Are you really good at telling your little kiddies bedtime stories before bed? If not, you better start practising. Why? Because you are about to become your interviewer’s storyteller. (How exciting!) While this is a little more stressful than telling your children a story, rest assure that this is not as tedious as telling King Shahryar a tale. (If he didn’t enjoy the story, he would chop off the storyteller’s head at dawn ☹.) Although you do not have to worry about that, you do need to prove that you are a team player. But how do we do that?
Under section C, subcategory 83 in the WikiHedgeHogs Online Interview Guide for the Strategically Challenged, states simply that, teamwork questions tend to gravitate towards behavioural-related situations. They will ask things such as, ‘Are you a good team player?’ ‘Have you ever covered for a coworker?’ ‘How are you with sharing credit?’ Putting those questions aside, you can almost guarantee that you will be asked, ‘How do you work with a disagreeable individual?’
This question is far from pleasant and has many open doors. One possibility is to talk about the boss that wanted you to work too hard or wasn’t very clear with his instructions. However, it is never a good idea to speak down on your past bosses. It will be perceived that you have a tendency of foul mouthing your upper-management. But, if you do have a unique situation, you can talk about it – without the heavy emotion. Simply relay the information and move on.
Warning: Take note that interviewers appear to be friends. They are not your friends. Do not fall for their fake warm mannerisms.
Possibly a better situation to draw upon is that coworker that keeps popping the bubblegum next to you. Or how you had to train a new worker who kept interrupting your instructions with pictures and random videos. Oh, and on that note … let’s interrupt this article with this very important video:
Other frequently asked questions
Other questions that you could be asked to share are how you felt after stepping into a leadership role. Even if you haven’t had the official title, there are loads of times that you had to fill the shoes. May it be helping someone through a project, attending to the nuisance of putting together an office birthday party … even if it may be going outside to order your boss that mocha he entirely doesn’t deserve. Take charge of these situations and tell your story!
Another common question is how you reacted when your team project failed. Take a shovel and dig deep into that painful grave and look at the pieces of your coworkers. Rather than focus on the negative aspects of the project, talk about how you recovered. Were you perhaps a better team after the fact? Did you learn something from the experience? All of this your interviewer is just dying to know. (No, not really.) Don’t let him down!
What about that time when your coworker had to leave early from work? How did you respond? Did you try to hide the fact that he wasn’t feeling well or did you let him sink into the ground? A better response would be to talk about how you pitched in when you saw him struggle. Upper management like to hear their coworkers pitching in for one another.
How to answer to the question
Okay, so now we have a few stories to tell, but how can we easily talk without turning this into a monologue? The best policy is to use the STAR Method. The STAR Method allows the person to quickly retrace their steps, displaying the outer shell of their story.
Unless it’s something spectacular, it’s important to remember to use situations that have happened within the last year or three. Every answer should be related to work. However, if you are a brand-new worker, freshly out of school, it’s okay to refer to university or volunteer projects that you have previously worked on. While many school-related projects can result in a negative experience, try to steer away from the damage and talk about the growth and result.
Assessment Centre … the what now?
Sometimes in interviews you are asked to attend an Assessment Centre. These events are like an interview on steroids. Basically you will come in with countless other people of all kinds of backgrounds and be asked to participate in group interviews, take psychometric tests and roleplaying. Let’s come together again for a quick overview of how to survive such devastating situations:
Group interviews can be difficult. Many times you will find yourself sitting in a room with a crowd ! (alright, more like 7 people) who all are just as qualified as you. This is intimating and many people question what the purpose of these group interviews are. (Mainly, it is to save time.) Who knows, perhaps the company you are applying for massively messed-up and now needs to higher a huge sum of people and, guess what, you’re the one who gets to take the fall! So how do you survive this unnatural tidal wave?
Stay attentive: This isn’t a game of jeopardy. This is a time to be patient and listen to what the other candidates are saying. Tailor your answers to show how you can do something a bit better than Irene who is sitting next to you.
Confident: Remain confident with a pleasant smile – nothing too much, otherwise you could be considered a clown.
Roleplaying: Common roleplaying activities are used for jobs such as customer service or flight attendant or customer service positions. In both groups, as the top dog, you will be expected to deal with not so pleasant individuals – but that’s okay, because the customer is always right! (Right?) The purpose of such roleplaying events is to see how you react in various situational judgement scenarios and see if you are adaptable to the requirements of the position and, of course, the overall employment body.
It’s important to remember that a lot of these group interviews are put into place to demonstrate that you are a team player. If you dominate the conversation, it is likely that you will not obtain the position. So, be aware of how much time you are using by your responses. Remain that confident person we know is deep down inside you and don’t freak out!