We can divide all jobs into two categories. First group consists of positions where teamwork is essential, and good applicants should be willing to play for a team (and enjoy being part of a team). This group comprises 90% of all positions in the public and private sectors.
The second group, a minority, consists of jobs in which you will not work in a team, spend the majority of your time alone, and bear the majority of the responsibility. To determine how to respond to the “Are you a team player?” question, you must determine which group your new job (the one you are interviewing for) belongs to.
Let’s first examine seven sample responses to the question. Below the answers you will find a list of jobs for lone wolves, as well as tips on how to respond to this question in an interview. The responses should help you deal with similar interview questions, such as “How would you describe yourself as a team member?” and “Why would you make a great addition to this team?” Enjoy!
6 examples of responses to “Are you a team player?” interview question
I firmly believe that I am a team player. I am aware that it takes a team to achieve great results, and that I am unlikely to accomplish anything spectacular on my own. I applied for a position with your company in part because of its reputation for a positive work environment and excellent cooperation in small teams and between departments. I cannot wait to meet my new teammates and bring diversity to your team.
Based on my work history, I would say I am a team player. In my most recent retail position, I was fortunate to be a part of an excellent sales team. We assisted one another, supported one another, and enjoyed working with them. And we achieved great results, which in my opinion demonstrates the significance of teamwork.
I value the opportunity to learn from my colleagues, who are frequently more knowledgeable and skilled than I am. Considering this, you could possibly call me a team player. Having said that, I am also capable of working independently, without supervision. I enjoy working with others, but I do not require external motivation.
I’ve always been a team player. Always favored team sports, such as basketball and football. It is truly remarkable to share the same vision or passion for something with others. And I can also make a sacrifice for the team. In my previous position, when we had to push a new design and I was the only employee without a family, I did not mind working overtime for ten consecutive days on the design.
Sincerity be told, I am more of a loner. Each day involves me, the road, the truck, and hundreds of miles. That is my ideal workday, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to become a truck driver.
I prefer to shoulder the responsibility myself. In my previous position at a large electronics store, I did not find my coworkers to be particularly motivated or responsible. I had to do a great deal of work for them, while two other men merely loitered, but we all received the same monthly payment. I do not believe it was proper… Now I’m applying for a job with you because I know you only employ one person per shift, a model that suits me perfectly. I am comfortable being responsible for the entire store and daily sales on my own.
Employment for lone wolves
There are a variety of jobs available for lone wolves, and I attempted to select both common and uncommon positions. Truck driver, mail carrier, sales representative, literary critic, translator, lighthouse keeper, geologist, physicist, certain leadership roles, retailer in a small store or stand, lone waiter in a bar or coffee shop, maintenance technician, and the majority of freelancing positions.
In such positions, it is not always possible to find a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. You must make your own decisions, handle the workload by yourself (even when it’s heavy), and not rely on anyone else. For most other jobs, however, teamwork is essential, and you should emphasize your teamwork skills during the interview.
Attempt to elaborate on your response
Do you consider yourself a team player? You: Yes, I am.
You can probably guess that such a brief response would not impress many interviewers. They want you to elaborate and demonstrate your teamwork skills. It can be done in a number of ways:
- Describe a situation from your previous position in which you demonstrated team loyalty.
- Referring to your preferences for group activities such as team sports, in which members must work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the team (to win the game, for example).
- Describe how playing on a team (and being a part of one) contributes to your professional development and advancement.
Additional teamwork interview queries
Interviewers may use more complex questions to evaluate your teamwork skills. For instance:
- Have you worked in a team before? What would you say about your experience?
- What was the best and worst teamwork experience you’ve ever had?
- Describe a disagreement you had with a teammate (in work, at school).
- How did you resolve the dispute, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Describe a situation in which you had to motivate a teammate.
- Describe a time when you assumed a leadership position.
- Why would you make an outstanding team member?
Conclusion, next steps
The question “Are you a team player?” is rarely asked in interviews by competent HR managers. It is very direct, and the correct response is obvious to the majority of job-seekers (unless it is a trick and they are actually looking for an individualist).
If you are asked this question, consider whether you will be working alone or in a team, and choose your response accordingly. In ninety percent of cases, companies and institutions seek team players. Even when the answer is obvious, you should give it some thought. A simple YES will not suffice for the majority of HR managers.
Try to elaborate on your claim by describing a situation from a previous job that exemplifies your team spirit or by explaining your attitude toward teamwork in greater detail. That should be sufficient to persuade the interviewers.