Team Player or Flying Solo? How to Handle the Inevitable Question During an Interview

Job interviews are certainly one of the most intimidating parts of adulthood, and few questions get people flustered more than this:

“So, do you work better alone, or with a group?”

This question carries a heavy load, and can leave applicants’ heads spinning since the wrong answer could completely undermine the rest of the interview. If you say you’re a “team player” then your potential employer could wonder if you have the self-motivation and determination to get the job done without outside encouragement. If you let them know you enjoy working alone, they might question whether or not you’ll get along with coworkers or be able to collaborate with other staff when needed.

How then, do you answer this question so as to make yourself the most appealing candidate for the job, yet stay true to yourself and your own personality and preferences?

Keep in mind, no one says you have to choose just one or the other as part of your answer. You can be an introvert and prefer working alone on a day-to-day basis, but that doesn’t mean you are incapable of being a “team player” when the need arises. In the same way, you might love working alongside others in your office, and enjoy having multiple perspective and opinions for various jobs, but you are well-equipped to handle your tasks on your own when group work just isn’t an option. Let your interviewer know that while you have a preference for one or the other, you have experience and the ability to handle both solo work and completing projects with a group.

In regards to experience, this is an important part of answering the “solo or teamwork” question. Having some examples of (and perhaps references for) jobs you’ve done on your own, and some that were done collaboratively, can be a huge asset in formulating and presenting an answer for your interviewer. This offers proof that you are a well-rounded, prepared individual that can handle all types of job environments and work situations and will give employers confidence when hiring you.

We hope this helps you as you prepare for your next interview. Don’t let one question throw you off your game. Walk into your interview with your head held high, knowing you are ready to handle whatever questions come to the table. While you are preparing for interviews, let us do the hard work of job searching, and then supplying your application and resume to the points of contact. PHR Staffing Solutions is proud to serve the greater Polk County area with top quality recruiting and staffing services, and we are ready to help YOU get hired.