The soul lives forever from giving, not receiving. What I try to say here is that helping someone is always a good thing. And it doesn’t matter whether you get some reward for your help–be it a simple thank you, or a recognition for your work, or even something bigger, such as a promotion or a bonus you get at the end of the month… Why do I start this one rather philosophically? Well, I do so because this is exactly the attitude you should try to show in your interviews. An attitude that you always try to help, do the most for your colleagues, and generally that you are the person others can rely on.

How can you show such an attitude? You can do so with an example that demonstrates it. What I try to say here is that you should pick a situation in which you weren’t forced or even asked to help someone. On the contrary, an ideal example is a situation when you went out of your way for someone, out of your free will, not expecting to get anything in return for your favor.

You can talk about a situation from work, from school, or even from your personal life. You can even make something up–as long as you include enough details and add some facts (when it happened, names of the persons involved, etc), the hiring managers will have no reason to doubt the authenticity of your answer. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers now. I tried to include on my list a variety of answers, and hopefully at least one of them with resonate with you, and serve you as an inspiration for your own, authentic answer.


7 sample answers to “Tell us about a time when you helped out your team or someone else” interview question

  1. I recall a fitting situation from my last job of a store manager. Typically you have some patterns in a store, and know what to expect, in terms of an rush hour, number of visitors, and so on. However, on that Wednesday in mid November things took a rather unexpected turn. From some reason, the store was extremely packed, and the cashiers and people on the floor had a hard time managing the workload. Since I didn’t want to see customers waiting longer than necessary, and also I wanted to alleviate the workload of my subordinates, I simply took a stand at one of the cash desk and started to attend the customers. Some subordinates were surprised, because they have never before seen a manager doing something like that, but it wasn’t important to me. I simply did the thing which I considered right to do.
  2. This is my first job application, but I recall a fitting situation from school. We had one classmate who wasn’t very popular–for one reason or another, it doesn’t matter. I, on the contrary, belonged to the most popular girls in the classroom.  People kept inviting me to places, to do activities together, and stuff. I do not know why–be it for pity, compassion, or simply for an impulse of a young heart, (or maybe something deeper within), I decided to make the unpopular guy more involved. He was shy and everything, but I started to invite him to the activities, to participate, and generally talked more to him so other people could take notice. Of course, as it always goes at school, some people mocked me for that, and many did not understand. But I felt it was the right thing to do, and it definitely helped the guy to become more a part of a class. Sure, it made me feel good too, but that wasn’t the reason no. 1 why I did it.
  3. My last corporate job is probably a decent example. We had a new colleague in the financial analysis department, and I noticed that he struggled with the workload. I also realized the job was important for them, since they had a young family and this was a well-paid job, and they needed the income. Hence when nobody was around I approached them in the office, and offered them my help. I offered to show them the way I go around things, the way I take care of the processes, because I felt it was more effective. Hence we met in the cafeteria after work, and I explained them everything. It helped, they started to work faster, and didn’t have to worry anymore about losing the job due to their inability to meet the weekly and monthly targets.
  4. This is my first job application, but I am generally someone who loves to help. As you can see on my resume, I took part in volunteering activities at school, and at home I always ask my mom what I can help with in the kitchen or around the house. I feel that in order to make this world a better place, we should cooperate instead of competing–which is the case sadly. This is something I always try to keep on my mind, because the world and the mass media often try to convince us of the opposite–that we have to compete, try to better the others when it comes to income and possessions, and so on.
  5. I have quite a recent story. Last Saturday, when I was returning back home with friends, after we spent a nice evening outside, we saw a guy lying in a ditch. My friends said he was surely drunk, and they didn’t want to stop. But I told them that they could be wrong, the guy could be injured, or even worse–dead, and that we could not leave him lying there just like that. I approached him, waked him up, asked if he didn’t need help. He seemed very disoriented and hence I decided to call an ambulance. Waited there until they arrived to make sure they stop at the right spot, and then they took care of the situation.
  6. Working as a nurse, my entire life is about helping. But for me nursing isn’t only a job. It is a mission, something I feel I can make a positive difference with. If not in the world, at least in the lives of people I come to contact with in my job. That’s why I hope to continue in the field, and apply for a job with you. And I want to assure you that my attitude doesn’t change outside of the job. If I see an opportunity to do something good for someone, I will try my best to do it. Having said that, one also needs some balance in life, and it is important to always find some time for yourself. And it is also good to get some help from time to time, when you need it. I must confess that I have been very lucky in my life up to this point, to having around me supportive people, people who are ready to help me when I need it the most.
  7. Speaking honestly, helping a team is a core of my job. For what other reason would I belong to the team, if not for helping it? This is something I always try to have on my mind, regardless of the situation at work. Of course, on some days you have your hands full and struggle with your own workload. But whenever possible I try to keep my eyes open and do my best for the colleagues. Communication is also important, because sometimes it is hard to notice that someone else is struggling–unless they tell you…

Ready to answer this tricky interview question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions you may face while trying to get any great job:

Matthew Chulaw
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