When you walk into a professional interview, you probably expect to be asked about your past work experiences and your overall career goals. However, you might be surprised at how much the hiring manager wants to know about your last position. For instance, the interviewer may ask, “How are work teams or groups organized” He or she does not ask this to acquire information about competitors. Instead, the hiring manager wants to see what you are used to and if you can adapt to the company’s work environment. After all, it isn’t an effective situation if it takes you a year to truly get acclimated to an entirely new system. As such, you will need to draw attention to comparable tasks and projects.
Points to Emphasize
When you respond to the question, you should keep in mind what you already now about your prospective position. Tailor your response to the specific job’s responsibilities.
- Focus on the positives of working with a team or group.
- Highlight your responsibilities within the team or group.
- Mention how effective you were with your coworkers.
- Concentrate on relevant experiences and tasks.
Try to be confident and clear in your response. Hiring managers are drawn to those who work well and remain calm under pressure.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
This is a fairly straightforward question, so just be honest in your reply. However, consider these tips as you build your response:
- Avoid talking about professional mistakes or mishaps.
- Do not spend too much time explaining your last company’s inner workings.
- Avoid speaking negatively about coworkers, supervisors or company policy.
- Do not downplay your role on the team or group.
For a good response, make sure you answer the question completely and don’t be evasive. Also, try to appear enthusiastic about your work and your role in the team.
Here is an example of a good answer to the question of your last employer’s organization:
In my last marketing position, we split teams in a way that would allow them to be fully and independently functional. Each group had specialists in writing, design, client negotiations and an administrative intern. I was in charge of relaying the client’s needs back to the team and making sure we focused on the exact parameters of the project. Additionally, I negotiated the terms of the contract and the details of a reasonable timetable.
Remember, if you are asked this question, the interviewer probably wants to know if you are capable of working effectively with a team. As such, showcase this quality.