Job interview question and answer: Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?

Posted October 13, 2011, by Josie Chun

The way you answer this is obviously going to depend on the job you’re applying for, but in general it’s best to demonstrate that you are able to and enjoy working both independently and with others, as most jobs require you to do both at different times.

For instance, if you are applying for a job in IT that requires you to work on your computer for long stretches of time with little interaction with others, then you must demonstrate that you are happy to do this and can work with little supervision. However, you also don’t want to give the impression that you are antisocial or don’t enjoy collaborating with others, especially if the culture of the company is one where discussion and socialising are important.

Similarly, if you are going for a job in sales and marketing, you need to enjoy working closely with others and demonstrate that you can do this effectively – but at the same time, there may be occasions when you have to write up a report or some documentation, and you should show that you are able to do this as well without having your hand held.

Answering this question is all about balance. Indicate that you are happy to work both alone or in a team, but skew your response to the particular demands of the position you’re applying for.

Josie Chun

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