Interview prompt: 'Tell me about working as part of a team'

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.

Teamwork plays an important role in many jobs, and employers are keen to recruit candidates with demonstrable teamwork skills. Interviewers often ask job applicants about teamwork to assess their level of experience and inclination to work with others as part of a team. Knowing how to answer the prompt 'Tell me about working as part of a team' and similar questions can help you sell yourself as an excellent team player during an interview. In this article, we explain why interviewers ask about teamwork and what you can include in your responses, with sample answers to common teamwork-related interview questions.

Why do employers ask about working as part of a team?

Working as part of a team is a valued soft skill because it can help new recruits integrate into an existing team. Companies and other organisations require their staff to communicate and work together effectively to maintain productivity and operate profitably. An interviewer looks for responses that indicate that you value teamwork and can contribute to a team.

Interviewers want to understand how you work in a team

Interviewers ask these kinds of questions so they can understand how you perform in a team environment. Working in a team is a skill, and each candidate has strengths and weaknesses that an interviewer evaluates by asking certain questions. Therefore, prepare answers to questions about teamwork that show an understanding of its importance. In addition, you might share a range of experiences you've had when working with teams, from learning experiences to success stories.

Related: How to demonstrate you're a team player on your CV

What to include in answers about teamwork

You can structure well-rounded answers to questions on teamwork by thinking about the information a prospective employer might find helpful when deciding to employ you. With diligent preparation, you can prepare yourself with points and responses to help you sell yourself as a team player. Here are some points to include in a potential answer about working as a team member:

An understanding of the importance of teamwork

You can make it clear to interviewers that you value teamwork by including reasons why you think it's important in your answer. Teamwork has many benefits for employers and team members. Here are some specific advantages that you can highlight:

  • teamwork increases the efficiency and performance of teams

  • teams can meet their goals and progress the company's objectives more quickly

  • individual team members can contribute their skills and experience to achieve the team's goals

  • leaders can evenly distribute the workload among team members

  • participants can share ideas and work collaboratively to solve problems and accomplish goals

  • group brainstorming boosts creativity in the team

  • working together supports team members and can keep team morale high.

Related: The advantages of working in a team: 11 aspects to consider

Positive experiences you have had as a team member

Anecdotes are great for sharing your skills and experience in team working. You might tell your interviewer about a task you worked on as part of a team and the positive outcomes of the experience. Even if your team did not achieve the overall goal, you may have gained a new skill, established new professional relationships or overcome challenges.

Challenging experiences when working as part of a team

Although teamwork is a largely positive experience, you may have faced challenges when delegating tasks, managing your workload, communicating promptly or meeting deadlines. You can show your interviewer that you are able to reflect on these instances to improve your performance in your new position.

What you contribute to a team

You can sell yourself by letting your interviewer know what you can contribute to a team. This can help them consider what you can offer and how you may fit into an existing team. Here are some great team working skills and qualities to share:

  • communication

  • listening

  • decision-making

  • reliability

  • problem-solving

  • conflict resolution

  • patience

  • tolerance

  • empathy

  • flexibility

  • creativity

Related: Teamwork skills: definition, types and tips for improvement

The unique challenges of teamwork

If you are interviewing for a senior or leadership role, acknowledging the specific challenges of teamwork shows that you know that a team approach may not suit every task or goal. Teamwork has its benefits, but independent work may be the best choice for some situations. Some specific challenges that you may find in a teamwork setting include:

  • personality clashes between team members that impact the productivity of the team

  • an unequal division of labour, resulting in team members acquiring too much work

  • poor delegation of tasks and responsibilities, leading to team members receiving work that they do not have the skills or experience to complete

  • scheduling conflicts that hamper progress towards goals

  • a competitive environment in the workplace.

Related: How to be a team leader, with tips and characteristics

Example interview prompts or questions about working in a team

Below are some examples of questions about working with other people in a team:

  • Tell me about working within a team

  • Can you share some examples of your teamwork skills?

  • How do you feel about teamwork?

  • Do you enjoy working in a team?

  • Do you find it easier to work independently or as part of a team?

  • Tell me about a time when a team you were part of was successful.

  • Can you tell me about a time when a lack of teamwork affected a project?

  • What role do you play in a team?

  • Tell me about your experience in working as a team member.

  • What would you do if a fellow team member was not taking part?

  • What would you do if you disagreed with a colleague or team leader?

  • How would former team members rate your teamwork skills?

  • What are your areas for improvement when working in a team?

  • Do you think you can add value to our company as part of a team?

Example answers to prompts and questions about working in a team

Preparing answers to these standard interview prompts and questions can help you respond confidently when an interviewer asks you about working in a team. You can even role-play with a friend or relative or practise your answers in front of a mirror. Here are some example answers to provide you with an idea of the type of responses you can give:

What role do you play in a team?

Example answer: 'When working in a team, my priority is on the team's success and making sure everyone achieves the objectives. I do that best by listening to what the team leader requires and doing my part to the best of my ability. In the role I receive, I contribute as much as I can. When I'm delegated responsibility or assume a leadership role, I embrace it and help others around me fulfil their potential.'

Related: 70 powerful quotes about teamwork to inspire success

Can you tell me about a time when a lack of teamwork affected a project?

Example answer: 'In a previous job, I was part of a project that experienced many teamwork-related challenges; I think about it often. This was before the days of project and task management software and apps. Due to poor communication, no one had any idea about the progress of tasks or the project overall. Another problem was that the leadership was not distinctive, so team members found it difficult to orient themselves in their roles. It was very challenging.

We came together and turned things around with some creative thinking, problem-solving and a bit of initiative. We scheduled an informal meeting where each team member outlined the progress they were making with their particular task. We used a whiteboard to create a chart to see how we were progressing overall and shared it with our manager, who appreciated it.'

Do you find it easier to work independently or as part of a team?

Example answer: 'I have found that I'm most effective when I'm flexible with how I work. I find that independent work and teamwork are helpful, depending on the situation and the project. For example, when I worked as part of a large marketing campaign for a project launch, I thrived when working as part of a creative and collaborative team where we could bounce ideas off each other, ask questions and test solutions for a great result.

With tasks that require attention to detail, independent work helps me work accurately and efficiently. In a previous role with a small company, I developed the content marketing strategy for the entire company. This required hours of research and drafting content plans and keywords, which I completed myself.'

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