Resignation numbers have remained abnormally high in the U.S. between July 2021 and October 2021, with millions of Americans quitting their jobs — which also means there are millions of new openings up for grabs. If you’re entering the market for the first time, or just looking to make a change, use this guide to prepare for your next interview.
- Tell us about a time when you had to solve a problem on you own. …
- Do you prefer to work independently or on a team? …
- Tell us about a time when you reached a goal alone. …
- What does ‘independence at work’ mean to you? …
- How do you like to be managed?
How to answer the interview question: Tell me about your experience working independently.
Refer to the job description in your answer
The job description will tell you what the employer is looking for in their employees. For instance, if you see that the job will require you to perform tasks such as collaborating with others, attending regular team meetings or other activities that require you to work in a group, youll want to provide examples of how you did this in past roles.
Its important to note that if the job description requires one work style over the other and you feel that it doesnt match your career needs, consider finding a position that does match your preference. Here is an example:
“I know this position requires a lot of independent work, and with my past experience completing a majority of projects on my own, I feel that this role is suited to my work style and personality.”
Why do employers ask, “Do you prefer working alone or in a group?”
This interview question really doesnt have a correct or incorrect answer. Employers genuinely like to know the personality types of their candidates, especially since many different jobs can require independent work, teamwork or a mix of the two. So for jobs that require employees to work as part of a team regularly, employers will be looking for candidates whose personalities best fit that role. In other instances where jobs require more independent work, employers will likely want to hire a candidate whose personality is more suited to working on their own.
How to answer, “Do you prefer working alone or in a group?”
When you prepare your answer to this interview question, use the steps below to highlight your strengths and provide examples of how your personality fits with each work style:
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages
There are advantages and disadvantages to both working regularly as part of a team and on your own. When the interviewer asks this question, be sure to discuss what you feel are the pros and cons of each working arrangement.
For instance, regularly working on a team can be highly advantageous when completing lengthy and complex work projects, as everyone on the team will have specific tasks that work together to achieve an objective. Likewise, in other circumstances, independent work may be more advantageous to encourage focus and attention to detail on highly involved projects. Heres an example:
“I feel that both teamwork and independent work situations come with their advantages and disadvantages. One advantage to teamwork is the collaboration with diverse professionals, however, working in groups every day can take away from focus and productivity in some cases. Similarly, even though independent work can provide the space for quiet concentration and productivity, it can also take away from some of the creative ideas and strategies that can come from group collaboration.”
After discussing what you feel are the benefits and drawbacks to both working independently and in a group, provide your own preference. For instance, if you find that working independently keeps you more productive and motivated throughout the day, explain this to the interviewer. If you find that working as part of a team engages you, motivates you and encourages you to overcome challenges to achieve objectives, tell the interviewer. Take a look at this example:
“I truly love being a part of a team where I can brainstorm with my colleagues to find the best methods for completing projects. I find that my teammates help keep me motivated to achieve goals and energize and excite me about new ideas.”