Small team is a basic structural unit of every organization, private or public. It doesn’t matter if you apply for a job in a bakery, police station, school, or in a big international corporation. You will share workplace with other people, and belong to at least one team. Sometimes the team can be rather informal, whereas in other places you will participate in daily or weekly team meetings, and your results (and sometimes also your salary) will depend on the effort of the entire team.
Hence it makes a perfect sense to ask some teamwork interview questions, such as “Do you prefer to work in a team or independently?“, “What role do you typically play in a team?“, or “Can you share with us some rewarding team experience?“, or “What do you enjoy most or least about teamwork?” We will look at the last question right now. Let’s move directly to 7 sample answers, but do not forget to check also my notes below the answers, in order to avoid mistakes job seekers typically do while dealing with this question in the interviews.
7 sample answers to “What do you enjoy most or least about teamwork?”
- More than anything else, I enjoy the feeling of belonging somewhere. Being part of something bigger, sharing the same goal with my colleagues. I think that we live in a lonely era now. Modern technology was supposed to connect us together, but in reality more people feel lonely than ever before. And it is not easy to start meaningful relationships, to build meaningful teams. That’s why I love if I have a team of colleagues in the workplace, and we share both successes and failures together.
- I enjoy almost everything about teamwork, but there is one thing I really dislike–pointless internal conflicts in the team. I experienced such conflicts on a daily basis in my last job. And it happened because we had too many big egos in our team, and some people always had to be right, and had no respect for opinions of their colleagues. Eventually they started to jeopardize work of each other, and the productivity of the entire team dropped terribly. I really hope that I won’t have such a negative experience in my new job, because other than that I really like teamwork.
- I enjoy the most the diversity of a typical team in a big corporation. It is an enriching experience to work with people from different cultural and religious background, sharing opinions, learning from each other. Such an environment also helps me see some hope for the future of humanity–that we can actually coexist together on this beautiful planet, without leading pointless wars and conflicts, without destroying our environment. Of course, I also try to play my part in such a team, and hopefully other team members can benefit from my experience, knowledge, and cultural background.
- More than anything else, I enjoy the support of other team members. Look, it’s a rough world out there in the corporate sphere. Everything is extremely competitive, and you sometimes have to work overtime, or on Saturdays, just to get things done. It can be overwhelming, and I honestly believe that many more people would experience burnout if they did not have support of their colleagues. And it doesn’t mean that someone does the job instead of you… It simply means to give a word of encouragement when someone needs it, or to see that someone else is still in the office at 7pm, and so on…
- I enjoy most the feeling of safety, when I know that I can rely on my colleagues. Working as firemen, we are often risking our lives for lives of other people. It is important to know that someone covers your back, someone you can rely on. Of course, I always try to be someone my colleagues can rely on. And it is exactly the same thing I enjoy the least–when you have a colleague you aren’t sure about, whether they will walk into a burning house trying to drag you out when you are not reacting to their calls, when you’ve been there for too long. So it is a double edged sword really, but it is something we have to accept as firefighters. We cannot work alone.
- I enjoy the most when I can lead the team towards achieving some big goals. I’ve been leading teams in my last two jobs, and I honestly think that I helped the people grow. At the end of the day, the current leaders of those teams I led came from within the team, after I left the company, and replaced me in my role. They were ready to step in the leadership role once I stepped out. But in general, I enjoy everything about working in a team. The saying of indigenous people “When you want to go fast, go alone, but when you want to go far, go as a team” is a perfect illustration of my attitude to teamwork. I would not achieve the results I achieved in my last job without having a great team of people around me.
- Speaking honestly, I cannot really say, because I have minimum experience with teamwork. This is my first job application, and I did not belong to any team or sports club at the college. It just wasn’t a typical thing at our school. But I understand that I won’t be an isolated unit in this company. I will try my best to be attentive to the needs and feelings of my colleagues, to understand my role in a team, and to perform up to the expectations. Having said that, I am sure that things won’t be always perfect. We may experience some conflicts with colleagues, someone may try to take advantage of someone else who’s working extremely hard, and so on. But we cannot really avoid such things, and if a team has a good leader, they should be able to address these issues. From my position, I simply want to be the best colleague I can be, and I am sure that I will find more positives than negatives on teamwork.
Praise teamwork, but do not hesitate to point out some problems
As a rule of a thumb you should focus on the good things about teamwork in your answer, because you will belong to a team, and if you talk only about negatives, it may put a serious dent in your chances to get the job, to pass the interview.
At the same time, however, you should not idealize the concept of teamwork. Each team has some problems, such as internal conflicts, two leaders or no leader, people starting personal relationships within the team, one member bossing other members, and so on.
Do not hesitate to mention some of these in your answer, especially if you experienced them in your last job. Then you can elaborate on it, ensure the hiring managers that you will try your best to help the team thrive and achieve the best possible results for the corporation.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Each organization is looking for natural leaders
In a case that you had a leadership role in one of your former teams, you should always mention it, regardless of the job you try to get with the organization. Because all companies love to hire natural leaders, people who help others grow, people who do not mind stepping out of their comfort zone, bring new ideas to the table, challenge the status quo in a team.
It is definitely a good idea saying that you enjoy leading teams, but of course the answer makes sense only if you really led some teams in your life. It does not necessarily have to be a corporate team though. Maybe you led a biathlon team, or a small soccer club at your college, or a chess team in your class. As long as you managed to achieve some results and the team members grew under your leadership, you are good to go.
Giving back is the most important thing
Whatever you love about teamwork, you should not forget to mention your role in the process. If you talk about support of your colleagues, explaining that is great to get a helping hand and words of encouragement when the workload is heavy, make sure to say that you never hesitate to offer these things to your teammates.
If you talk about belonging somewhere, having a group of people you are looking forward to see each day, make sure to say that you will try to become the best colleague you can be–to help form such a group in the workplace.
And when you talk about feeling of trust, that someone covers your back when you take a risk (great answer for policemen, firefighters, and similar roles), elaborate on your answer, saying that your new colleagues can definitely rely on you when it comes to trust. Whatever you enjoy about teamwork, you try to contribute to it…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
- Describe a successful teamwork experience.
- In what areas do you believe you have most potential to grow professionally?