How to Explain Whether You Prefer Working Individually or in a Group

Casual discussion between coworkers
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When you are applying for an entry-level position, a typical job interview question is, "Did you prefer working independently or in groups when you worked on school assignments or projects?" Potential employers ask this question because some positions require staff members to work in teams on a daily basis, while other portions require employees to work on their own. There is no right or wrong answer.

The only wrong answer is the dishonest answer. If you thrive in group settings then, surely, you won't do well in a job that requires you to work solo behind closed doors. Or worse, a job that requires you to work remotely.

Here are sample interview answers which you can adapt to fit your personal experiences and personality.

Two Answers If You Work Best in a Group

  • For most projects or assignments, I found that having multiple brains working toward the same final product was very beneficial. Also, I've always been a team player, ever since I was in grade school and got involved in team sports. I know that being cooperative, open-minded, and focused are important aspects of being a successful team member and I pride myself on having those qualities.
  • I feel more motivated when I work with a group. I enjoy having other people around to bounce ideas off. I find that one person can say something that jogs your mind and you come up with a completely new creative thought or idea. I really enjoy that kind of experience. Plus, I feel everyone has something different to contribute to an effort because we all come from such diverse backgrounds.

    Two Answers If You Work Best Independently

    • I prefer to work independently or with a single partner. In my opinion, there are too many factors that could be missed when people congregate together in groups of three or more. Also, if I am going to be held accountable for the final result of a project or assignment, I want to be sure that the assignment is done well and that it meets my standards. While this may sound ego-centric, I see it as taking pride in my work and a desire to excel. 
    • I've worked in groups and I've worked independently and I've always seen that when I work independently I can focus much better on the task at hand. I've always been someone who needs peace and quiet in order to concentrate and perform well. If it's too noisy, or there's too much going on around me, I can't formulate my thoughts well. My teachers have told me that I work best aerobically. Meaning, I work hard and fast (and solo), like a runner working out on a treadmill. 

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