Job Interview Tip: How to Answer the "Team Player" Question

There are always a few job interview questions practically guaranteed to trip up candidates.  In interviews, you always have to strike the right balance and tone, and some questions make that difficult.  One of them is the “weakness” question, but another biggie is:

“Are you a team player?”

You’ll almost certainly get asked this question in your next job interview.  No matter what, always answer “Yes.”  There’s no time you need to ever say “No.”

But, there’s a catch.

Managers do want to hire team players (they don’t want a completely independent maverick who won’t take direction, after all), but you shouldn’t come across as too much of a team player, especially if you’re interviewing for any job in sales, but especially in medical or health care sales.

So, you answer “yes,” and give examples.  When you give examples to support your team players status, they need to be specific:

  • You’ve assisted folks who needed help
  • You’ve helped co-workers get projects completed in time
  • You’ve helped someone think strategically about problems or issues

You’ll notice that all those examples speak to your skills—as someone who gets things done, as someone who thinks strategically, and as a resource (or a go-to person).

But make sure you don’t get too far into this team player thing.  If you’re in sales, that’s more of an individual role, and I need to understand that you don’t need the help of a team to be successful.  I want to feel confident that you can be successful by yourself, and that you don’t have to have someone holding your hand.

Hit the right note, and you’ll likely have a successful job interview.

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