During a job interview you might get the question: “Are you a team player?” or “How would you describe yourself as a team member?” Other similar interview questions are: “Do you prefer working alone or in a team environment?” and “Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?”
The reason why interviewers ask this question is to find out how well you’ve worked in a team before. Although it’s a close-ended question, it should not be answered with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. You have to inform the interviewer about some of your deliverables and contributions to the team.
Example Answer (With Experience)
“I’d consider myself a team player based on my previous experiences. Do you mind me giving an example? At [Company XYZ], I was assigned to collaborate in a 10-person team to work on a seasonal marketing campaign. Each team member had a different background and skill set, which contributed to a synergistic way of working.
I really enjoyed the daily scrum sessions and the effect it had on our team spirit and performance. Each team member was committed and worked towards a shared goal. As a result, we launched a well-performing campaign on [Website] that reached more than [X number] of visitors by the end of the season.”
Example Answer (No Experience)
“I’ve had several rewarding team experiences at [University XYZ]. Do you mind me sharing one? Basically, I had to collaborate in a 5-person team to prepare a business plan in a disciplined manner. Details of the project were commercially confidential.
It was a rewarding experience because our plan proved to be viable and was actually used by a startup here in [City]. During this time, I’ve learned to compromise and listen to the needs of my teammates and use effective communication to keep the whole process productive and efficient.”
Interview Question Tips
- Don’t say that you prefer to work alone. In nearly every position, from entry-level to managerial roles, there is always some sort of teamwork involved. This can also be a project where team members only meetup once a month to update each other about the progress.
- Don’t say you enjoy working with others when your body language indicates otherwise. It’s important to sit up straight and maintain appropriate eye contact. Don’t fold your arms, fiddle with your fingers, hair or clothes. That will only make you seem uncomfortable.
- Do provide an example that proves you are a team player. Demonstrate that you actively contributed to the group, attended meetings and experienced enjoyment in doing so.