We asked Connie Landry, CHRP, Senior Manager, Retail Markets Resourcing at CIBC, for her take on how to answer one of the many odd and confusing questions you might encounter during your next job interview. Read on, and good luck!
Q: Describe a situation where you had to work as part of a team to achieve a goal. What was your role in the team and how did you contribute?
Almost every work environment requires an element of teamwork and partnering. By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to understand how you have contributed to a team in the past so that they can get an indication of how you’ll work on their team.
Before you respond to this question, take a brief moment to think of a specific example to share. To begin, provide some background information or context about the situation for the interviewer. Next, be sure to outline the goal or task that the team was trying to accomplish and how the team came together. If you took on a lead role, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your leadership qualities. If you played a key role in achieving a deadline then be sure to outline that as well. The key is to outline your specific actions and the impact on the team.
Even cohesive teams could encounter roadblocks or differences of opinion along the way. If this happened in your situation, talk about how your team moved forward and if you played a key role in removing an obstacle. For example, did you mediate a disagreement between two team members? Were you involved in a disagreement with someone and you had to work out a compromise?
Be sure to let the interviewer know if your team achieved the goal and the end result. Not meeting the goal doesn’t always mean that the team was unsuccessful. If that is the case, then it is important to demonstrate what you learned from the situation. When a candidate shares an example with me where they were unsuccessful, I always ask if there is anything they would do differently in a comparable position next time, so be prepared to answer that question, just in case your interviewer thinks like I do.
In addition, this question could actually be a way for the interviewer to learn more about you beyond the nature of the question. In this example, the question targets teamwork, however it is also an opportunity to learn about the candidate’s other attributes, such as communication skills, leadership, relationship building, interpersonal skills, and ability to solve problems.
Whichever example from your experience you chose for any behavioural based interview question, take your time to think it through, and be sure to outline the Situation or Task, Actions you took and the Result (STAR). jp