Describe a Time When You Had to Work As Part of a Team

Describe a Time When You Had to Work As Part of a Team

How to Answer the Interview Question: Describe a Time When You Had to Work As Part of a Team.

An essential aspect of work is teamwork; often, employees and staff are grouped into teams to help boost productivity and output. Every organization has different departments and units. In some of these departments, different teams are formed to enhance work. Regardless of your preferences, you might be required to work as part of a team at some point in your career. Even if your job requires you to work individually most times, you can be made to join a team for a particular task, project, or endeavor.

During interviews, the hiring manager asks questions related to teamwork; one of such questions is describing a time when you had to work as part of a team. At first glance, the question seems tough and tricky; however, you are merely expected to highlight and emphasize the skills that enable you to function well in a team. Some of these skills include active listening, collaboration, interpersonal, cooperation, and cross-cultural working skills amongst others. Also, most employers expect candidates to show how they employed such skills in a team; you should have measurable outcomes or results to buttress on. Overall, conclude by displaying how your teamwork skills led to the success of the project or the growth of the organization as a whole.

Similarly, the employer or organization is interested in finding out if your work style and experience will benefit their team and vice versa. Since teamwork varies and looks different in every organization; try and demonstrate the core skills and expertise needed for teamwork at the workplace. Your job may be independent by nature, but at some point in your career or post-secondary experience, you have worked as part of a team. Hence, discuss the project and accentuate the specific role you played in the group or team.

In addition, highlight and explain how your capabilities and ability to work in a team will enable you to succeed in the role you are interviewing for.  Also, it is advisable to connect or relate your most significant accomplishment in a team to the role or position. Remember, hiring managers and employers are interested in candidates who can contribute immensely to the growth of the team and organization. Thus, be ready to talk about your ability to work with others so you can respond properly to the question above.


Why Do Hiring Managers Ask Job Applicants to Describe a Time They Worked as Part of a Team?

Questions about teamwork are asked for several reasons which include;

  • To determine your problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • To know if the job applicant will be a good culture fit for the organization.
  • Interpersonal and collaboration skills are essential in most work settings; the interviewer wants to ensure that only candidates that possess such skills are hired.
  • Also, the hiring manager wants to see how you applied your communication, active listening, and conflict management skills to get work done.


How to Answer the Question: Describe a Time When You Had to Work As Part of a Team

Enumerated below are steps to take when answering the question;

  • Provide details of the time when you had to be part of the team.
  • Mention the assigned task
  • Enumerate all the actions you took
  • Expatiate on the outcome of the action.

Provide details of the situation when you had to be part of a team: After thinking of a time you worked in a team, provide the details of the situation. What happened? Was it a project? Don’t leave any information out; it is important to give details when asked to describe a time you worked as part of a team. Remember, you are expected to paint a specific picture of the situation in your story. Hence, mention the team members you worked with and state why the situation happened.

Mention the assigned task: In every organization, team projects come with specific goals and tasks. What was the target or end goal of the project for example? Were there milestones to be achieved? What was every team member expected to do? Importantly, what were your responsibility and duty? Were you the team leader? Provide information on these and more when answering. It is paramount to explain your specific role in the task and why you were involved. There should also be a background story.

Enumerate all the actions you took: With every responsibility comes an expected action. What was the exact thing you did to get the job done? Specifically, discuss the actions you took to resolve the situation. Also, mention why you chose to complete the task the way you did.

Expatiate on the outcome of the actions: Finally, provide details of the results or outcome of your action whilst highlighting your strengths. What was the outcome? How did you feel about the result? What did you learn from the project and team? How did the situation influence who you are today?


Things to Consider to Provide a Good Answer

The answer to the question should be based on the following examples of skills related to working with others;

  1. Mediating conflict between coworkers.
  2. Recognizing the achievements of others.
  3. Delegating certain tasks to other team members.
  4. Coming to a consensus within the entire group.
  5. Team building exercises.
  6. Using active listening to understand and act on a team member’s idea or opinion.

Other important tips include keeping a positive tone and maintaining a straight pose


Sample Answer to the Question

I worked on a small team of analysts in my last corporate job. Each of us was assigned a certain set of data to analyze daily, and then at the end of each day, we compared our results and tried to draw some conclusions for the sales team. I enjoyed the team meetings and it helped with my motivation to know that my colleagues depended on the results of my work; that if I did not do my share, we wouldn’t be able to produce the outcome for the sales department as a team. What’s more, we were supportive of each other and helped each other with the heavy workload. All in all, it was a great experience, and I hope to work on a similar team in the job I try to get with you.

Interview Questions

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