“Team Player” Defined: Example Interview Answers To Behavior-Based Questions About Teamwork

What is teamwork? … and what does it really mean to be a “team player?” Here are some sample interview questions about teamwork and a formula for delivering answers that will impress them & increase your chances of getting hired.

What I’m trying to help you with is your ability to TALK about your teamwork competencies using examples from your own personal work experience.

What is teamwork?

Some definitions:

  • Encouraging and facilitating cooperation and trust.
  • Fostering team spirit, commitment, and group identity.
  • Working with others to achieve shared goals.

What are the qualities of a true team player?

Other people can count on you.
You can clearly express your ideas in a direct but respectful way.
You listen and try to understand different perspectives. People can give you constructive feedback without you getting defensive.
You show up prepared. You contribute to discussions and activities.
You work with others to get something done, always focusing on the productive solution and outcome as the goal.
You are able to change or adapt when you need to try something new based on the feedback or direction of others.
You give your best effort and you are responsible to the goals of the team.
You treat other people with consideration & courtesy.

Example Teamwork Interview Questions


“Provide me with a recent example of how you worked outside of your normal routine to accomplish a team goal. Were you challenged to learn a new skill? … and if so, how did you go about learning it, and how did you apply this skill to help the team project?”

“From past two jobs you’ve had, can you describe a situation when you were faced with a challenge that at first appeared impossible to accomplish but then was possible when teamwork was applied? … What methods or strategies did you use to help the team accomplish the goal?”

“Tell me about a time when a teammate of yours was not doing her part. What did you do? … What was the outcome?”

A Tip For Forming Your Answers:

I’m sure you are already familiar with the STAR Statement formula: Situation / Task, Action, Result. What I want to point out to you is a good way to begin your accomplishment statements.

In answering their questions, start by defining who you are and “what you like to do” in certain situations. Try beginning your answers like this:

“I’m the type of person who ______________.  I like to ______________.”

I’m the type of person who will lend a helping hand whenever needed. I like to support my teammates. SO TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION …”

I’m the type of person who tries to understand why people might be underperforming, then see what we can do as a team to help them get back up to speed. I like to help other people so we can all be more effective in reaching team goals. FOR EXAMPLE …”

I’m the type of manager that keeps team spirit high by offering incentives and surprises. I like to think about things I can do to keep up morale and support group performance. AS A FOR INSTANCE, TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION …”

Opening your answer with “this is who I am, this is what I like to do” allows you to define yourself for the interviewer. Continue with explaining the situation / task / problem, then explain the outcome or result:

“… So in the end we:

… were able to deliver on time because we worked together as a team.”

… decreased the cost of the project by 47% because we leveraged the abilities of the team instead of using a vendor.”

… got back on track as a team because of my communication plan for clearly stating the deadlines and the quality standards for deliverables that were ready to ship.”

Now here's what you can do to prepare:

1 Understand what "teamwork" really is, and memorize the above qualities that make a good team player. These are good words to use in an interview. 2 Write down your accomplishment statements related to teamwork, and try starting them with "I'm the type of person who ..." 3 Practice your STAR Statements! ... and if you liked this article or think it will help other people, please be a team player and share it on your social networks! ;) Thanks. ~ bob


  1. Hi Bob…

    I have your book and I will start reading it very soon. I am in a dilemma. I recently had an interview for a police dispatcher job, & I was a police officer for years and retired, but wanted to become a dispatcher. Every oral interview that I’ve taken in the past were usually situational not corporate sounding, so when I took this one it caught me off guard because a lot of the questions sounded like I was interviewing for a bank job instead of situational stuff like what would I do in case of this or that…you know regarding the job duties.

    Anyway, I did pass but barely, because my combined score was not high enough to get me in the top 15 candidates, because there were only 15 positions available and I believe 53 people took the test. I was very disappointed because I knew I was qualified, if not overqualified because I did dispatching in the past also. Now, I admit that I was rusty because I have been retired for a while, and I’ve usually past oral interviews before that I have taken, usually the first time. Basically I was just being myself and answered questions. But this one they asked me about teamwork, & I gave them mostly police and military examples, although my examples were not many and I think that’s what hurt me. I should have gave at least two examples for each question asked but since I was caught off guard my head was running like a Rolodex. I did not choke or anything but at the same time I knew I did not offer much information, or lease not as much as somebody who probably have more of a private industry background. All I’m trying to say is the job changed in the years and I guess they were used to hiring people who did not work in a related field before.

    I finally got the guts to call the lady at personnel, although she could not tell me much, we started kidding around and she got a little comfortable with me on the phone, and she started unofficially that is, telling me that the oral is what hurt me because I did not offer enough details or examples. She did mention that they did like me but that’s what hurt me. As far as I’m concerned although I did pass, in my mind I failed because I did not score high enough. She did say my Criticall test was fine. The criticall is a test that you take when you are putting it for a dispatcher position in most police departments now.

    Okay, I know you were going to tell me to read the book. & I will trust me I will. The one thing that still gets me is what the heck do you say when they ask you, “do you have anything to add”, or the big one that really gets to me is, “is there anything I would like to ask”? I quickly noticed on my way into the interview that the building was unmarked, and I had brought that up to them and asked if it was because of security, and they look quite surprised I noticed that…so, I could not think of anything else and then I asked another question I believe it was about do shift work because I was confused about the schedule. In a nutshell, I did not know what to ask so I just quickly came up with those 2 questions in my head. I did not want to ask about the job, because I should have known that from reading the announcement anyway. That would have been silly.

    Leaving the interview I shook all of their hands like I’ve done in the past, and thanked them, and at the same time I got the vibe that they did like me but in the back of my head I do not think I did as well as I should have. I kick myself in the butt that I did not get your book beforehand. But I did not know about your book before the interview, it was only until I barely passed that I start looking for help. As it stands now, I have to wait for the job to reopen in January, and reapply. The lady from personnel said all I have to do is take the oral again, but I could use my test scores from the written since they were okay.

    Please, please, give me some advice on how to end an interview. Especially what to add or to ask…and why I know I’m the best candidate. My wife said I did not sell myself well and I was too modest because I thought I would be boasting, and she was right… I kick myself in the butt… Even the lady in personnel told me that on the phone, that I should not have been so modest. I remember when they asked me what would make me the best candidate, I stated “I don’t think I am the best but I would hope that I’m (one of the best), because I met a good group of people when I was testing and I’m sure that if I’m one of those that are selected, I would be very proud to be part of that team…blah blah blah”.

    I think, that did not sound negative but it did not sound confident as it should have. I just did not want to go in there with a police background acting like a know it all. Because I didn’t. I know I would have to be totally re-trained for this job, but I was worried that they would think I was overconfident. That’s the bottom line. Because I think that would have made me look too cocky and that is not my personality…etc. Funny thing though, about 8 years ago I was actually interviewed for the same job and was offered it, but the interview was more situational, which is what I thought it would be again. (I could not take it at that time because one of my kids was sick and we were going back and forth to the pediatrician for months). It is out of state so I did not know if things had changed, and they did. That’s what I meant when I said the interview sounded more corporate like…because it was a different interview from the first time I took it. I went right through it then. The questions this time were standard-like…e.g., teamwork, social media sensitivity, what would I do to resolve this or that. I was totally caught off guard but winged it as best I could.

    I’m sorry for the long email, Bob. But I’m 50 years old and can’t afford to keep retesting over and over. Especially when having to compete with younger people which makes me feel not as confident anyway. I have to blow it through the roof the next time. And walk out of there with my chest sticking out like I used to when I was a young cop. Any help you can give me I’d appreciate. Thanks a lot buddy.



    P.s. Subconsciously I guess Bob, I did not want to come across like a “cookie cutter candidate”. What I mean by that is sounding rehearsed or giving the same answers that other people have given for the same job. I was told they only interviewed two candidates at a time so it’s not like you are in the hallway talking to other people because you’re the only one there. I really did not want to sound like a robot, but more like their future colleague . If you know what I mean. I guess it’s like my wife said, I got to play the game.

    • [email protected] says:

      Hi Rick, thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      Did you “ask for the job” ??

      If you are a more modest person who is not comfortable chalking up all the A, B and C reasons why they should hire you …

      … Then a solid closing statement is often something simple like:

      “Yes, I’d like to ask you to put your faith in me and offer me the job!”


      ~ bob

  2. great article, will be beneficial to my clients

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