Talking about your team experience — Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

Interview questions about teamwork are frequently a part of the hiring process. Fulton students are often asked to “Tell me about a time that you were on a team when ….”

I thought it might be helpful if I put together a list of the elements that are found on highly effective teams. I’d like you to look over the list and evaluate your team experiences. For how many of the following do you have a story that can describe your performance as a team member or leader?

Actions that are committed, consistent, and productive
Communication – that is honest, robust and ongoing
Conflict – healthy and resolved
Established roles
Focus on results
Goals – that are clear, common and committed
Ideas – lots of them, contributed by all
Leadership at all levels – all members take ownership for team’s success
“Multiplying resources” – make resources and budgets go farther
Recognition that is abundant coupled with accountability
Respect — that is mutual across all members

Teams can vary in size from two or three people working on a class project, to an athletic team or a large student organization. They can be formally organized (or assigned) or informal and casual. Developing the skills to accomplish things by working with others is important because it is needed so often.

I recommend that you make and keep a copy of this list; and, refer to it the next time that you are part of a team. Evaluate how your team is doing as you go along. If you notice that the team is weak in certain areas, think of ways to make improvements.

Also, keep records of your teams’ successes. Make notes that show how you incorporated these elements and refer to your notes when you are preparing for interviews. You want to be able to convey that not only do you have “team experience” but, that you know how to be an effective team player.

For more details about effective teamwork, click on the following links:


Joyce Donahue is a career counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She is a nationally certified career counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.