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Are You a Team Player – What if You’re Not?

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job question - are you a team player?Everyone knows that job interviews aren’t easy.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong and there are certainly plenty of questions that can be answered incorrectly, in the eyes of the employer or hiring manager. One of the most intimidating questions for people in the job interview is:

“Are you a team player?”
While the obvious answer is yes, most employers want you to expand on this question by offering examples and explaining how you can be a valuable member of their team.

Remember that like all interview questions, this should be a forward-thinking answer.

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That is, provide them with an answer that suggests what you can do for THEM, not what you have done in the past. There are plenty of different ways to answer this question, and they all start with saying yes.

Once you get past the easy part, there are many qualities that you will need to talk about and demonstrate to show that you have evidence to back up your statement.

Your ability to work in a team environment depends on factors like:

  • Being able to work well with others
  • Being non-judgmental and professional
  • Listening
  • Being a likeable person
  • Being empathetic
  • Accepting others’ opinions and views
  • Respect
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Providing feedback in a professional manner
  • Positive attitude
  • Communication skills

When you can speak about these abilities, your employer will be much more willing to believe your ability to work in a team environment. You need to discuss how you can be a team player, which skills you possess that make you a valuable asset to any team, and what you could do as a part of their team to help make things run smoother and get the job done efficiently.

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(More:) on the Team Player Interview Question

If you feel the need, you can give examples of how you have been a team player in the past. Your answers should always pertain to the position at hand and how you can help the employer, but this doesn’t work every time.

If you can’t come up with an answer that fits or you want to provide a more concrete example of your ability to work in a team environment, using examples from previous experiences is going to be okay. Interview questions like this one can be tricky, but you need to get them right so that you can get the job.

What if You’re Not a Team Player?

The fact of the matter is that some people just work better on their own. If this is your case, you need to let the employer know. A simple statement that says that you are capable of being respectful and getting the job done when it is necessary to work with others is a good choice.

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Explain that you can get things done and be a productive member of the team, but that you tend to have better results when you are working alone. If the job calls for social interaction and a team environment, however, you need to be willing to adapt and prove that you can fit in if you want the position.

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by Don Georgevich

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