When you’re going to a job interview, you can almost certainly expect questions about your team playing skills. Being a team player is important in many job positions, and almost every job will require some level of team skills. This is also the reason why common questions about teamwork such as ‘Are you a team player?’ are asked during job interviews.
Whether you’re applying for a graduate or entry-level position or a more senior or management role: you need to be able to demonstrate that you are able to function successfully within a team. Questions about being a team player are frequently asked job interview questions.
Other ways the interviewer can ask about you being a team player:
- How would you describe yourself as a team player?
- What strategies do you use to motivate your team?
- Can you tell me about a team project that you worked on?
- Tell me about a situation where you displayed your ability to work as part of a team.
- How have you motivated others?
- Could you share a rewarding team experience?
- How would you describe your team working abilities?
In this blog, we discuss why the interviewer is asking questions about whether or not you consider yourself a team player. Also, we tell you what you should focus on when answering this question.
Furthermore, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.
Why Interviewers Ask If You’re A Team Player
Teamwork is essential in virtually any work environment you can think of. Interviewers want to know if you are able to function within a team. Of course, you should answer the question ‘are you a team player?‘ with a yes and follow up with specific work examples of times you successfully worked as part of a team.
The answer and example situations you provide the interviewer should give him or her an indication that you’re easy to get along with and that you’re able to communicate and collaborate with others effectively. Furthermore, your answers should demonstrate that you value teamwork.
Interviewers will use the information you give them to determine if the job that you’re applying for is the right fit for you as well. It’s therefore important that you connect your answers to the job requirements.
In short, the interviewer is looking for answers to the following questions to assess your teamwork skills:
- Are you easy to get along within a professional setting?
- Can you give examples of situations that indicate that you can collaborate well with others?
- Are you able to communicate efficiently and effectively with co-workers?
- Are you a valuable addition to the current team?
- How do you cope with different personalities?
- Can you motivate co-workers to perform (better)?
Answers to the questions above give the interviewer the knowledge that he or she needs to assess whether or not you will perform well in a team and if you fit into the company culture.
Tips For Answering Job Interview Questions About If You’re A Team Player
Everybody has team experiences, whether this was on a professional level during work, during your time in school, in a volunteering position, or during sports. Make sure you have a couple of team experience examples ready that, if possible, specifically relate to the job requirements of the position you’re interviewing for.
It’s smart the thoroughly analyze the job description. By doing so, you can play into what the interviewer might want to hear and relate your answer to the specific job you’re applying for. You can imagine that the interviewer would like to hear how your teamwork skills match those of the requirements in the job description.
Questions about teamwork are usually behavioral interview questions. Behavioral job interview questions focus on past work experiences and how you responded to them. The rationale behind these questions is that by analyzing your past work behavior is the best indicator to predict your future job performance. For interviewers, it’s the most pragmatic way to uncover past work experiences.
Behavioral job interview questions usually start with:
- Give me an example of..
- Tell me about a time when you..
- Describe a situation..
Examples of Behavioral Teamwork 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 when you had to solve a problem with your team.
As you can see, your answers to behavioral teamwork questions need to include work experiences that demonstrate times that you successfully performed the teamwork skill discussed.
The most effective and efficient way to answer behavioral interview questions is by using the STAR interview technique. STAR is an acronym that stands for (S) situation, (T) task, (A) action and (R) result.
Below, the STAR interview technique is described in more detail.
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 concise, to the point, and logically structured answers about how you acted in previous teamwork 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 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 tasks.
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.
What To Include In Answers To Teamwork Interview Questions
Qualities of a good team player include:
- Being engaged in the project and committed to ensuring that the team successfully finishes all needed tasks and duties.
- Being able, but more importantly, willing to help team members in need.
- Communication. This means a commitment to keep everybody on the team updated on any developments related to ongoing projects and the company’s business in general.
- Demonstrating that you’re reliable, responsible, and communicating clearly.
Also, if possible, use a recent example of a rewarding team experience you had. In addition, make sure the situation in your answer is relevant and show that your skills really add value if they hire you.
Furthermore, prepare for follow-up questions about your specific role in the team situation you describe. It’s very challenging for an interviewer to get a real feeling of what a candidate actually accomplished in relation to what the team accomplished as a whole.
The interviewer will ask him or herself, ‘did the team achieve those results because of the candidate or despite the candidate?‘. Logically, a high performing team has a few team members that are just not as productive as the other members of the team are.
If your answer is not clear enough, it’s likely that the interviewer will ask about your specific contributions. Therefore, when you can, always try to quantify your input to the team effort. This way, you can prove your added value to the team.
Sample Job Interview Questions & Answers About Being A Team Player
Below, we discuss a couple of answers to the interview question about being a team player.
Sample Answer 1: ‘Are You A Team Player?’
‘Working within a team environment is something I enjoy and have experience with. I have the ability to compromise, and I’m respectful to co-workers. Also, I’m a good listener as a team member and open to feedback. In my previous job, I was leading the team that was responsible for investigating how we could boost the productivity of the employees by upgrading our office, supplies, and workplaces.
Within the team, we evaluated suppliers by comparing quality, pricing, and service contracts. Based on our initial information gathering, we made a shortlist of 5 suppliers who were interested in upgrading our office. Several members of the team had their preferences, which made it difficult to make a final decision quickly.
I suggested to team up in pairs and pitch each supplier to the team and discuss the pros and cons. This way, everybody on the team would get to know each supplier and take them into consideration based on the pitches that were given. During each pitch, everybody listened closely and asked questions.
Finally, everybody would get to vote on the supplier that would suit our company best. The company has been working with that supplier ever since, and the co-operation has turned out very successful.’
Sample Answer 2: ‘Are You A Team Player?’
‘I tend to do well in team settings because I can relate to others well, approach situations professionally, and through my experience, understands what it takes to get the job done. For instance, in my previous position, I worked 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.
The project was led by a Scrum Master who broke the project down in weekly sprints to help us reach our targets. Besides weekly meetings, we had 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 $200,000 is cost savings in the last two quarters. Furthermore, based on my interest in this agile way of working, I am currently following a training to become a Scrum Master myself. For me personally, I learned a lot during this project, and I was really happy that I was a part of it.
Sample Answer 3: ‘Are You A Team Player?’
‘Throughout my academic and professional career, I have developed my skills as a team player. I have played football 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 ABC 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 on a frequent basis. 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.’
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic