Interview Question Series: What Makes You a Good Team Player?

TIPS   8 July 2022

Being quizzed about your teamwork abilities is a favourite in interviews, but is there a right answer? In the next of our interview series, we share tips on how to survive the “are you a good team player?” question, even if working as a part of the team isn’t your strong point.

Although the ability to work individually is essential, being a team player is desirable among the majority of companies. Believe it or not, over 75% of employers rate team work and collaboration as “very important”, while 97% of executives believe that lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.  Team work is particularly important in operations jobs and human resources roles.

So… Do you prefer working on your own or as part of a team?

Now, this question is a tricky one. If you prefer to work independently, it’s fine to be honest, as long as you outline that you can see the benefits of working collaboratively and are positive about doing so in the right circumstances.

“I love challenges, so working individually is a great way for me to take full responsibility for a project. However, working as part of a team, on the other hand, is extremely helpful for projects that require creative collaboration. For example …”

Tell me about a team project that you worked on.

If your current role requires more individual approach, don’t be afraid of bringing in team work examples from the past.

Try to think about any university projects when a high-level of successful collaboration between you and your colleagues was vital, explaining the reasons behind it.

If you don’t have any specific examples, you might want to draw from previous experiences where you’ve gained or used skills that are beneficial in successful team working. For example, collaboration between departments, working under pressure or thinking outside the box.

How would you deal with a difficult team member?

Working closely with others is not always pleasant, especially under a pressurised circumstances, so whichever industry you are in you must be prepared to handle a difficult team member.

If you already have some valuable experience of working as part of a large team and have witnessed problematic behaviour, then you can use an appropriate example from your past to qualify your skills.

If the scenario of handing a difficult team member is a new experience for you, then don’t be afraid to share what you feel are professional solutions that could be applied to calm the situation. An informal face-to-face meeting for example, to establish the root cause of the issue, would be a great initial suggestion.

Getting ready for your next interview? Tackle those tricky interview questions with Bucks and Berks and check out our blog section here. Good luck!

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