How to Handle Interview Questions About Working With Others
Why Employers Ask the Question
The vast majority of jobs involve working with other people, from clients and customers to coworkers and direct reports. As a result, employers take particular interest in the social habits of job seekers. To learn more about the interpersonal tendencies and preferences of potential employees, interviewers may ask, “What sorts of people do you enjoy working with?” or a similar type of question. The open-ended line of questioning focuses on soft skills rather than technical abilities and elicits valuable information about the professional interactions of potential employees.
Crafting an Answer
An effective strategy for coming up with an appropriate response involves thinking like a typical employer, who would most likely want to hire someone capable of getting along with all types of people. Job seekers should therefore answer the question by emphasizing the ability to work well with others, regardless of personality. In addition to highlighting the basic ability, take the answer a step further by demonstrating actual enjoyment for collaborating with different kinds of workers. Candidates who truly prefer to work independently still need to display a collaborative nature during the interview, as most jobs require the input of others in some way.
Making the Answer More Effective
Even though most interviewers give preference to applicants who enjoy working with all sorts of people, simply claiming enjoyment generally proves inadequate. After all, anyone can make impressive yet unsupported claims about deriving enjoyment from collaborating with others. However, interviewers want to see proof in the form of specific examples drawn from past experience. In other words, instead of just describing the types of people most enjoyable to work with, think of instances when collaborating with a particular kind of worker produced favorable results and share the example of achievement with the interviewer. By illustrating the response with relevant examples, job seekers not only demonstrate an ability to work with others, but an ability to work with others in order to get things done.