Questions about teamwork are commonly asked during job interviews. Usually, an interviewer will ask you a question such as, ‘Do you prefer working on a team or individually?‘, ‘Tell me about a time you resolved an issue as a team‘ or ‘Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict within the team. How did you handle it? What was the result?‘
If you’re applying for a position and a company that relies on teamwork, you can be sure that teamwork will be discussed during your interview. There are several ways you can respond to these questions. The most important thing to focus on is providing specific examples of times you successfully performed on or managed a team. You need to remain positive and able to explain why you value teamwork.
A popular way of assessing your teamwork skills is by using behavioral interview questions. The kinds of questions are used to assess your teamwork skills based on your past behavior in teamwork situations. Instead of asking a hypothetical question such as ‘How would you react if your team would have to work on several projects with tight deadlines at the same time?‘ they ask you a question like ‘Tell me about a time you and your team worked on several projects with tight deadlines, how did you make sure you stayed on track? What results did you get?‘
As you can see in the example above, behavioral interview questions require you to provide the interviewer with an answer that includes a real-life example of your work experience. In other words, behavioral questions focus on work situations that you experienced in the past and how you responded to them. The way you respond to these questions tells the interviewer more about your character, work methods, and ethics.
The rationale behind behavioral questions is that your past behavior is the predictor of your future job performance. Furthermore, for interviewers are behavioral questions the most pragmatic way to uncover past work experiences.
Interview questions about your past teamwork experience are a great opportunity for you to show that you’re a fit for the position. With the right preparation, you can use your answers to your advantage by demonstrating that you’re a true team player.
In this article, we discuss why the interviewer is asking you teamwork interview questions and how you should answer them. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.
Why Questions About Teamwork Are Important To Employers
Teamwork is important for the success of companies. This is also why employers want to assess if you work well with others. Businesses thrive on diverse teams of people who are able to contribute to individual ideas. Below we discuss why teamwork is so important to employers.
Teamwork sparks creativity
Companies need new ideas and innovation to succeed in competitive markets. Diverse teams with people who can contribute individual ideas need to work together to come up with these ideas.
Teamwork helps to solve problems quicker
Working together with a group of ambitious people can help solve challenging problems. Brainstorming with coworkers or incorporating ‘stand-up’ meetings are great opportunities for teams to update each other and exchange ideas to come up with creative solutions. Companies thrive when they have teams with members on it with different backgrounds and experience who all can contribute individual ideas
Teamwork creates a supportive environment
Supportive work environments can be a part of the company culture of an organization. Effectively and efficiently working together creates this supportive teamwork environment. Companies value teamwork because it can create a ‘system’ that ensures that set deadlines are met, and high-quality work is delivered. If a team member falls behind, there are others to help them or pick up where they left.
If work is divided among team members, the right way, projects, and work will get done faster. This contributes to the overall business operating more efficiently. Carefully composed teams usually create a sense of comradery as people who are on the teamwork towards a common target or goal.
Teamwork boosts morale
When team members contribute to something that produces results, they will get a sense that their work is valued. This is also how confidence and trust are built within organizations and teams. If members contribute ideas that lead to improved or more efficient production, this boosts morale within a team. Well-composed teams have members on it who all have something else to offer. Through collaboration, team members will get a sense of commitment to each other and the common goals that are set.
Why Interviewers Ask Teamwork Questions
In the previous paragraph, we discussed why teamwork is important to companies. The reasons given are the keys to successful teamwork environments. However, these keys to success are only achieved when the right hiring decision is made.
Remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, hiring the right candidate is the number one goal for employers. By asking you questions about your experience with working with teams, the interviewers try to assess your teamwork skills.
Instead of hiring the candidate that the interviewers ‘like’ they need something better to figure out which candidate is the right fit for the job. By assessing your behavior in past situations that are similar to the ones that are required in the role that you’re applying for, they try to do just that.
Interviewers consider the following when using teamwork behavioral questions in a job interview:
Impact of a bad hire on a team
The number one goal of a hiring manager is hiring the right person. For companies, making the wrong hiring decision is not just about losing money. The wrong person in a position could also lead to a decrease in productivity. In the worst case, this could lead to leaving a bad impression with clients or customers. Furthermore, it could lead to decreased team morale.
Another way a bad hire could impact a company is that they will lose time if they need to search for another candidate. This is also the reason why employers will do everything to avoid a situation in which work processes are disrupted. Behavioral interview questions about teamwork are viewed as a way to make sure that the right person with the right fit for the company is hired.
Specific details of your behavior
The interviewer wants to get more in-depth information about your teamwork experience. More specifically, they want to know how you react in certain situations in which you’re required to be a team player.
Before the interview starts, the interviewers probably have already reviewed your resume and motivational letter or letter of recommendation. However, this only allows them to assess your hard skills and educational levels. Your soft skills and personality are easier to assess during the interview with the help of behavioral questions.
It’s therefore important that you prepare well to make sure you can demonstrate how you deal with working on a team, how you approach teamwork, and what you have learned from your mistakes in the past.
What it means for you to be a team player
Besides analyzing specific details of your behavior, interviewers are also interested in your personal views on teamwork. This way, they can assess how well you fit into the company culture.
By asking you interview questions about teamwork, the interviewer gives you the chance to let you tell who you are and explain how you view teamwork. It’s therefore important that you have strong answers ready to describe your view on teamwork. The interviewer wants answers to questions such as:
- Does this candidate go above and beyond for the sake of the team and company?
- Is this candidate a self-starter and a creative thinker that has something to bring to the table?
- Does this candidate have examples of times they successfully worked as part of a team?
- Do his/her answers describe their tasks but also mention the team effort? Or are they just talking about themselves?
- Is this candidate passionate when they talk about working as part of a team?
By asking about your past behavior in certain professional situations, the interviewers can quite accurately determine your future success in the job that you’re applying for. This proven technique can give more insight into your future work performance.
Prepare well for questions about teamwork and expect related questions about, for instance, your strengths and weaknesses. By preparing example answers with scenario’s that you’ve encountered in the past, you can provide a concise and to-the-point answer without missing important details.
If you can describe times you successfully worked as part of a team
Interviewers want to get a better insight into how you behave in teamwork situations. They want to hear from you how you overcame challenges as part of a team. For instance, by asking, ‘Describe the most challenging team assignment you have worked on so far.’ The interviewer is interested to hear you explain how you work with others to achieve results.
Competency and behavioral job interview questions are the most efficient way for interviewers to assess your teamwork skills. However, these questions do require some preparation. Your answers should convey a positive and can-do attitude about team efforts.
By preparing the right way, you can make sure that your example answer situations include aspects of the important job requirements. Of course, the interviewer is looking for candidates that fit the job description, so make sure that your answers relate to the job requirements.
Behavioral interview questions usually start with:
- Give me an example of..
- Tell me about a time when you..
- Describe a situation..
Examples of teamwork behavioral interview questions:
- Give me an example of a rewarding team experience.
- Tell me about a time when you had to motivate other team members.
- Describe a situation where you had to solve a problem with your team.
Interviewers will focus their questions on teamwork skills and other important characteristics required to be successful in the position you’re interviewing for. Think, for instance, about your level of adaptability, teamwork, creative thinking, problem-solving, growth potential, or leadership skills.
The reason for asking behavioral job interview questions is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is your past performance in similar situations. Interviewers want to discuss previous work situations that are related to the job. Furthermore, they want you to elaborate on how you experienced these situations, what tasks you had, what actions you took, and what result you got.
By preparing example answers to the interview questions you expect based on your research, you can provide the interviewer with exactly what he or she is looking for. Ensure that you provide the interviewer with information about:
- The situation you were in;
- Your task(s) in that situation;
- The action(s) you took;
- The specific results you got from your actions.
In short, the 4 steps above together are called the STAR-method of providing an answer. STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. It’s the most straightforward format to answer behavioral job interview questions.
The STAR interview technique allows you to provide the interviewer with a concise and logically structured ‘story’ about past work experiences. Furthermore, it allows you to specifically highlight the skills required for the job and that the interviewer wants to see. The STAR method is discussed in more detail later on in this article.
What Interviewers Are Interested In When Assessing Teamwork Skills
In short, the interviewer wants to gain knowledge about how you function within a team. This is also the reason why we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to demonstrate your suitability with clear and concise answers. Your answers should highlight how you have successfully performed the discussed skills in the past and how you successfully operated within a team.
The right preparation will get you ready for your interview. The interviewers want you to show that you can professionally handle the daily tasks required for the job. In this case, specifically, they want you to explain how you approach teamwork situations. For example, how you deal with issues or disagreements within a team and if you are able to resolve those effectively.
Behavioral questions about teamwork are used to get insights into who you really are and how you approach your work. Basically, the interviewers want to get the following questions answered:
- Are you easy to get along with?
- Can you communicate effectively with different personalities?
- Are you able to adequately respond to situations that occur during your work?
- Are you able to adjust to changing work environments?
- Can you assist your colleagues or team when needed?
- Are you flexible in your approaches to situations at work?
Red Flags For Interviewers Assessing Teamwork Skills
There are several reasons why teams fail in general. This can, for instance, due to forcing collaboration or poor relationships within a team but also because of ineffective meetings or a lack of transparency. These are just a couple of examples that could negatively impact a team.
Needless to say, employers look for candidates who are able to provide them with clear answers about their views on teamwork and experience. Below we discuss a couple of signs that interviewers consider red flags.
Lack of interest in being a team player
If you cannot explain why you enjoy working as part of a team or how you successfully did so in the past, this can be considered a warning sign. It’s up to you to provide specific details or examples that the interviewer asks for. If you, for example, claim that you have successfully managed teams in the past, you better be able to back this up through clear examples.
If you fail to do so, this could lead to eliminating your chances of landing the job. Furthermore, if the interviewer has trouble verifying your teamwork history, this could be a red flag for them.
Failing to respond effectively
Your answers need to demonstrate that you’re a team player. This means that if a behavioral interview question requires you to recall a specific situation, you need to show that your considerate, respectful, responsible, and socially skilled.
In order to respond effectively to teamwork questions, you need to integrate specific teamwork skills into your answers to demonstrate that you possess them. Think, for instance, of skills such as:
- Active listening
- Conflict management
- Creative Thinking
- Team Building
Failing to effectively respond to questions from the interviewer can be considered a warning sign.
Don’t ramble during a job interview. This is easier said than done, but your interview preparation should get you there. Preparing for common interview questions about topics you expect, you can focus on key points that you want to discuss in your answers. Making a success of your job interview relies as much on your preparation as it does on your ability to communicate effectively.
Try to follow a specific format for every answer you give. An example is using the STAR interview technique to answer behavioral questions. This method allows you to logically structure your answers. STAR is an acronym that stands for the situation (S) you were in, your task (T) in that situation, the actions (A) you took to address the situation, and the results (R) you got from your answers.
If you fail to provide the interviewer with a concise and to the point answer, this can be considered a warning sign.
Not taking responsibility
Actively participating in a team and taking responsibility for your tasks is essential in your answers. If your answers do not demonstrate that you take your responsibilities seriously, this can be considered a warning sign. It’s also likely that the interviewer will ask you about a time you worked on a team project that failed.
When you work on a team, it’s important that you take responsibility for both the wins and the losses. The interviewer wants to get an understanding of your self-awareness and ability to reflect on situations.
Success within a team depends on your ability to communicate, actively listen, honesty, and to take responsibility. These are key characteristics to successfully work together. It’s important that your answers show that you take responsibility for situations and describe the actions you took to repair any problems or challenges. If your answer shows that you do not take responsibility or action when needed, this can be a red flag.
Negativity, in general, can be viewed as a red flag. This could, for example, be badmouthing team members or talking inappropriately about previous employers or managers. However, it could also be about a teamwork situation in general. Negative undertones never impress interviewers the right way. Therefore, make sure you convey a positive and can-do attitude.
Examples of Teamwork Skills
Soft skills, such as teamwork skills take time and experience to develop thoroughly. However, everybody has experience with all these skills to some extent. Below we discuss a couple of important teamwork skills.
Effective communication is essential in every workplace. The ability to clearly get the point across and understanding what other people tell you if the corner of efficient and effective teamwork. Whether you’re communicating face-to-face, via email, or phone – every exchange of information must be just as effective and efficient. Furthermore, non-verbal communication is just as important.
A culture of mutual trust between team members an openness is supported by the most effective teams. Every member on the team must be comfortable enough to speak their mind.
The basis of teamwork is working together to solve problems. It’s therefore essential that every member of the team possesses the right or complementary problem-solving skills. Teams should consist of members that look at problems from different angles. Furthermore, they should utilize their prioritization and time management skills to drive the overall team performance and success.
Creativity can mean several things but, in general, means looking at something in a different or new way. Think of coming up with new ideas, implementing solutions, developing strategies, improving existing processes, solving problems, or cutting costs. Creative thinkers look at problems and situations from a fresh perspective.
Companies try to encourage creative thinking, especially within teams. However, creativity does not just happen. This is why organizations look for people with creative thinking skills who are able to spark creative processes.
Empathy builds bridges within a team. It is an important teamwork skill because it allows you to better understand the motives and feelings of others. To communicate well within a team, it’s important that you deeply understand how others think and work.
Empathy is one of the softer skills, but it’s an essential skill to possess for success. This will enable you to communicate with team members in a way that they will respond to positively. Furthermore, empathy allows you to navigate complexities and sustain strong relationships with other team members.
Honesty & Integrity
The greatest skillset and top-notch degrees cannot make up for lack of honesty and integrity in the workplace. A reputation of questionable honesty and integrity will not get you far as part of a team. Professional relationships are built on trust, and of course, trust requires integrity.
Honesty is very important to build trust in a team. Whether it’s being honest in a disagreement, sharing a new development, or explaining why you are not going to be able to complete a task. Transparency in a team creates trust and therefore allows them to work together more effectively and efficiently.
Working together is essential for a team to succeed. A collaborative team is composed of team members with different kinds of skills. They, of course, share a similar goal. Usually, this goal is to create something better than one could create on their own without the other team members.
Working together to brainstorm, share ideas, improve each other’s performance, and help each other out when needed makes a great team.
Active listening contributes to a culture of trust and understanding. It’s a pattern of actually not only listening to the words someone is saying by also staying engaged in the conversation in a positive way.
Being aware of everything that goes on within a team and understanding the team dynamics is crucial. Within a team, everybody should be able to contribute and share ideas. It’s important that there’s mutual trust between team members so that everybody feels comfortable to share their unique skills, abilities, and experience.
Disagreements in the workplace between coworkers are inevitable, and understanding how you handle certain situations is essential for interviewers. Within teams, there are going to be different opinions because people are not going to get along with each other all the time.
To solve conflicts professionally, it’s important that a productive dialogue is facilitated. Furthermore, taking responsibility for actions is essential, just like perspective and empathy. These regard the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and points of view. This is an important element in resolving conflicts. If you can understand other people’s thoughts, observations, and triggers, you are more likely to solve the conflict.
Organizational and time management skills
In order to effectively and efficiently solve a problem, it’s important that team projects get structured and managed the right way. Within a team, you need to work together to meet set deadlines, manage workloads, adapt to changing situations, and re-evaluate set priorities.
Every member of the team needs to understand and follow the plan in order to achieve success. Once a plan is made, all team members need to organize tasks, establish deadlines, and align their efforts.
How to Improve Your Teamwork Skills
There’s a chance the interviewer will ask you how you have developed your teamwork skills throughout your work experience. To answer such questions, it’s important to understand how you can improve your teamwork skills. Once you know this, you can incorporate these steps into your answers to demonstrate how you became a better team player over the years.
Interviewers know it takes time to develop teamwork skills, so they likely will ask these questions for more experienced positions. Below we discuss a couple of steps that contribute to developing better teamwork skills.
When you want to improve a certain skill, it’s can de challenging to identify your own areas of improvement. If you want to develop your teamwork skills, this is no different. Therefore, it’s crucial that you ask a mentor, co-worker, or true friend for honest feedback. In this case, ask them about your strengths and weaknesses regarding teamwork and how they think you can work on improving them.
Personal Career Goals
You can use the feedback you got from others in combination with your own observations to set personal goals. It’s important that you set realistic, achievable, relevant goals that are time-constrained. This way, you ensure that you take your teamwork skill improvement one step at a time and that you can track your progress.
Practice Makes Perfect
To develop and improve any skill set takes time and effort. The same goes for developing teamwork skills; it takes time and practice to see real improvements. The best to monitor your development is by paying close attention to your teamwork interaction and taking notes of what you found important and what could be improved. Take small steps in every specific teamwork skills that you are trying to develop.
If there are moments where you see examples of great teamwork, pay close attention, and take notes of what you liked about it and why it was effective. It’s important that you breakdown those interactions so that you can identify why the interaction stood out to you. Next, you can try to apply the specific interactions you have identified in your own professional teamwork interactions. Again, this is a part of your practice to sharpen your teamwork skills.
Frequently Asked Teamwork Interview Questions
Below you can find commonly asked teamwork questions:
Behavioral interview questions about teamwork:
- Tell me about a team project that you worked on
- Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict within the team. How did you handle it? What was the result?
- Are you easy to get along with?
- Tell me about a project that required input from coworkers at different levels in the company.
- Describe a team experience that you found rewarding
- Describe a time when you had to mediate a disagreement? (conflict resolution)
- Tell me about a time you took the lead in a team project. How did you handle it, and what was the outcome?
- Please provide an example of when you were part of a team. What was your role? How did you contribute to this task group?
- Tell me about a time you had difficulties working with a manager.
- How you deal with criticism from managers or colleagues.
Preparing Answers To Teamwork Questions
Before you start preparing your answers to teamwork questions you expect, it’s important to take into account that teamwork is an essential aspect of their company culture and work environment. In many industries, teamwork and the ability to collaborate efficiently and effectively is crucial for success.
This means that if you enjoy working individually or if you lack the right interpersonal skills, this could hurt your chances of landing the job. Therefore, avoid making such an impression at all costs.
Below we discuss a couple of steps that you can take to figure out which questions you can expect and how you should prepare answers for those questions.
Research the company & job description
Start with thoroughly studying the company and job description. Based on your research, you need to find out a couple of important aspects of the position and company. The most important one is the skills required for the job you’re applying for and the experience that the company values. Understanding what the company looks for in a qualified candidate is essential for success. This will enable you to position yourself as the best candidate for the job.
Furthermore, make sure you do some research on the key players in the organization and any news or recent events about the company. Also, make sure you have a good understanding of the company culture, its mission, and its core values. Other key aspects to focus on are key clients, products, and services.
It’s also wise to research the people that you will be interviewing with. This will give you an advantage during your interview because you will have a better chance of connecting with them and get a meaningful conversation.
Identify the required competencies and skills
Based on your research, you can identify the required competencies and skills for the job. The majority of interview questions about teamwork will be behavioral questions. Behavioral interview questions about teamwork are a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your talent, skills, and experience. In other words, your suitability for the job.
For example, the interview could ask, ‘Tell me about a time when you and your team had to complete a project under a tight deadline.’ If you answer this question with a specific scenario in which you successfully performed as part of a team, this will give your answer more weight and will, therefore, be more convincing.
However, to be able to provide a strong answer on the spot requires preparation. It’s essential that you explain the situation to the interviewer, your task in that situation, the actions you took, and the results you got from your actions. In short, this is called the STAR method of answering behavioral interview questions.
Based on the most important competencies and skills regarding teamwork that you have identified, you can prepare answers to behavioral interview questions. Based on your research, you can make an educated guess about interview questions about teamwork that you can expect.
Create a list of work experiences related to the job requirements
Based on your research and specific teamwork skills you have identified, you can start making a list of related work experiences. Make sure to highlight situations where you demonstrated successful teamwork behavior related to the competencies, skills, and abilities required for the job.
Focus on delivering a concise and to-the-point answer. Make sure to prepare approximately answers to 3 to 5 common interview questions per topic. If you’re creative, you can prepare your answer scenarios in such a way that the skills you describe in it apply to multiple types of questions.
For example, when answering common questions about teamwork, it’s likely that you have used communication skills, problem-solving skills, and adaptability. So, if you have prepared answers and the interviewer skips in-depth interview questions about communication but focuses more on adaptability, you can still use the answer you would have used to answer questions about communication.
Focus on successful situations and challenging ones
When it comes to teamwork situations, the interviewers want to know how you function as part of the team and what your personal views on teamwork are. It’s therefore important that you are able to discuss situations in which you succeeded as part of a team but also times where you failed as part of a team.
Interviewers are interested in discussing successful situations, but they also want to zoom in on challenging teamwork situations that you have encountered. They want to know how you react and handle such situations. For instance, the interviewer might ask you, ‘Tell me about a time you were on a team project that failed.‘ It’s crucial that you are able to reflect on situations in which you failed. They do this to assess your self-awareness. For example, by asking you how you might handle a similar situation differently at the current stage in your career.
Always use the STAR method to structure your answer
When the interviewer asks you about specific teamwork situations, the most efficient way you can answer is according to the STAR interview technique. The STAR method allows you to concisely provide the interviewer an answer by logically walking them through the situation. It’s important that you give your interviewer answers in the form of a story, and you need to structure this story logically.
STAR is an acronym that stands for a situation (S), your task (T) in that situation, the actions (A) you took, and what results (R) you got based on your actions. These are the basic steps you take in your walkthrough. It allows you to efficiently demonstrate the teamwork skills and abilities required for the position and what the interviewer wants to see.
STAR Interview Technique
Behavioral job interview questions are best answered by providing example situations according to the STAR method. This way, you can give interviewers exactly what they are looking for. Also, it allows you to provide a concise and to the point answer about how you acted in previous work situations.
Below, the STAR acronym is broken down into each step.
When you answer the interviewer, start by setting the stage. Provide context around the specific teamwork situation or challenge you and your team were facing. Also, make sure to provide relevant details. When the interviewer asks you questions about challenging situations that you have encountered, make sure that you provide all the details necessary for them to understand what you were up against.
After you describe the situation, talk about your specific responsibilities and what your role was in your team. It’s important that the interviewer gets an understanding of your task during that specific teamwork situation.
Then, talk about the actions you took to resolve the challenges you were facing. Provide the interviewer with a step by step description of what actions you took.
Finally, talk about the outcomes of your and your team’s actions. Make sure to take credit for your behavior that led to the result. Here you answer questions such as What happened? And What results did you get? Also, provide the interviewer with information about what you learned from the situation. Make sure to focus on positive results and positive learning experiences.
Sample Answers To Teamwork Interview Questions
Below we discuss a couple of example answers to common teamwork interview questions. However, these are ‘general’ examples. Do not forget to structure your own answers in a way that includes enough detail to convince the interviewer that you’re the right person for the job!
Teamwork Example Question 1: ‘What’s your opinion on teamwork vs. individual work?‘
‘My five years of experience in different sales positions made me comfortable working within a team as well as working alone. A lot of sales meetings are one-on-one with clients who are good to discuss details discretely, but I definitely understand the value of teamwork too.
Creative sessions within our sales teams really benefited my approach to sales strategy, setting targets, and general best practices. Also, having a team behind you can create greater confidence among the team members because there’s always someone that can advise you in certain situations.’
Why this is a strong answer:
- The provided example is related and relevant to teamwork.
- This answer shows that you understand the value of teamwork in determining but also that you’re also pro-active when you need to work alone.
Teamwork Example Question 2: ‘Tell me about a time you worked successfully as part of a team.‘
‘I tend to do well in team settings because I can relate to others well, approach situations professionally, and through my experience, understand what it takes to get the job done.
For example, in my previous position, I worked as a team leader on a project that involved members from different departments with different backgrounds and skills. This group was put together to finalize the project as a collective and produce a result that we could not have achieved individually. As you can imagine, ongoing and clear communication was very important during this project.
I led the project and broke the project down in weekly sprints to help us reach our targets. Besides weekly meetings, I organized a short 15-minute session at the start of each day, where each team member would answer the following three questions: 1. What did I do since yesterday? 2. What will I do today? And what problems am I running into? These meetings made sure that everybody could continue their work instead of waiting for the weekly meeting to discuss their issues.
For me, this was a great way to stay in constant communication with the team and not only focus on our own goals but also helping team members in reaching theirs. The result of the project is that we provided five distinct deliverables and recorded over $100,000 is cost savings in the last two quarters.
Why this is a strong answer:
- The provided example is related and relevant to a time you successfully worked as part of a team.
- This answer shows important team skills such as being pro-active, leadership & management skills, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.
- The new situation led to increased productivity, which gives more weight to the scenario in which you had to adapt.
Teamwork Example Question 3 (Entry-Level): ‘Are you a team player? Can you give me an example?’
‘Throughout my academic and professional career, I have developed my skills as a team player. I have played rugby since middle school, and it has taught me the value of communication, contributing to a team effort and reaching a shared goal. I understand what it means to be a part of something that is bigger than just myself.
During my summer internship at XYZ Bank, I was asked to join a team to work on a project because they needed an additional team member. As I joined an already established team, it was important that I stayed on track to deliver my parts of the project. Even though I was only responsible for a small part of the project as a whole, other team members relied on me to prove my work in order to progress.
I made sure I kept everybody updated during the weekly meetings and worked closely with several senior team members. This way, I made sure that I stayed on track and was able to get feedback on my work frequently. I delivered my parts successfully, and the project was ready to go into the next phase. For me, this was a very informative and educational experience on efficient teamwork.’
Why this is a strong answer:
- The provided example is related and relevant to teamwork skills.
- This answer shows that you have what it takes to be part of a team but also have the potential to grow.
- This answer shows important skills such as being pro-active, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.
- The new situation led to increased productivity, which gives more weight to the scenario in which you had to adapt.
Teamwork Example Question 4: ‘Tell me about a time you had difficulties working with a manager.‘
‘In my previous job, I worked with a team manager, where I initially had difficulties getting along with. With regard to my job performance, I got less feedback than I got from other managers in my career, which made it difficult to meet expectations at times. This made it hard for me to evaluate my performance, as well. In the beginning, we had some disagreements, but these were based on misunderstandings.
I requested a meeting with him and asked if he could provide me with more direct and specific feedback on work that needed to be done. He understood what I asked him, and from that day on, we were on the same page in terms of expectations. We had a successful working relationship for over three years after that meeting and worked together on multiple projects. Eventually, he got promoted, and I got a new manager to run the team. What I learned from my previous experience is that I should take time to discuss management styles with new managers and make sure that expectations from both sides are clear.’
Why this is a strong answer:
- The provided example is an honest answer about a difficult time with a manager.
- Furthermore, the answer described how you proactively approached the situation to successfully resolve the situation. This gives the answer more weight.
Teamwork Example Question 5: ‘Describe a time when you were part of a team and had to perform a task you had little or no experience in doing.’
‘In my previous position, my manager had to unexpectedly leave for six months due to a medical condition. Because of this unexpected turn of events, our director asked me to step in as an interim manager. At the time, I was familiar with the basics of management and what my manager was looking for in our team because I worked with her for quite some time. However, I was certainly not trained to be a manager yet.
I accepted the interim position because I enjoy challenges and was confident enough to think that I could do it. I gathered the team and told them about the situation we were in. Also, I asked them to cooperate together as well as possible and that we had to get through this period together. Furthermore, I asked another manager to coach me during the process to make sure all projects would stay on track, and the team would stay productive.
We managed to get through the six months very well, and all the projects were finished on time. When my manager returned, she was very pleased with the work the team delivered, and I even got compliments from our director. My performance led to me being promoted to team manager myself at the end of that year.’
Why this is a strong answer:
- This example shows that you’re not hesitating when uncertain events occur but also that you possess teamwork skills and leadership potential.
- The provided example is relevant and directly related to the question and teamwork in general. Furthermore, it show’s that you’re able to adapt when a situation asks for it.
- This answer shows important skills, such as being proactive, stress management, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and creative thinking.
- Your choice of taking up the task of interim manager turned out successful, which gives more weight to the situation.