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"Do you work well with others" is a common interview question you should prepare for because every job requires soft skills, teamwork, and strong communication skills.
Even if you have relevant qualifications and experience, employers may still screen you if you seem difficult to work with. Employers want to hire friendly, easy to work with, and professional people.
This article outlines why interviewers ask this question, how to answer it and provides example answers, tips, and mistakes to avoid.
Why interviewers ask, "Do you work well with others?"
Interviewers ask, "Do you work well with others?" to assess if you have the relevant personality traits for the role and company culture. Even if the job description doesn't require collaboration, companies still prefer a team player.
That's why it's important to tell your prospective employer about real-world examples where you have demonstrated the collaboration skills you have and how you use them in the workplace.
How to answer "Do you work well with others?"
The best answers to "Do you work well with others?" use real-life examples to show potential employers how you've worked well with team members and colleagues in the past.
Don't say you work well with others without explaining how you do it in your response. Anyone can say they work well with others, but you need to show hiring managers how you accomplish it to stand out.
An incomplete answer to this question can cause hiring managers to screen you out, even with relevant qualifications and experience. Companies always prefer candidates with strong, soft skills and hard skills.
Follow the steps below to create a compelling answer to "Do you work well with others?"
1. Make a list of situations where you've worked well with others
It's easy to say you work well with other employees in a job interview. You need to share specific situations that demonstrate your soft skills to stand out.
Always use specific events or situations over generalized descriptions. You want to give the interviewer enough detail to understand the situation clearly. The situations you choose could be from a previous job, volunteer role, or other relevant work experience.
Your goal is to list situations from your career where you've contributed to a team effort, resolved a conflict, or led a team.
2. Match your situations to the role and company
Now you have your list of situations. It's time to read the job description and research the company. As you do your research, make a note of your situations that match the role.
Aligning your answer to the job is best to highlight relevant strengths and stand out from other job seekers.
By highlighting a situation relevant to the position, you make it easy for the interviewer to imagine you in the role.
3. Use the STAR method
The STAR method is a four-part approach to answering behavioral interview questions. The STAR acronym stands for situation, task, action, and result:
- Situation: Describe the situation as it forms the basis for the rest of your answer.
- Task: Outline your goals or problems.
- Action: Describe the steps you took to solve the problems or achieve your goals.
- Result: Explain how solving the problems or meeting your goals contributed to the company, then list any important lessons or skills you learned.
Structuring your response with the STAR method provides a compelling description of your experience and ability to work well with others. Make sure you highlight the positive results of the situation as companies prefer people who have a good mix of soft and hard skills.
Example answers to "Do you work well with other people?"
Below are some of the best answers to "Do you work well with other people?"
Review them and then use them as a starting point for your response. There are plenty of other situations you could share, so take the time to reflect on your career and strengths and then look at what is relevant to the job.
Sample answer #1
"I love working in a team environment and tend to get along with everyone. At my previous job, I led a lot of meetings and gave everyone a chance to share their ideas. Some of the best ideas we had came from people who wouldn't have spoken up otherwise.
For example, we had an engineer develop an SEO idea that resulted in 30% more traffic that he found on Hacker News. If I didn't create an environment where everyone felt comfortable, we would have never had a chance to hear the idea!"
Why it works: The candidate has provided a specific example of how they got the most out of others during meetings while also sharing a positive result of their actions.
Sample answer #2
"I'm patient and tend to be the mitigator between team members because I am unbiased and have strong communication skills. At my last job, two of my direct reports were having trouble collaborating as each of them had a different idea of what good work entailed. I sat down with each of them separately, listened to their concerns, then sat them down together to talk it out. Because we all took the time to talk, we were able to transform from a dysfunctional team to one that consistently produced results."
Why it works: The candidate highlighted a specific situation where they were able to mediate a conflict and use their soft skills to help others work together.
Sample answer #3
"I'm a clear communicator, which is essential to my work as a sales development rep. Prospects often call me to get an understanding of our product or to complain about a missing feature, and my ability to listen and empathize with them increases my ability to close deals. Often times the feature isn't missing, it just isn't where they think it is, so I'm able to help them get more out of the product and feed insights back to our development team."
Why it works: The interviewee has highlighted their listening and communication skills, which are good indicators that they'll be able to sell to other prospects.
Tips for answering "Do you work well with others?"
- Be specific: Pick one or two situations you that highlight your ability to work well with others.
- Tailor your response: Focus on the qualities the hiring manager wants by reading the job description and choosing situations that align with it.
- Keep it positive: It's okay to talk about a situation that was heated, as long as it has a positive ending.
Mistakes to avoid when answering "Do you work well with others?"
- Negativity: If you have negative thoughts about a previous boss or colleague, now isn't the time to mention them. Employers prefer new hires who get along with everyone in the workplace.
- Saying you avoid conflict: This will only make the interviewer think you can't handle difficult situations.
- Not personalizing your answer: It's a good idea to make sure your response aligns with the job responsibilities and company culture. For example, if you're applying for a remote customer service role, don't say you prefer to talk to people face to face.
- Over-exaggerating: It's rare to get along with everyone, so avoid exaggerated responses as it can make the interviewer think you are being untruthful.
- Being generic: Generic statements without real examples aren't compelling and fail to adequately answer the question.
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