Discussing Your Teamwork Experience in a Job Interview
Heres an overview of my TODAY acronym as a way to prepare for job interviews.
T – Teamwork
O – Overcoming Obstacles
D – Duties of your past position
A – Achievements
Y – Your Strengths and Weaknesses
This week Ill start with Teamwork. This doesnt mean that youre limited to discussing your experiences on the JV Basketball team, but rather any occasion when you had to enlist the help of others to complete a task. Work with a volunteer group? A class project in college? A marketing presentation at work? Even working with your family to coordinate preparing holiday meals qualifies as teamwork skills.
Employers want to know that you are able to work with other people to accomplish a task. It doesnt matter if you were the leader or a dutiful worker bee, its still important to find examples of how you work in a team. It also doesnt matter if the team was successful or not—many times you learn more from an unsuccessful attempt rather than a successful one.
Think of it this way, employers are looking for examples of your experience that clearly illustrate what you are like to work with on a day-to-day basis. What challenges or excites you? If there is a difficult member of the team, how do you handle the situation? If team members suddenly have to change their plans, are you able to be flexible? What is your work ethic and how do you deal with others who do not share your views? All of these are very important clues to an employer as to how you will handle all of the tricky situations that could arise once you start to work for them.
Remember when crafting these examples to follow this simple guideline. Set the stage, be the star, and describe how it resolved. Your examples should not last more than 3-4 minutes, and you do need to include details that paint a picture of the situation to the interviewer. Practice with a friend or a tape recorder to make sure that youre being descriptive enough and interesting.