Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. – Henry Ford
Humankind is a species that needs to rely on one another for greater success. Even the smallest of contributions sometimes go a long way in making or breaking it.
It is rather an appropriate time to put in perspective the odds against which Leicester Football Club won the Premier League in England in the 2015-16 season with a team value of a mere $27million, with its competitors’ team values going up to hundreds of millions.
Competing against teams with heavy wallets as Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Manchester City - Leicester competed with odds running up to 5000:1 against their favor. To put some more perspective, the odds of Barack Obama playing for the English Cricket Team were at 5000:1, and the same were the odds for Elvis Presley being found alive that year!
So, what triggered this miracle?
It is the holy trinity of teamwork:
Set smaller goals. Never rule out the impossible.
Give consistent efforts.
Believe in yourself and your team.
This is precisely what teamwork is all about. Putting forth a helping hand whenever your teammate is in trouble, with the trust and understanding that it is a mutual responsibility, is what the entire team should be ready to take.
There is every probability that you have come across a situation where you were asked about teamwork, maybe in school or a job while delivering those last finishing touches to an app collaborating with another team.
In essence, teamwork is the collective effort to achieve a group's common goal with continued efforts. It is but the trust and mutual understanding of covering up for each other whenever someone is stuck in a fix or facing errors in pushing the codes – organizations expect it to be a part of your basic work ethic to look out for your teammates.
An ideal team player is always ready with one step ahead whenever called for and is ready to go the extra mile to help his/her teammate to deli the task within the deadlines.
So are you the one, your colleague calls, like Jen used to call Maurice or Roy whenever in computer trouble in the British Sitcom - The IT Crowd?
It is also advisable not to get into unnecessary disputes or face-offs with your teammates. Maintaining professional decorum is a must, no matter the situation. Sitting and brainstorming a solution favorable to everyone is one of the go-to choices for team players. Understanding your team's strengths and weaknesses and having an intuition for possible issues is a quality that can lead you to greater success in answering technical interview questions and coming out with a victory.
Working well with team members and clients, supervisors, and the external public is a part of your dynamism in teamwork.
Some key factors which drive the team member in you are:
And sometimes, even when not called for.
How far are you ready to go for your team?
The secret is to gang up against the problem, not each other. –Thomas Stallkamp
Now that you are acquainted with the reach of the roots of teamwork, it does seem only normal that teamwork interview questions are not a rarity anymore. The aces you bring to the table for you and your teammates at the game also make the difference, more often than not. Preparing for team player interview questions only will seem difficult if you are the lone wolf. But, if truth be told, in a competitive corporate dependent civilization, you can only achieve as much going out all guns blazing on your own.
Teamwork interview questions give a sneak peek at the versatility you possess to mold yourself as per the team's requirements. Gauging your ability to back your team up under crunch deadlines is all which exposes your mettle.
You are going to work for an organization not just based on your talents. For you to thrive and grow as an individual and a team member, it is important how susceptible you are towards constructive criticism and your efforts in overcoming those.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. – Michael Jordan
Why do Employers Ask Teamwork Interview Questions?
John is the ideal candidate for the position of Senior Back-end Programmer as per his resume. But everything seemed so perfect, and hence, Mr. Brunt, the MD of BHK Digital Works, is quite doubtful. He decides to ask a very commonly asked yet an apt question to measure John’s credibility as a team member. Team building interview questions are his favorite, and he could not wait to test this candidate. All he asked John is to give an example of a time when he and his team failed to complete a task on time.
The answer delighted Mr. Brunt and he instantly clears John for the round. 3 years fast forward, John is a project manager and shows unforeseen potential to become a key asset for the company with his incredible work accountability and man-management skills. Mr. Brunt smiles to himself and pats him back. He could not be any more proud of hiring John that day.
So, what is the key takeaway from this interview question for teamwork?
The primary intentions of Mr. Brunt asking that particular question were to:
Do you believe you have adequate answers ready for these teamwork-based interview questions? If so, you are already a step forward towards becoming an integral part of an organization, with dedication and perseverant efforts.
Teamwork makes the dream work. – Bang Gae
With all the teamwork talk, you probably are still wondering how to answer if in case such interview questions do come up. Let us show you some quick tricks to answer teamwork-based interview questions.
While answering teambuilding interview questions, you need to be ready with an answer which entails what the situation is, what is your role in the situation, the course of action you chose, and what the end outcome is, based on:
S – Situation: Portray the situation which you were in and the possible hurdles in it. Make it to the point. Do not go beating around the bush at all.
T – Task: Your next priority is to briefly detail the overall goal of the work – the mission you are working to realize, with your team.
A – Action: This is the time to show the interviewer that you are no stranger to taking quick calls.
And efficient too!
R – Result: All the hard work you put into preparing your answer goes down the drain if you are not ready with an appropriate statistical or any other irrefutable evidence of the positive effects of your actions.
Using this STAR method always pays dividends as it portrays qualities, both in the situational and behavioral fronts. After all, employers are looking to add positive contributors to effectively expand their organization. Nobody is looking for slackers to work for them and spoiling the work for the team, as well as themselves.
Answering in this technique puts forth your prowess in an organized and detailed approach and sheds light on the efforts you put even in preparing your team building interview question answers.
Today’s effort is tomorrow’s gain.
If you are at a loss as to how to answer such interview questions, release all your stress and go through the following Q&A to have a comprehensive grasp on the basics, besides taking additional technical interview preparation courses to guide you through.
Q1. Give some examples of your teamwork.
A. What they want to know: When the interviewer directs a question of this sort, better be on your guard. Do not include unnecessary tit-bits to drag the answer. Ensure that you let them know of a situation where teamwork really helped the situation and is still a valuable lesson to you for upholding team spirit in the workplace. Do not forget to mention your skills and the aces you have got in your armory.
Sample answer: At my last job, the failure to deliver a crucial project was imminent. With no other choice, I approached another team and asked for help. Three of the team members were immediately ready to help out, and we successfully delivered the project on time. This incident makes me realize the importance and strength of working as a team in a team.
Q2. How do you feel about working in a team?
A. What they want to know: This question is but to test your flexibility in working as a part of the team and how acquainted you are with the feeling of being a part of the bigger picture. The last thing that the organization is looking for is a selfish giant and spoiling their game. Is it not?
Sample answer: I find it best to work with a team, as I know that collective effort is always greater than individual efforts in achieving a greater goal. I prioritized my team’s interest, put every effort to uphold my part of the job, and went the extra mile whenever necessary. It is my belief that organizational success is a product of effective teams working in tandem.
Q3. What makes your teamwork skills different from anyone else’s?
A. What they want to know: Before understanding what they want to know, do you know that all employers are looking for is to add versatility in the workforce, so even when the waters get rough, there are enough skilled sailors to guide the ship to safety.
And to ensure that you are suitable for the job, this is an apt question, as the interviewer is in a position where he/she is aware of the organization's needs, based on which the hiring will be done.
Even the smallest detail counts.
Sample answer: In my past experience, I have come across situations where out-of-the-box thinking was necessary to deliver the project, and somehow everybody seemed to be in a fix. I came up with a solution by observing the issues and errors and the possible causes. This was when I decided who can do the work's share, who can contribute to their fields of expertise, which actually helped us complete the task on time. Understanding my team's strengths is something I usually excel at and make the right calls when they matter.
Q4. How do you feel about working in a team environment?
A. What they want to know: Such team player interview questions signify that the employers need to know your dynamism in a professional workplace and your ability to work in positive teamwork-centric work culture. If you cannot work well with others, it is almost redundant to say that the employers will not be exactly thrilled to hire you.
Sample answer: As per my past experiences, I always achieve the best with a team to thrive. I understand the dynamics of working with a team and the importance of being ready for the moment at all times. I excel at communicating with my peers and am an intent listener when called upon, whether for help or feedback. Improvement can only be made with successful teamwork, and this is something I always believe.
Don’t aspire to be the best on the team. Aspire to be the best for the team. - Brian Tracy
Q5. Do you prefer teamwork or working independently?
A. What they want to know: Whether it is an android app developing company or a graphics designing company, any and every employer will want to know what your working style is and how well you gel with the new work environment and work culture. Supervision is not spoon-feeding, and they expect you to know that.
Sample answer: I prefer to work in a friendly team-centric work environment. However, I know how to do what I need to do, but only after the task is assigned. Before that, I always communicate and exchange opinions with my team members. Once I am aware of the job I have at hand, I prefer doing it my way, in adherence to the guidelines, of course. And I am privileged to have had the chance to do so in my previous stints and come out successfully.
Q6. What aspects do you think you can change about yourself to become a better team member?
A. What they want to know: When the employer has such team player interview questions to ask, it is evident that he/she is looking for an honest answer from you, which would help them gauge the effectiveness of the steps you are taking to overcome these. Moreover, this also speaks volumes of your self-awareness about your shortcomings while working in a team and your consistent efforts to resolve the issue.
Sample answer: I feel I take some time to understand the team dynamics, and it takes some time to communicate freely with my team. I am working on my communication skills to overcome this hurdle and have made considerable progress since.
Q7. How will your previous team describe you as a team member?
A. What they want to know: It is only natural to ask such a team player-based interview question as it can shed daylight on how you can assess yourself from a team member's point of view. The interviewer is trying to get the hang of your observation skills and your ability to critically evaluate yourself as a part of the team.
Sample answer: I always try my best to adjust myself as per the needs of the team. Thankfully, in my previous job as a software developer, I worked as a part of a very appreciative and encouraging team. On many occasions, they have applauded my decision-making ability in crunch situations and having a knack to make the right calls. My team often appreciated my unrelenting dedication to back them up whenever needed.
Q8. What kind of personalities do you prefer in your team to work with?
A. What they want to know: It is vital for the employer to know what kind of people you tend to work within tandem and produce the best results for the best interest of their own organization. Knowing so will help them measure the dynamics you bring in the team and what the team can benefit from your inclusion.
Sample answer: I can work well with most kinds of personalities. However, it does take some time to get used to understanding the system the team operates in and what is expected of me as a part of the team. I keep no stone unturned to streamline my work with my team and be as co-operative as possible to be a versatile and integral member of the team.
Q9. How do you deal with a situation where your co-worker is not putting in the level of effort expected from him/her?
A. What they want to know: It is a common occurrence that a teammate is not always putting in the level of effort and commitment which is expected of him/her. The management must know that such a situation will not put you off guard, and you are capable enough to handle the situation tactfully and do the needful to rectify the ways.
Sample answer: When I worked previously as a Data Analyst, this particular issue was hampering the project's progress, and we were about to miss the deadline. First, I tried to have a conversation regarding the situation and what is expected of him. I asked if anything is bothering him, upon which he shared his reasons for stress, which resulted in this juncture. I understood he needed time, and indeed, after that, he turned the table, and we were able to deliver the project on time. I thanked him for his efforts in pulling things around.
Q10. What is your preferred style of communication with your team?
A. What they want to know: In a modern world, communication is at the tip of your fingers. However, just like all five fingers are not the same, different people have a separate style of communication. And it is only understandable if you come across such an interview question for teamwork because nobody wants an employee who is not really approachable or available for communication during working hours.
Would you prefer someone on your team who is unreachable most of the time?
Communication is integral to smooth workflow, and your recruiter must be sanguine that you can be contacted during office hours or if any emergency comes up.
Sample answer: I am available for official communication during working hours at all costs. Nonetheless, if I am asked about preference, I admit that I am not comfortable with long telephonic calls. But, email or texting on platforms like WhatsApp, Hangouts, or face-to-face interactions is always my forte.
Q11. Tell me about a time you worked well as part of a team.
A. What they want to know: They want to know how well you perform working in a team and how quickly you adapted to the needs of the team. Your immediate reactive measures to counter a situation, keeping in mind the strengths and weaknesses of the team and helping out whenever the need arises, is crucial. This attribute is but to ensure that you are someone the company can depend on, and so can the team you will be inducted into.
Sample answer: I am always looking to add versatility to the team with my unique skill set. I thrive in a hard-working and resilient team, and thankfully, in my last stint, I got the perfect opportunity when the team was in dire straits with some coding errors. I took a preliminary decision where the fault may be and discussed it with another of my teammates. Together, we overcame the hurdles, which also showed me I can be an instrumental catalyst to any team.
Q12. What role have you played in team situations?
A. What they want to know: It is no rocket science that the employers are looking to hire people who can add value to the group. However, just adding value does not always make the cut.
So, what does?
It is your ability to live by your examples at the workplace and how well you can lead a team even in times of distress. It is the out-of-the-box thinking capability that gives you the edge over others, and making sure to take full advantage of it is a top priority. The interviewer is trying to gauge whether a sinking ship is a matter of running away for you or you’ll catch the sails yourself and guide the ship through.
Sample answer: My instincts in taking the right call make me a dependable choice as a leader of a team. Nonetheless, I always take the back-seat and let someone else take the reins, if necessary, with added experience and in-depth knowledge in the concerned project. Team role is also about understanding the best for your team – which is always my top priority to achieve success within the company framework.
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean. - Ryunosuke Satoro
Q13. Have you ever had difficulty working with a manager or other team members?
A. What they want to know: Employers are well aware that not every individual is similar, and difference of opinion is a given in an organization, working with a team. How well you can cope with an adverse situation is something that helps them gauge what you do when there is a clash of interest in a team and how you deal with it with a professional demeanor.
Issues with the supervisor are not exactly the best preferences for your employer, and ensuring that you are someone who works well under the supervision and alone as well with your own guidance can bode in your favor.
Sample answer: Difference in opinion is a key contributor to a variety of problem-solving measures. Difficulty working with a manager or a team member comes across sometime or the other, like in my last company. One of my teammates had raised a concern that I sometimes overlooked client requirements to meet deadlines. I decided to communicate with the teammate and informed him/her that it is, in fact, the client who changed the requirements. He understood the mistake and apologized.
Communication is the key to solving any conflict, and I always make proactive efforts to resolve any issue which may cause hindrance in team performance and output.
Miscommunication is common; efforts to overcome it are rare.
Q14. Tell me about a challenging workplace situation that you had to deal with.
A. What they want to know: Difficulties in the workplace are almost a given. Employers are not looking for people who take a step back at the sight of any difficulty. It is, in fact, their goal to get problem-solvers with effective critical thinking. It also measures how well you can fare when the tides are against you. You must play a crucial part in the decision-making process, whether or not you get to go home with a fat paycheck.
Challenges are the cornerstone of versatility and without difficulties on the road, who can be a skilled driver?
Giving the answer in the STAR method can be of great help, which can discuss the situation, what your task was, the actions you took, and the result. Do not add unnecessary details that distract the interviewer.
Sample answer: Once, the client asked us to build a repository program for organizational tracking data storage. As a MySQL specialist, it was my job to handle the back-end development. However, almost at the brink of the delivery deadline, our client made some changes, which hurt our progress and made it nearly impossible for us to deliver the product on time.
In frenzy, I decided to talk to another project manager, asked for opinions on how to go about it, and decided to hold a team session. The brainstorming session worked miracles, and as people got more acquainted with what needs to be done, the execution was underway faster that we expected. We ultimately delivered the project within the deadline, in fact, with time to spare!
Q15. How would you rate your collaboration skills?
A. What they want to know: At times, there may be an urgent need to collaborate with other teams to deliver the client the product within the due date. It becomes necessary to be able to successfully streamline and collaborate to effectively work with the project flow. It, thus, is important for the employers to measure your mental flexibility to adapt to a sudden change in the working environment and groups, along with your ability to sustain your performance level. Your best shot is to answer with a competency teamwork example to bolster your chances.
Sample answer: Fortunately, in my previous company, I got the chance to collaborate with another team, as they were short of a data engineer, and I happened to just have completed the project I was last involved in. I immediately agreed, and incidentally, it is one of the biggest successes of my professional career so far. Working well and collaborating is something I always look forward to because of the exposure. Simultaneously, a change from the usual schedule helps me keep the right amount of variation and valuable experience.
When you need to innovate, you need collaboration. - Marissa Mayer
Best ways to boost the morale of a co-worker, down in the dumps – without much effort:
Q16. What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
A. What they want to know: It is almost evident that they want to fathom your capability to enhance the working environment as a team leader, and what are the tricks you have up your sleeve when possibly the team will be at a dead end on developing a client repository application, due to some unforeseen issues. Such questions about communication and teamwork are meant to judge the candidate’s innate ability to reach out to the team and answer a distress call if any.
Do you go down the slumps, or does the leader in you take over?
Sample answer: I would communicate with my team, and sit for a brainstorming session, and search for a possible solution. The team must know they are trying their best, and we must set achievable goals on a short term basis and handle the situation objectively. A positive work environment is always my top priority.
Q17. What would you contribute to our team culture?
A. What they want to know: When you go for an interview as an experienced UI development candidate, it is expected that you will bring your own unique skillset and work culture attributes to the team, as well as in the office. It is a given that to succeed, one must know how to contribute positively to the team and provide the expected level of participation and efforts.
Sample answer: When I joined my last organization, there was an issue with the UI of the company application, which somehow showed errors with the repository storage files. I fixed the issue within a couple of weeks, which set a positive precedent for my professionalism and team-centric approach. I am always on the lookout for any possible setbacks while working on a project and taking the best possible measures to brace for the same if the worst happens. However, I believe that consistent and sincere shared team efforts are the keys to success.
Q18. Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for the team.
A. What they want to know: In a world revolving around service and information, it is almost a matter of when, and not if – that you will be called upon to go that extra mile for your team. This interview question for teamwork is intended to find out your commitment towards your team and achieving company goals.
When the time comes, are you ready to step up your game?
Going through the gears in adverse situations and the ability to cope with it play an influential role in your career growth, and of course, the interview you are attending!
Sample answer: At my previous job, I was an integral member of the team due to my effective critical thinking ability and the instincts of making the right call when the team is in trouble. While working on a major project in a tight schedule, one of the team members fell sick. Although it was my week-off after a couple of hard weeks, I did not hesitate to come in and provide a back-up to deliver the work on time. Deadlines always take the top spot in my to-do list, and backing my team up comes second.
Tough times don’t last. Tough teams do. - Robert Schuller
Q19. What if your co-worker takes credit for your work?
A. What they want to know: It is no secret to employers that some team members take undue credit for someone else’s work, wherein the victims, more often than not, do not come forward.
As an employer, would you like a pushover?
The recruiter wants to adjudge your capability of working in a stressful environment and yet keep your own ground.
Sample answer: I would first communicate with the co-worker about the issue and ask for clarification. However, if such an incident recurs, I would try to first resolve the situation by formal communication. I will only take it up to the relevant department if I see that my efforts to rectify the situation are not proving fruitful.
Q20. How do you handle a situation when your team is frustrating to work with?
A. What they want to know: This kind of teamwork interview questions measures your tolerance level, along with your ability to adjust to a stressful situation.
Not all teams will be equally great to work with, but make sure YOU are great to work with!
And this is exactly what the recruiter wants to know, along with what you do to keep yourself motivated to continue performing like an ace, even when the odds are stacked against you.
Sample answer: I understand that not every team will be tailor-made as per my preference. I can always communicate with my team and inform them of the difficulties I am facing. In my experience, this has not always completely resolved the problem, but my team did get better from that point on. A frustrating team to work with is a challenge I take up without much fuss, as I believe positive efforts can always make a situation better.
We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sometimes, you may forget what exactly the safest way to go in an interview is. To ensure that you are always ready for such a situation, here are some tips which you can keep in mind the next time you go for a Google or Netflix job interview.
Prepare even prior to that.
How to Make the Best Impression?
Creating the best impression is all about convincing the interviewer about the team member in you and your efforts in sustaining it. Most organizations are on the hunt for people who add intrinsic value to the company and can play a good hand at achieving the mission and vision of the company. Some helpful tips to aid you to make a great first impression and indicate that you are the X-factor missing from the link are:
Punctuality: Everybody likes an early bird. Punctuality is a trait that every employer seeks in the employees in a world where time is equivalent to money. Never make your employer wait for you.
Formal presentation: Brad always likes to wear formals to work, and not because his supervisor asked him to. Brad wants to maintain a certain degree of professionalism in the workplace. He is, thus, universally praised and appreciated because of his dedicated and perseverant efforts at work.
Presenting yourself formally does not take too many dimes or effort. Be the one who everyone looks up to, like Brad.
Confidence: It must be said that confidence is a great attribute, but ensure it does not cross the fine line between confidence and overconfidence. Nobody likes someone full of talks but no results to show for it. Keep the right attitude, and no work or issue can bog you down if you don’t want it to.
Courtesy call: Being courteous is a must-have attribute to flourish in your career. If you do not have it, imbibe it. Try harder.
Positivity: Negative work attitude is not welcome anywhere. Ensure that you contribute to a positive work environment and do not make it any difficult for your team with any discouragement.
Be the change you want to make.
All said and done, team player interview questions have today become the norm, and there are no two ways about it.
Being a team player is crucial to survive and grow in any organization, and being prepared for such interview questions for teamwork will only take you places – higher and higher.
Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results - Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha.