We all have different work personalities and styles.

Some of us prefer to work solo, while others thrive in a team setting. The key is knowing the best way for you to thrive at work and learn how to adapt if the right conditions aren’t present.  

Most jobs require a balance of being both a team player and an independent worker. But, often, you’re called upon to be one or the other.

As employers remain careful and selective with their hiring practices, job seekers should be prepared to be asked about their work style. While you don’t have to take a hard line toward one or the other, you must recognize the ideal situation for achieving optimal performance and how to answer the question in the best manner. Here’s why:

Positions that suit your work style will make landing the job easier. There’s a shoe for every foot. If you’re applying for jobs that clearly state in the description that teamwork is a requirement, but you’re more productive and successful working alone, then you could be wasting your energy--and the recruiter’s--trying to land that job. When you apply for a job that fits, you will know it -- and the interview process will feel easier.

Recognize that you’re probably a little bit of both work types. It’s important to realize that you probably do thrive working in groups at times, even if you think you’re a loner. Likewise, you can probably be productive when working alone even if you thrive when engaged in teamwork.  When looking for a job, don’t get caught up in defining your work preferences. It’s acceptable to say you are more innovative when you work alone, but that you love learning from colleagues when you have the opportunity to collaborate.

You can fake it ‘til you make it, but will you be successful? You can successfully fake your work preferences during the interview process, but if you land the job the wrong job, you can end up struggling every day. You will be setting yourself up for failure, and you could find yourself right back where you started: looking for a new job.  

 

Wall Street veteran Lindsay Broder (on twitter: @occurpeneur) is a certified professional coach known as The Occupreneur Coach. Based in New York, she specializes in Occupreneurcareer coaching, strategy & consulting services for highly successful professionals & organizations who strive to improve one or more aspects of their businesses or careers.