Almost every single job interview you will ever have will ask at least a few behavioural questions. Some of the most common ones?
- Give me an example of a time you’ve had to work with a team to achieve something.
- Tell me about a time when you had to resolve conflict as a member of a group.
- What is a time that you’ve demonstrated leadership as part of a team?
- To you, what is the most important thing to remember when working with a team of individuals to guarantee success?
There’s a good reason for these questions, too. Almost any role will require at least minimum contact with coworkers, and most companies want well-rounded team players that can report to a supervisor but also work efficiently in smaller pods. For some questions, it’s enough to list off the various groups you have been a part of, while for others, a situation needs to be explained, whether it’s to explain conflict resolution or to show how you’ve added value working alongside your team. Regardless, here are 5 examples of teamwork that are great to use, ranked from solid but overused to truly unique!
1. OLDIE BUT A GOODIE: Group Projects
(at Bentley, there’s a lot of them to choose from)!
Group projects. You either love them or don’t love them, often depending on what your group ends up being like. Depending on your specific experience, though, a group project has the potential to become a very good interview answer. Whether you had to deal with an uncooperative group member or members, or you had no challenges in your group and all went well, both make for great answers! Employers want to hear real, authentic experiences you’ve had with other individuals, so make sure that no matter what route you go, you can expand on it with details.
2. BASIC ESSENTIAL ANSWER: Coworkers
What a better way to wow a potential future employer than discuss a situation in which you worked with others at another work-related opportunity? This can be a time from when you had a part-time job or a summer internship. Perhaps you had to work on certain parts of a report or reconciliation with other team members doing similar tasks and had to make sure the final product was cohesive. Either way, a part-time job in which you had to work with others (such as being a server and communicating with the kitchen/food runners/etc., or life-guarding and running a beach or a pool successfully/safely). There are truly a lot of possibilities.
3. UNDERRATED ANSWER: Athletic Teams
(can be intramural)!
Even if you’re not a student athlete at Bentley (and if you are, please use that to your advantage in your resume and every interview), there’s a chance you’ve participated in an intramural or club sport. If you haven’t, but you’ve been to a Bentley event that required athletics (such as a kickball game or something else exciting on the G-Space), you can develop a well-crafted answer in advance about how you had to strategize and work with people you may have not known that well. An answer regarding athletics has the potential to be extremely interesting to an interviewer, because it’s unexpected. It’s also likely to be well-received, and even start up another conversation during an interview!
4. VERSATILE and SO MANY OPTIONS: E-Boards
Executive boards for clubs and organizations are great ways to get involved on campus and hands-on participate in your passions, whatever they may be! The best part is, you can use these experiences in your interviews! Because there are so many different options for clubs and orgs that you can join or become leaders in, this becomes an extremely interesting answer for an employer. Employers want to know more about you and what you like to do. An interviewer is definitely going to want to hear about how you’ve planned, ran, and received feedback on events you’ve had, how you’ve handled transitions from physical events to virtual interactions, and everything in between. You might end up being asked about the mission and vision of your org or just making your interviewer super impressed about how you spend your time. Because everyone is involved in a variety of different activities, you can be sure to stand out as a candidate with your own unique E-Board story!
5. TOP-TIER and RARE, UNLOCKED ANSWER: Volunteering Opportunities
Volunteering is important to many people, and, sometimes, it really does take a village. It takes a lot of people and creativity to brainstorm, plan, get enough people together (or just participate), and execute a volunteering event. You may simply volunteer your time on your own, you may volunteer as part of occasional events your clubs put on, or you may be in charge of planning said events. Regardless, volunteering and volunteer facilitation is not something that employers hear about nearly as enough as they want to. Truly, a volunteer event requires making an impact on people surrounding you, including community partners as well as your peers. Volunteer events are not thought of often for a question like this, but it is truly one of the best answers out there. Not only do employers understand, know, and appreciate the effort it takes to volunteer, they strive to find that drive and impact-oriented attitude in future employees.
6. BONUS: Roommate endeavours, starting up ideas or businesses with friends, etc.
If none of the above situations seem like something that you want to discuss in an interview, don’t worry! You’ve definitely done cool things that have required you to work with others. Maybe talk about conflict resolution that you’ve had to participate in with a roommate or a situation where you went on a trip (pre-COVID19 pandemic) and had to coordinate/travel with others. You can be creative with your answer, for sure, but make sure to develop a strong answer before you drop into your interview, because you don’t want to sound unprepared or unprofessional. If you’ve run a social media with a friend or even started up a small (or large, more power to you!) business with others, definitely use that as an example.
Like many interview tips, your answer to these questions will only be as good as you make them. Even if using a more rare example will make you stand out better as a candidate, if it’s not a strong answer that you can’t passionately convey, it doesn’t matter. Remember, you just have to show that you can be team-oriented in a way that best makes sense to you. Your individual experiences are important here, so if you feel great about mentioning your GB112 group project, please speak your truth!