How to answer “Can you work independently?” in a job interview. Similar interview questions are: “Do you like working alone or with others?” or “Tell me about your experience working independently…” On this page, you can find the perfect example answer and useful interview tips.
The reason why interviewers ask this question is to find out what kind of work environment suits you best, get a sense of your character and self-awareness. They’ll evaluate if your answer lines up with the position, work environment and company culture.
Example Answer (With Experience)
“I surely can work independently. In fact, I prefer working alone when necessary because in some kind of work situations I don’t need to be constantly reassured of my work. For example, in my previous job I had projects that required individual efforts where focus and concentration was important to meet deadlines.
However, some of the projects like [Project 1] and [Project 2] you can see in my resume, required group collaboration to facilitate idea generation and creativity. I really enjoy these kinds of group projects and I believe better business results can be accomplished when everyone is pulling together.”
Example Answer (No Experience)
“On most of my group projects at [University XYZ] it was typical for me to write the allocated chapters in isolation. Working independently improved my productivity, moreover, helped to get these projects off the ground. I also like to take full responsibility and credit for my work.
However, the draft document was always peer reviewed by the wider team and myself. It was a great way to challenge assumptions and break complex tasks into parts. At the end of tasks, I individually polished and scrutinized the work for errors.”
Interview Question Tips
- Don’t limit your preference to either independent or group work situations. You’ll disqualify yourself because most jobs require both.
- Do provide an example that proves you can work well in a team atmosphere as well as take on individual responsibility. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
- Do understand if the position requires you to work alone or not. Thoroughly read the job description and tailor your answer accordingly.