taking orders to mixing drinks to working the register, bartenders can hardly sit back during their shift. Working nights is stressful, but it can also be a lot of fun.

  • Customer support

In customer service, employees primarily answer questions from customers and solve problems via email or phone. The pace of work is extremely fast: Calls come in every minute, and the faster a customer’s problem is solved, the better.

  • Advertising manager

From creating ads to managing product release plans for clients and PR campaigns for the media, advertising is all about generating interest and driving sales under high-pressure and tight deadlines.

  • Parcel delivery driver

Parcel deliverers load, unload, relocate and organize shipments in a fast-paced workplace, so they can be delivered to your home as quickly as possible.

  • Emergency medical technician

Emergency medical technicians are on the scene immediately in the event of an accident and provide care to sick and injured individuals.

bartender is making a drink

How do you deal with a fast-paced environment?

If you work in a high-stress environment, these tips can help you manage expectations while maintaining a work-life balance:

1. Stay organized

In high-velocity jobs, it’s extremely important to be organized. Come up with a filing system that works for you and always keep track of all your tasks. Tip: Set priorities and stay flexible. Sometimes you need to make last-minute changes to meet demands.

2. Utilize motivational strategies

Set up a reward system to motivate yourself. For example, if you’ve completed a particularly difficult task, you can treat yourself to a nice lunch. Tip: Getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet will also help boost your energy and motivation.

3. Take breaks

A hectic workplace can lead to burnout. If you’re feeling stressed or struggling to find a healthy work-life balance, take some time off. Tip: Give yourself small breaks occasionally and do things during the week that you enjoy outside of work.

4. Set goals for yourself

Setting goals can help you stay on track in a hectic workplace. Even if you’re short on time, take some time to carefully plan your goals. Tip: Write down your goals, and they will be much more realistic to achieve.

5. Develop your communication skills

Your written and verbal communication techniques are often critical to success in a fast environment. Above all, you need to know how to talk and communicate effectively with your team. Tip: Listening is already one half of communicating, so you should especially work on your active listening strategies.

business employees working together

What do you learn in a fast-paced work environment?

In a high-velocity workplace, you quickly learn to recognize how much time each task should take, and then you can efficiently complete those tasks at specific times throughout the day.

In a business or office that moves fast, you may also develop the following competencies over the course of your time there:

In a high-velocity work environment, you learn how to use your time effectively.

The more you have to do at work, the more efficient you will be with your time. If you can manage your time well, you will know that certain tasks are better suited for certain times of the day. So someone who has good time management knows exactly when and how to complete their tasks.

A busy work environment makes you super flexible.

In a workplace where the demands of your job change quickly, you need to be able to adapt to the changing demands. Over time, you’ll be able to respond to problems and situations faster and faster while meeting all demands.

A fast-paced work environment encourages the development of a “can do” attitude.

Someone who is comfortable in a faster environment approaches all tasks they have to do with a “can do” attitude. This means they take each challenge as it comes, look for ways to overcome it, and take steps to meet the challenge.

How can you state on your resume that you work in a fast-paced environment?

Are you just browsing through job alerts and already working long hours for a high-velocity employer? How can you tell the hiring manager at the companies you’re applying to that you’re already working at a faster pace?

You know you are doing a great job at the moment and that you can meet the expectations of any employer, no matter how hard the industry or job. To advance your career quickly, focus on the following phrases on your resume:

  • Write down when you managed several tasks at the same time.

Useful keywords:

  • Prioritize, accelerate, organize, manage, multitask, dynamic environment, heavy workload, growth.

Examples:

  • “Simultaneously planned and executed 3 employee motivation programs, resulting in a 25% increase in employee satisfaction.”
  • “Answered 35+ calls per day while assisting customers in the store and maintaining cleanliness of area.”
pretty woman is holding her resume in her hands

How can you answer interview questions about hectic work environments?

You received an invitation to a job interview after sending out your resume about being able to work hard in fast-paced environments?

Now it’s time to convince the hiring manager in person and get that job. Let’s assume the question is “Do you enjoy working in a high-paced team environment?” When you give your answer (or even multiple answers) to this question that highlight your talents, you can demonstrate your enthusiasm for teamwork and fast environments in the following ways:

  • You can explain why you like this type of workplace. Perhaps you like the cohesion in teams or the appeal of working under time pressure and stress.
  • You should back up your answer with concrete examples from your professional career. For example, you can explain why you are most efficient and productive in a fast-paced team environment. This will show the employer that you add value to the company.
  • You can also provide an example of a previous workplace that is similar to the one you are applying for. Explain how successful you were in that environment.

Examples of the best answers

Here are some examples of how to answer the question “Do you enjoy working in fast-paced teams?”

“I like working in busy teams. At my last job in a call center, I worked in a team where things moved quickly. The pace of work helped me stay motivated and produce good results. Plus, I was named caller of the month several times.”

Why it works: This candidate provides a quantifiable example of their success in a fast-paced environment: Frequent awards for outstanding customer service.

“I thrive in a fast-paced workplace. I enjoy working in teams and helping people. In the past, I’ve had to complete projects within a tight timeframe. I always went out of my way to help my teammates and get the job done well.”

Why it works: This answer is effective because the applicant obviously knows what is required of a good team member. They rely on past work experience to show that they can easily adapt to a similar workplace.

“In my previous position as a chef, I always worked in this type of environment, and I liked it. I appreciated being able to help my colleagues when they needed help. Teamwork is critical in a fast-paced environment, and this is the ideal work culture for me.”

Why it works: This candidate shares a brief story about their work experience to demonstrate that they have the motivation and proactive collaboration skills to succeed in a high-velocity, stressful job.

two people are shaking hands at the beginning of an job interview

Frequently asked questions about fast-paced work environment

What does fast-paced work environment mean?

Fast-paced means that events happen quickly and continuously. People often switch from one task to the next or multitask several tasks at the same time.

How are job descriptions for fast-paced environments written?

To give you an idea of how companies create job descriptions and what tasks are expected in a high-velocity workplace, here are some lines from ads for busy careers:
“Flexible and ready to take on other tasks as allocated.”
“High-intensity work environment.”
“Excellently organized with great attention to detail.”

How can you adapt to fast-paced work environments?

– Pay close attention to details.
– Have strong communication skills.
– Be highly ambitious.
– Take adequate breaks.
– Find ways to multitask.
– Set specific goals for yourself.