“Tell Me About Time You Worked on Team” Interview Question Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When interviewing a candidate, employers ask about previous work experiences to learn more about the candidate's work ethic and abilities. One of the most popular questions focuses on their ability to work in a team. When answering these questions, you want to show the interviewers your strengths and let them know how your previous experience can shape your performance in the role. In this article, we discuss "Tell me about a time you worked on a team" interview question by providing some guidelines and sample answers.

Why do employers ask the "Tell me about a time you worked on a team" interview question?

The "Tell me about a time you worked on a team" interview question is a common method for interviewers to gauge your teamwork skills. Here are some reasons why interviewers like to learn about your ability to collaborate with others:

To learn about your communication and cooperation skills

Candidates with excellent teamwork skills often are great communicators. This suggests that they can work harmoniously with their colleagues and collaborate efficiently on projects together. Interviewers put great emphasis on these skills because they imply you can assimilate into a new environment with little disruption.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

To learn about your past working experience

When you use a real-life example to answer this question, interviewers have a better understanding of your previous work environment. When you describe your teamwork experiences, they can compare your experience with their vacancy to see if you're a suitable candidate for that position. For example, interviewers can compare the size of your previous team with their team and how this may affect the transition into their work environment.

To learn more about your personality

Some people are natural team players, while some require more training in this skill. When you illustrate your teamwork skills with an example from your previous job, it helps interviewers understand your background and personality. For instance, they can learn whether you're an introvert or an extrovert and whether your personality can fit in with their workplace.

Related: 7 Personality Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

How to answer interview questions related to teamwork experience

Since many employers value teamwork skills, it's important to answer this question carefully. Here are some steps you can follow to structure your answer:

1. Describe a situation when you worked on a team

Begin your answer with a description of a time when you worked on a team. This example may be from a previous job, but if you're a fresh graduate, consider talking about a school project or an extra-curricular activity. Choose an event that relates to the position. For example, if you're interviewing for a management position, focus your discussion on a situation where you demonstrated excellent team leadership skills.

2. Provide details on the task you worked on as a team

Talk about the project in greater detail, such as why teamwork was essential to the project's success. Mention the size of the team and the major goals of the project. Keep this part brief because you want to dedicate more time talking about your responsibilities in the team.

3. Elaborate on your actions

Pick one to two key contributions you made to the team and elaborate on them. For example, if you played a significant role in helping your team overcome a challenge, emphasise this in your response. Focus on your strengths and skills, such as problem-solving or time management, to position yourself as a successful team player.

4. Describe the positive outcome of your actions

Use data to support your positive outcomes. For example, a sales team leader may talk about how they helped increase sales by a certain percentage. This can help interviewers visualise your contributions. If the positive outcome of your teamwork experience is less concrete, you still want to highlight some positive results, like increased productivity or improved morale.

5. Connect this experience to the current position

Revisit some of the key skills you illustrated in the example and mention how they apply to the interviewer's vacant position. Some transferrable skills include soft skills like communication, problem-solving or decision-making, or hard skills like computer skills, graphic design and languages. As you conclude your response, aim to show interviewers how you can bring value to their team.

Sample answers to "Tell me about a time you worked on a team"

Here are some sample answers to this interview question for different positions:

Marketing manager example

Here's an example answer of how a marketing manager can describe their teamwork experience:

"In my previous position as a marketing executive at Fun Ideas Marketing Agency, I led a marketing team of 10 people to complete a social media campaign. We created social media accounts from scratch and launched several events to gain followers. First, we worked with a few influencers to promote our accounts, then we published a series of informative posts to educate our audience. At last, we hosted a few interactive broadcast sessions to connect with our followers.

The biggest challenge I faced in this experience was coordinating with different parties. Aside from our team members, I communicated with influencers and their agents. I arranged the schedule so that our designers, copywriters and social media managers can work together with them to make sure we published all posts according to our timeline. I trained my communication and time management skills in the process and believe these skills are useful in my new position as your marketing manager."

Related: How to Be a Good Marketing Manager (With Top 10 Qualities)

Construction worker example

Here's an example answer for a construction worker:

"I worked as a construction worker at Hong Kong Urban Constructions previously. I worked with a team of four people on a home decoration project. Before the project started, we discovered a water leakage inside the flat. Our team leader assigned me to handle this problem. I then worked with the landlord, property management company and plumbing company to solve this issue, while my colleagues started the decoration project.

As a construction worker, I face unexpected situations all the time. This experience made me understand the importance of teamwork and how we can divide and conquer different tasks. Since we had a clear goal as a team, each of us could focus on completing our tasks and progressing towards this goal. I learnt how to communicate with my teammates in this process, which I think is also useful in this new position."

Related: 18 Types of Construction Jobs (With Duties and Salaries)

Personal assistant example

Here's an example of how a personal assistant can discuss their teamwork experience in a job interview:

"I worked as a team when I was at City Secondary School. A team of five people, including me, was responsible for organising the inter-school singing contest. We worked with Island Secondary School's organising team to complete this task. Since I was the secretary, I was responsible for communicating with the other school. Our team hosted weekly meetings where I took minutes. Then I met with the school's team secretary to share our progress.

A week before the contest, we realised there was a scheduling problem with the venue. The original venue was unavailable because they had problems with their electricity and they couldn't fix it before the event. We then called other places to look for another venue on short notice, and at last, we successfully held the event in the hall of our school. This experience improved my problem-solving and communication skills."

Related: What Does an Executive Assistant Do? (With How to Become One)

Language teacher example

Here's an example answer for a Chinese teacher:

"I previously worked at City Secondary School as a teaching assistant. I worked with other teaching assistants and teachers on a summer programme. We offered an advanced programme for students with good results to better prepare them for university. We first administered a test to identify high-achieving students, then we held weekly meetings to devise a course outline for the summer program. When the programme started, a teacher and a teaching assistant formed a group to teach students and led discussions.

I was responsible for preparing the course materials. I worked with Chinese teachers and publishers to create teaching plans and exercises which are suitable for students. Then I worked closely with the teacher of my class on the summer program. We reviewed student performance and revised our materials accordingly. I learnt how to work as a team and communicate with different stakeholders."

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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