How to answer “When have you worked well in a team?”
The ten dos and don’ts for this ever popular interview question
1. Do think about why you’re being asked the question. Any employer who asks about working in a team wants to know if you’ll fit in with their team dynamic. Do your research into the company values and vision so that you know where you fit in.
2. But don’t go over the top. If you know the company is passionate about charity work, talk about your teamwork in any volunteering you’ve done, but don’t make up charity events that you haven’t done just to impress.
3. Don’t just stick to part-time jobs and internships as examples. An interviewer will want to see that you can show initiative in a team, listen to ideas and motivate others. What about those times you motivated your team in that group work at university? Or when your sports team were losing the championship and you helped them come up with a strategy to succeed.
4. Do think about what makes great teamwork. It’s not just working together. It’s listening, responding to the opinions of others, motivating the group and taking the lead when necessary.
5. Do talk about those different skills! Identify those transferable skills and talk about them. It’s so important that your potential employer can see that you have the initiative to use what you already know to help you succeed.
6. Don’t overkill. There will be any number of other questions that your interviewer wants you to answer. Probably best not to go listing every single team you’ve played for since secondary school (unless it’s super relevant!)
7. Do think about examples before you go into interview. It’s always good to have these kinds of examples at your fingertips, ready to draw upon when you need them, especially if you are attending lots of interviews.
8. But don’t over-prepare. Each interviewer will have their own way of asking the question, so make sure you’re answering it, not just reeling off what you’ve prepared. Do they want to know about your specific teamwork skills? Your experiences? One time you’ve worked well? Listen carefully and respond accurately.
9. Do be honest. As with all interview questions, you’ll feel more confident in your answers if you are telling the truth. Don’t lie just to make yourself sound better, chances are your real life experiences are more impressive anyway!
10. Don’t worry about the question! Everybody has to work in a team at some point in their lives, so with good preparation, honesty, and some careful wording anyone can make even the most humble amateur netball team seem like a lesson in great team work!
Photo: Flickr / Carrie Kaufmann
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