Interview Tips

How to Answer the Question: Do You Prefer to Work in a Team or Independently?

By: Shane Hostetler
Aug 5, 2020 • 5 min read
Image Credits: Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

How to Answer:

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

During an interview, an interviewer may ask you this question – “Do you prefer to work on a team, or more independently?” There is no one right answer on how you prefer to work, as each job may require different skills and working environments. You can choose one or both; just be sure to explain your answer. 

Answering this question well can demonstrate your versatility and show that you are a good fit for the position. Here are some tips on how to answer this question.prefer to work alone or in groups

Try not to choose one answer.

This may seem like a trick answer, but one of the best solutions includes not picking one or the other. This is one of the best ways to answer this because you demonstrate that you are competent at both. Also, most jobs will require you to work alone and with others at some point over your time working there.

It is essential to show the interviewer that you can work and succeed on your own. Demonstrate your ability to thrive on your own and your independence. You want to show that you are hardworking and efficient and that you will be able to get the job done regardless.

On the other hand, you want to show that you work well with others. It is good to be independent, but you also want to show your ability to collaborate and work as a team. This is especially important if the job encompasses working in groups.

Example: Honestly, I enjoy both types of work. I really enjoyed it when I ran my own online t-shirt business because I was able to rely on myself and had complete control over the decisions. However, I loved working on the design team at my last job. It was great to play off each others’ ideas and to come up with something better at the end. 

Tailor your answer to the job environment.

Even though it is important to show that you are capable of both, there may be a better choice for you to lean towards. If you are applying to work on a team, demonstrating that you love working with others will assure the interviewer that you are a good fit.

If you are applying for a position that entails working alone for the majority of the time, show you are okay with that. Show that even though you are capable of and enjoy working on a team, you like to work alone.

Example: Even though I enjoy and have experience with both types of work, I prefer to work with a team. There is just something so special about working together towards a designated goal. Also, when ideas are passed through multiple people, it is more likely that errors will be found and fixed. 

Be honest with how you prefer to work.

You should be honest with yourself before you apply for interviews. If you hate working alone and love being around other people, it is probably not the best idea to apply for a job where you spend most of your time isolated. Whether you prefer to work on a team or prefer to work independently, you have to be honest with yourself and your potential employer about this. It’ll make you a stronger employee and help you find the right job! 

It is okay to have preferences about your ideal work environment. Choose to apply for jobs that you would enjoy and thrive in. 

You’re on your way to nailing your interview and finding the perfect job for you!


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