How to answer "What experience do you have working in a team environment?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Employers ask about team experience because collaboration and teamwork are essential qualities in the workplace. In almost every job, you will have to work with others to achieve goals and complete tasks. This question will help employers determine if you have the necessary skills to work in a team and if you understand the importance of teamwork in achieving success.

Employers are also looking for candidates who have experience in working with diverse teams. This could include people with different backgrounds, skill sets, or personalities. Your ability to adapt to different team dynamics and still accomplish your tasks is an essential quality that employers look for.

By asking this question, employers can also learn about your communication skills, conflict resolution abilities, and your overall approach to teamwork.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, it is essential to provide specific examples of how you worked with a team. Start by explaining the team's objective, your role in the team, and how you contributed to achieving the goal.

If you have experience working with cross-functional teams, share how you navigated different perspectives and personalities within the group. Also, discuss how you communicated with the team, how you handled conflicts, and how you made sure everyone was on the same page.

It is important to show your understanding of the importance of teamwork in achieving success as opposed to just focusing on your individual achievements.

If you have little experience working in a team, you can still provide an example of group work from a school project or any volunteering experience. Even if it's not directly related to the job, it can still demonstrate your skills in working with others.

Remember to use strong, action-oriented language, and quantify your successes with numbers or metrics wherever possible.

Sample answers

  1. Bad answer:

    I hate working in teams. I always end up doing all the work while my team members slack off. It's frustrating.

    Why it's bad: This answer focuses on the negative and shows a lack of teamwork skills. It also comes across as unprofessional and negative towards colleagues.

  2. Good answer:

    I have experience working in teams on projects both in my previous position and during my time in college. I believe that effective teamwork involves communication, dividing tasks and supporting each other to achieve the best possible result as a team. I always strive to be a helpful and cooperative team player and lead by example.

    Why it's good: This answer shows that the candidate has experience with teamwork, highlights their approach to teamwork clearly, and emphasizes the importance of strong communication and cooperation.

  3. Bad answer:

    I worked on a team once, but we all had different ideas and couldn't agree on anything. It was a disaster.

    Why it's bad: This answer showcases poor problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. It also does not provide an example of successful teamwork.

  4. Good answer:

    Throughout my career, I have worked in various teams ranging from small project groups to large cross-functional teams. In one project, I had to work with a team from different departments, and our goal was to come with a solution to a customer issue. We held regular meetings to discuss and track progress, and every team member's input was taken into account when making decisions. As a result, we were able to deliver a successful outcome for the customer, and I could see firsthand the benefits of working collaboratively as a team.

    Why it's good: This answer mentions specific and successful teamwork experience, highlights the importance of communication and inclusivity, and conveys achievements and teamwork skills.

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