Job Interview Question: Are You a Team Player?

Crafting a Successful Interview Response About Teamwork

team meeting in office
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"Are you a team player?" You'll hear that question in pretty much every interview you'll ever participate in. That's probably because working on a team is crucial to nearly much every position, from entry level to director. Here are some points to consider and the best ways to answer.

Understand the Nature of Teamwork

Before you answer, consider how you best contribute to a team.

  • Do you get along easily with people?
  • Are you an effective collaborator?
  • Can you communicate with people from various backgrounds and with different personalities?
  • Can you motivate people?
  • Do you know how to push back tactfully?
  • Can you mediate conflicts?
  • Can you deal with difficult personalities?

Tips for Answering Interview Questions

When talking about teamwork and relating anecdotes to share your accomplishment, keep these suggestions in mind:

1.  Stick with recent examples. Try to choose an example from the past unless something older is especially impressive. Relaying an outdated story about how you worked with a team to get the whole company access to high speed internet doesn't grab attention.

2.  Toot your own horn. Pick an experience that shines the spotlight on you and shows how you contributed to a team that achieved spectacular results.

3. Consider relevance. Relay an example that's most relevant to the company you're interviewing with.

Draw the parallel so they can see how you'd succeed on a team with them.

4. Add value. Choose an example that serves to demonstrate added strengths in addition to team work.

5. Focus your response. Highlight your story in bullet point form rather than memorizing a script.

Sample Answers About Working on a Team

  • I enjoy working in a team environment, and I get along well with people. In my past work experience, I implemented a system to help organize the communication between my coworkers to enhance our productivity as a team.
     
  • I believe that I have a lot to contribute to a team environment, and am comfortable in both leadership and player roles. I'm outgoing, friendly, and have strong communication skills.
     
  • I prefer teamwork. Different team members contribute different perspectives and the synergy between team members can produce creative and productive results.
     
  • Collaborating with others helps to teach you more about yourself and your own strengths and weaknesses. Are you a better listener than a leader? Are you better at coming up with big ideas or putting them into action?
     
  • Working in teams is both beneficial and challenging. It can help you help develop communication, negotiation and problem solving skills while enabling you to share ideas. It can also be more enjoyable since we all like to belong. However, it's also a challenge in that it exposes you to new and perhaps unfamiliar ways of working along with new ideas that you might not be comfortable with. 
     
  • Team work give me a greater sense of responsibility in creating unity among the team members and thus helps to further my professional development. I think it's also a fruitful process in that team members with certain strengths balance out people with certain weaknesses and we can all learn from each other.
     
  • I think team work leads to increased productivity and performance: groups that have a good synergy can achieve more than employees working on their own. Team work brings together people with a broad range of skills and allows me to deepen my understanding of a particular challenge.
     
  • Team work helps me sharpen my interpersonal skills -- speaking confidently and assertively while also actively listening to others. It's a great scenario in which to develop leadership skills.

Job Interview Questions and Answers

Interview Questions and Answers
Typical job interview questions and sample answers.

Interview Questions to Ask
Questions for candidates for employment to ask the interviewer.