How to answer 'Do you work well with other people?'

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When interviewing for a new job, there are usually a few interview questions that you might struggle to answer. One of these questions is whether you work well with other people because it can be difficult to elaborate on. It's important to provide an answer that thoroughly explains to the interviewer that you're comfortable working with others while tailoring it to the job role you're applying for. In this article, we explore how to answer the interview question 'Do you work well with other people?' by offering tips and example answers.

Why do interviewers ask, 'Do you work well with other people?'

Recruiters may ask, 'Do you work well with other people?' to determine how you work in a team environment, usually because the role you're interviewing for is team-based. The ideal answers to this question highlight your competency when working with others and indicate that you enjoy collaboration and have good interpersonal skills. Make sure you use real-world examples to showcase your ability to work well with others.

Try to consider what you're like to work with from the perspective of colleagues. This may include skills you bring to a team, ways you demonstrate leadership or how you show support to others. There are many real-world examples you can provide recruiters to highlight your strengths and skills when working with others, so try to incorporate them into your response.

Related: 7 teamwork interview questions and how to answer them

Ways to answer this question

While you could answer this question with a yes or no response, this would be a big mistake to make. This question is an opportunity for you to discuss your competency in a team environment. It's important to expand on from simply answering yes and providing recruiters with tangible examples of your abilities when working with others.

Think about how you work with others, even in roles that aren't team-based. You might be able to draw upon examples where you helped colleagues with their work or perhaps when you directly engaged with other employees. These are good real-world examples you can use to bulk up your response to this question. Below are a few things you can do to create some compelling answers:

  • Think about your interpersonal communication: Consider any people skills you have, including personality traits, skills or other contributions that you bring through your communications and in relationships with others.

  • List your soft skills: Create a list of these attributes, including soft skills and instances of how you've brought them to team settings, including professional and personal projects. Perhaps you can motivate others or help settle conflicts, both of which are useful examples you can expand upon.

  • Frame your answer like a story: You can create a story from a real-world experience you've had that shows you work well with others. Try to include any skills you demonstrated during this example, ideally in a way that relates to the job you're applying for.

  • Showcase your credentials: Let the interviewer know you're suited to this role by discussing them. This could include mentioning how you've undertaken courses in management, mediation or collaboration.

Related: 7 different types of interview questions (with examples)

Example answers

To help you answer this question effectively, take the time to read through the example answers below. Remember to incorporate your own, real-world experiences in your responses to showcase to recruiters you're a prime candidate for the role you're interviewing for. You can use these examples as a guide to determine what to include in your answer:

Example 1

'I've been fortunate enough to have worked on several successful team projects during my time in my current role. I've found that my natural ability to communicate well with others was beneficial for the team, particularly when it came to mediating conflicts. To give an example, two colleagues were in disagreement over a specific aspect of the project which caused a flare-up within the team. To diffuse the situation, I stepped in and listened to both parties about their concerns before coming up with a solution that worked well for everyone.

It was through my ability to listen to others that we could reach a compromise as a team and keep work going. Without this mediation, I feel the project would have run into delays and possible budget issues. By stepping in and encouraging teamwork, we managed to complete the project ahead of time and under budget. For my input, I received a good amount of praise from my manager who saw my ability to mediate the team'.

Related: Conflict resolution interview questions (with sample answers)

Example 2

'I've always been a patient listener, which has proved to be a very important skill when working with other people. My work in sales placed me in a customer-facing role, so being able to effectively absorb what a potential customer is saying has helped me address their concerns, pains and problems. I've found that by doing this, I can build rapport with them much more easily which makes it easier to work with them and encourages a sale.

I've got an excellent track record in terms of sales and I believe that a large part of this is due to my ability to listen well and take in what people are saying. I received praise for my hard work and attitude with an award for the best sales representative at my current company. I think this is an excellent example of how I work well with other people'.

Example 3

'I think I work well with other people which is why I was such an effective manager in my current position. I always make time to listen to my staff and give them space to voice grievances, concerns or suggestions about ways to improve how we work. It's important for me to establish a good relationship with my team so that they feel comfortable discussing difficult subjects with me.

For example, one of my team was struggling with sales due to external stress. I allowed them to voice their concerns and I set up a few days out of the week where they could focus on administrative tasks rather than high-stress sales situations. After a few weeks, they were much more focused on the work and less stressed about making sales. Without this intervention, I may have lost an excellent member of my team'.

Related: 10 good manager qualities that help teams succeed

Example 4

'I've always tried to be a clear communicator to get my points across as effectively as possible. This has been an incredibly helpful skill when working as a customer service representative because I had to speak daily with customers about complex policy terms. Without my clear communication skills, a lot of the important information can be difficult to understand, which would have generated complaints.

To give an example, I had to explain a complex insurance policy term to a customer who was making a claim. It took a considerable amount of time, but by the end of the conversation, they fully understood the terms of the policy and what their next steps were. Without clear communication, they would have struggled to know where they stood in terms of their policy coverage'.

Tips for answering the question 'Do you work well with others?'

To help you answer this question effectively, try to implement some of the following tips when drafting a response:

Write out examples of when you've worked well with other people

This is a great tip because it makes you think about real-world examples that demonstrate your ability to work well with others. The best examples can then go towards your answer to this question. Using specific examples rather than general responses adds context to your answer which recruiters appreciate as it's based on reality rather than the hypothetical. Start with a list of examples and try to narrow them down until you've got a few solid options to choose from.

Use the STAR method

The STAR method is a common framework that can help you answer questions effectively. The STAR method breaks your response down into four different sections:

  • Situation: Describe the situation and set the scene for your answer.

  • Task: Discuss the problem or the intended outcome of the situation.

  • Action: Outline how you achieved your aims or solved the problem.

  • Result: Discuss the outcome of the situation and any lessons you learned along the way.

The STAR method is a great way to structure your answers, as it ensures you provide a comprehensive response. It's important to focus on the positive aspects of the encounter and the outcome, even if it didn't end as you'd hoped.

Related: How to use the STAR interview technique in competency-based interviews

Align your answer to the role you're interviewing for

If you've managed to create a list of usable examples, try to find the best examples that align with the role you're applying for. So if the role is sales-based, think of examples that align with helping customers or clients. If the role is more focused on team projects, align your response so it's more in line with teamwork. This makes it much easier for recruiters to picture you in the role you're applying for.

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