Most job descriptions will list teamwork as a required skill for the ideal candidate. This is because it really is difficult to find a job that does not require the ability to work with other people, particularly in the context of a larger company. Accounting jobs can sometimes seem like there is very limited interaction, but the fact is that the communication and interpersonal skills required to be a good team member are essential to the qualifications of a skilled accountant.
Keeping that in mind, you’ll want to brush up on your teamwork skill promotional material to have on hand for an interview. What better place to show your prospective employer what an ideal candidate you really are? Here are a number of ways you can show (rather than tell) an interviewer how much of a team player you are.
Responding to Team-Work Questions
Behavioral interview questions such as the ones that interviewers use to determine your abilities as part of a team often start with a phrase like “tell me about a time when…” or “what would you do if…” Teamwork-based questions often make up a large portion of an interview, so you should certainly be prepared to explain what exactly makes you a good team member, and include real-world examples of your abilities in action.
Be Prepared with Examples
Questions that are used to determine whether you know how to work as part of a team can include ones focused on team projects you’ve worked on in the past, rewarding team experiences, working with difficult team members, team project failures, and any experiences you might have as a team leader. Having real and documented examples of your experience with each of these scenarios can help prepare you to respond well in the heat of the moment.
From an accounting perspective, obviously these types of questions will be tailored to the situation relevant to the particular position you are applying to. If you are applying to join a team of accounting professionals, you should be prepared to describe similar teamwork environments that you have experienced and contributed to. If you are expecting to be one of the few accounting professionals within a larger corporate team, the relevant scenarios would be related to interdisciplinary communication, collaboration opportunities, and teamwork across multiple disciplines. Depending on what types of opportunities you are looking to explore, you should certainly be prepared to provide examples of your teamwork skills in past work experiences.
What They Really Want to Know
Putting yourself in your interviewer’s shoes is a creative way to help prepare for an interview. Take a moment or two to really think about what your interviewer is looking to learn about you. Often what they really want to know is whether or not you are easy to get along with, whether you collaborate well, your communication style, how you handle stressful or disappointing situations, whether you can deal with difficult personalities and disagreements, etc. Keep that in mind when you are answering their questions and you are more likely to hit the nail on the head.