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Interview TOMORROW - the old 'teamwork' question..........

(10 Posts)
niceglasses Thu 04-Sep-08 10:57:43

I have an interveiw (and dreaded presentation) for a wee promotion tomorrow. I work in an academic library.

I always, always struggle with the old teamwork question. Anybody out there good at answering some version of these?

What is important in teamwork?

How do you work in teams?

How do you deal with problems/what are the problems in teams?

I'm useless at these types of questions! Not good at interviews on the whole really.

Any help very very gratefully recd!!

theworstaddiction Thu 04-Sep-08 11:11:41

Message withdrawn

takingitasitcomes Thu 04-Sep-08 13:39:03

I hate these too! I'd probably respond to the first q with how important it is to identify team members' strenghths (and weaknesses) and to allocate jobs and define roles accordingly.

The second question is really quite personal, so my response won't be relevant - are you a problem solver? Or someone who watches how others are feeling and tries to diffuse conflict? Are you a leader type? A 'worker' who likes to be given set tasks to complete or a delegator who can work out programmes of work for the whole team to follow? These (and others) are all important - but remember to present your personal qualities as positive (so if you're a 'worker' don't undersell yourself by saying 'I'm not really a leader' or whatever).

Again number three is tricky, as I've found they often ask for an example of when you have dealt with a problem and what you did. I usually try to emphasise my ability to be honest about problems whilst maintaining the peace. The problems that arise in teams, IME, are usually to do with personality clashes or when people come nuder unusual stress (like someone going through divorce etc).

I hope these rambling thoughts are at least useful in helping spark some ideas for you. Good luck. Act confident and they'll believe you!

niceglasses Thu 04-Sep-08 19:39:40

Good advice, thanks very much.

mylovelymonster Thu 04-Sep-08 19:47:30

Communication - informal and formal - is a perhaps obvious element to facilitate team function, but often the area where teams fall down.
Diplomacy and judgement - listening to and getting to know someone and how they like to do things and approaching them on the level they feel most comfortable.

Lilymaid Thu 04-Sep-08 19:54:38

What is important - one thing is that everyone should know what their jobs are within the team whether they are jobs that only they do or ones where all or some of the team combine to do that job.
Also important that there are established procedures - e.g. when ordering a book someone (perhaps an academic) will suggest it, it will then perhaps go before the library committee, it will then be the job of the acquisitions librarian to procure it at best price and then it is passed to a cataloguer and so on ...
Problems - team members who do not pull their weight or those who try to take over. Ensuring that the right person is doing a job, but that there is always back up.
Hate those questions too - not such a problem when you are a sole librarian, though!

plantsitter Thu 04-Sep-08 20:07:51

To work well in a team, I have to be aware of my strong points and to accept my weaknesses and adjust my role in a team according to others' strengths and weaknesses. For this, communication is key.

I like to be familiar with other team members' roles and encourage other people to familiarise themselves with mine so we can cover each other in an emergency.

Problems in teams arise when people don't respect others' opinions or people feel that others are not pulling their weight, but as long as communication is kept open these problems can be kept to a minimum. It's often a team's weaknesses that can also be its strengths, such as different work approaches, opinions and methods. The key is to have the same result in mind (reinforce this with some 'customer service' or whatever is appropriate in your case mumbo jumbo).

That kind of thing.

niceglasses Sat 06-Sep-08 08:33:28

I got the job! Very pleased. BUT I feel some of the 'good' has been taken out of it as

1. I was the only candidate. The only other one withdrew on the day!

2. When they brought me in to offer me the job, they said they had some 'reservations'. Basically that I have no or little teaching experience (the job involves some teaching to students).

I feel a bit confused - sort of happy but flat.

KatyMac Sat 06-Sep-08 08:38:05

Congratulations Niceglasses

If they weren't fairly sure you could d the job (ie if you didn't meet a vital part of the job spec) they would re-interview

So they think you are probably capable. However when someone thinks I will do 'OK' at something it makes me put my heels in and ensue that I am do you react?

That could be what they were hoping for hmm?

shangrila Sat 06-Sep-08 08:49:04

Congratulations niceglasses

Working in the sector, I would say that offering a job and voicing 'reservations' is unfair to the successful candidate as it potentially puts them in a stressful situation regarding their ability to do the job. No wonder you feel a little flat.

But this is more down to their general incompetence in communication. I am assuming that what they really mean is that they are happy to offer you the job and that during the interview process they have identified a number of areas for development/training needs. These will be addressed during the induction and will ensure that you feel competent and confident in role at the earliest possible opportunity.

We do this quite regularly. I think they are saying the same, but in a cack-handed way. Shame on them and well done you.

Enjoy your new job.

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