Have You Ever Been On A Team Where Someone Was Not Pulling Their Own Weight? How Did You Handle It?

This behavioral interview question is usually put out there to gauge how you evaluate and communicate about your coworkers. Remember, very few people can answer “no” honestly. If you think you would, it’s time to brainstorm. Even people who’ve had great professional careers can usually look back to that student project where one teammate just did not do anything and they had to figure out what to do. Use that experience, even if it wasn’t at work.

Points to Emphasize

Navigate through these main ideas and you should cover everything the question looks to measure.

  • Compare what was expected to what was delivered in an objective way.

  • Make sure you discuss how this impacted the process of other teammates.

  • When discussing the changes and accommodations you needed to make to get the project done, remember to give credit to your other teammates where it’s due.

  • Discuss your role, even if it was not leadership, and how you coordinated with the others to make sure everything still came together.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

These are natural steps in putting your answer together sometimes, but you should keep working on your story until you get all these elements worked out.

  • Don’t aggrandize or editorialize things to emphasize blame or to elevate the situation’s importance. Just stick to the facts.

  • Remember that gossip and other background details are not part of the process, and keep them out.

  • The focus should not be on how someone else saved the day, even if they kind of did. You need to be in the middle of the discussion.

  • Don’t forget to discuss any negotiations or accommodations that were reached with outside parties, like clients. Interviewers like people who can work in teams, but they love people who can communicate well with customers and people in other departments.

Sample Answer

If you keep things neutral and goal-focused like the example below, you should hit the right tone. After that, it’s just a matter of putting together the right points to emphasize your flexibility.

When I was in college, we had to write these case analysis reports that showed how we would plan solutions to different production problems. During one assignment, we had a student who simply stopped coming to class. At first, it seemed like that would slow us down, but once we broke down the extra work it actually streamlined our process. It was just a matter of giving the right tasks to the right people, and I was happy to be able to help sort that out.

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