Skills related to teamwork are a major factor in hiring decisions across the board, which is why "How well do you work with others" has become a classic interview question. Hiring managers want to know that you like working with others, but simply stating so is not enough to impress most interviewers. Discover the secrets to answering this question with a bang, making your interpersonal skills readily apparent on the spot.
How to Answer the Question
After stating how well you work with others, expand on your answer to add credibility to your claims. For instance, specify what personality traits make you a good team player, what types of personal interactions you most excel at and how you communicate with different personalities. You can also touch on how you interact with people in different roles, such as customers, team members and managers. If you really want to impress the interviewer, study the job description and company beforehand to understand how teamwork would fit into your role at the company, and use that information to craft your response.
Providing Concrete Examples
Add more credibility to your answer by referencing times you used your interpersonal or teamwork skills to achieve a desired outcome. For example, talk about a time you helped solve a dispute between colleagues concerning a project, or mention how you turned an unsatisfied customer into a loyal brand advocate through good listening and providing a satisfactory solution. Think about potential examples before heading into the interview, focusing on those that indicate how well you might work with others in the new company setting.
Conveying Goals for Interaction
If you want to give more depth to your answers while showing off some good critical thinking, explain how you work with others to accomplish different goals. This might include motivating employees, leading meetings toward greater productivity, mediating conflicts or developing relationships with customers.
Other Questions About How You Work With Others
Interviewers may switch things up by asking variations or related questions, such as whether you prefer to work alone or in a team. In this instance, you may want to be careful about saying you prefer to work alone. One option is to mention you can self-manage well and therefore can produce well on your own, but you also enjoy working on teams. Interviewers might also ask you for a specific example about working on a team or how you handled a team failure. It's good practice to brainstorm multiple teamwork examples from previous experience to prepare for such questions.
Learning to work with others is important and being able to convey this skill to an interviewer is just as essential. What are some other tricky interview questions you've experienced?
Photo courtesy of Raphael Cordeiro at Flickr.com