Interview questions and answers: Working alone or in teams

It's a well known fact in the employment industry that everyone's 'preferred working styles' (PWS) are different. Extroverts work best in large teams. Introverts work best on their own, or in less social environments.

So the interview question, 'Do you prefer to work alone, or in a team?' is very relevant. This interview question is asked when the work environment is a significant factor in the job role. This is both a skills interview question, and a personal assessment interview question.

Think about your interview answer

This interview question is asked as much for the interviewee's benefit as the employer's. Some people get jobs for which they're quite unsuited, and suffer serious stress as a result.

You need to ask yourself how you feel about this interview question, because you could find yourself in the wrong job. An honest interview answer can also save you from a job you'd loathe.

Answering the 'Working alone or in teams' question

You have to provide extra information with your interview answer. You need to explain your interview answer effectively to clarify your response.

Additional explanations can include:

  • Preferred working style
  • Productivity
  • Preference for either environment for a particular reason
  • Dislike of a particular environment
  • Job related reasons

Note: You'll find you use several of these elements in your interview answer.

Preferred working style

The PWS is a basic reality of people's work methods in modern workplaces.


People do work much better in their preferred environments. In many jobs productivity is directly affected by working alone or in a team.

Preference for either environment for a particular reason

The interview question is based on preferences, so your reason is relevant.

Dislike of a particular environment

A negative response to a type of environment is also indicative of your PWS.

Job related reasons

Some people, like aspiring managers, need to work in team environments to develop necessary skills. Other career paths may prefer solo work.

Your interview answer should define your reasons for your preference. The purpose of the interview question is to ensure the right fit for the right applicant.


A very large office administration team is recruiting for a new member. The position is for an internal auditor. The interview question is 'Do you like working in a big busy team?' The interview answer is a strong negative, in this case.

'To be honest, no. My preferred working style is to work in smaller teams or on my own. I'm used to working as a self starter, without supervision, and managing my workload myself. I find that I'm far more productive in that environment.'


The interview answer shows:

  • Strong preference for working solo or in small teams
  • Reasons given are productivity and experience based
  • Applicant is self managing
  • PWS fits position, which isn't involved in daily admin roles

The applicant's interview answer fits the job role.