Nearly every job posting will ask for candidates who have the ability to work successfully as part of a team. That’s because there are very few jobs that require individuals to work in a bubble. Today, everyone must be able to pull their weight as part of a group, and managers want to know that a new employee can be counted on to make meaningful contributions. So how do you communicate your teamwork skills in an interview?

Teamwork Questions Might be Hidden

Some interviewers may ask a direct question like, “Tell me about the contributions you made to your last team,” but most companies are subtle in their approach, choosing to use behavioral interviewing techniques. In a behavioral interview, the hiring manager asks questions that require you to give real-world examples of how you perform on the job.

Opportunities to demonstrate teamwork present themselves in questions like:

  • Describe a project that required input from people at different levels in the organization.
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a colleague on a project.
  • Tell me what you would do if you were waiting on a colleague to finish a report or present you with critical information you need to hit your own deadline.
  • Tell me about a project in which you were asked to take the lead.
  • Describe a team project that failed.

Questions like these require you to dig back into your work experience and describe how you behaved in team-related scenarios, offering insight into how well you will perform in similar situations in the future.

Putting Your Best (Team) Foot Forward

When practicing and preparing for interviews, here are some criteria you can use to select effective anecdotes to share:

  • Recent examples are always the best, but you can go back further if a story is particularly impressive.
  • Choose stories in which you were the “hero.” Perhaps you developed a process that saved the company money or your quick thinking prevented a client from canceling their contract. While the point is to show teamwork, you also want to highlight your ability to drive results.
  • Cross-sell your skills by choosing stories that not only showcase your ability work well with others, but also highlight other talents like leadership, advanced technical acumen, sales savvy, etc.
  • Create a library of examples to draw from, as no two interviews will be the same and no two stories will be relevant in every situation. Spend time jotting down your best stories and go over them regularly.

Continually revisit your anecdotes as you conduct your job search to add or subtract from your list. Remember, however, not to memorize a script. Interviews should be free-flowing conversations, not monologues.

If you are an information technology or finance professional in the Buffalo region and you are looking for new and exciting career opportunities, the expert recruiters at Systems Personnel would love to hear from you. We connect the best and brightest talent with the region’s most forward-thinking organizations. Contact us today to learn more about our commitment to your success.

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