Most companies desire candidates who are comfortable working alone and with a team. After all, there will be times that you need to do both. This is why one of the most asked interview questions is, “Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?” This question is meant to unveil your personality and to get a glimpse into how you would fit in with their team.
Why Balance is Important
There are times when you must work as a team – let’s say you have a deadline and there’s no way to complete it solo. Or perhaps your work involves other departments at the company. You must feel comfortable communicating with other team members to effectively complete the task.
On the other hand, there will be times when you just need to put your head down and complete your responsibilities for an impending deadline.
Since both will be required at the job, hiring managers want to make sure you’re equally able to tackle work this way on their team.
So, do you prefer to work independently or with a team?
How to Approach the Interview
Regardless of your preferred method, you must be able to gracefully answer this very pointed question. Here are a few ways to answer this question effectively:
“I tend to be more productive when working independently. However, when tasks require more collaboration and different perspectives, I prefer working with a team.”
“I’m comfortable working alone and with a team depending on the situation and type of work.”
“I have experience working in both ways and I find productivity with each.”
These are great lead-ins. Be ready to back up these statements with an example of when you successfully worked solo and with a team. “Give me an example” is an inevitable follow-up question.
Practice answering, “Do you prefer to work independently or with a team?” using these above responses or whatever feels genuine to you. Then, briefly provide examples. Practice makes perfect so you can nail the interview!
If you’re actively job searching and want to perfect your interview skills, resume, or want to overhaul your job search strategy completely, we’re here to help.
At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals in all stages of their careers find their dream job, land their dream job, and continue to thrive in their career.