Are You More Energized by Working With Data or by Collaborating With Other Individuals?


One of the most common questions candidates in many industries are asked by prospective employers is- “are you more energized by working with data or by collaborating with other individuals?” This question may also be phrased in alternate ways- such as “do you prefer working with a team or alone?” or “are you an independent worker?” What the interviewers are looking for in your answer will differ depending on the job you’re applying for. If you are going to be working solo most of the time- they may want to hear that you prefer working on your own without teammates. If the position requires collaborating with a team- they will want to hear more about your interpersonal skills and togetherness preferences.

Before you begin answering interview questions- ask yourself similar queries. If you really prefer to work alone- apply for positions that require extended periods of independence and solitude. On the flip side- if you thrive with human contact- apply for job listings that require the need for spending time with and getting along well with others. Just like you want your persona to seem like a perfect fit to employers- you also want a job to be an appropriate fit for whom you truly are.

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How to Answer the ‘Are You More Energized by Working With Data or by Collaborating With Other Individuals’ Interview Question

Describe Enjoyable Team Experiences: If the job you are applying for involves working on a team- be ready to give details of enjoyable group experiences. For example- you can talk about how you enjoy learning from others- getting feedback from workmates from diverse backgrounds- sharing your skills with teammates to satisfactorily accomplish goals- and growing together as a team. It’s always a good idea to give concrete- specific examples- such as how you interacted with your last department to reach a group goal and then celebrated together after the company CEO recognized your achievement.

Share Stories of Independent Success: When the job is one that requires solitude and independence- highlight ways you find alone time energizing. You might say that when you know the buck stops with you and the success of a project rests solely on your shoulders- you surge ahead and get the job done. You can share a story about when you were put in charge of a project- and you successfully carried out all tasks until completion was accomplished- noting that there were aspects of the project that were challenging- but since there was no one else to pass the duties off to- you forged ahead and handled it like a champ.

Show You Can Go Either Way: No matter whether the job you’re applying for is more geared for teams or individuals- it’s wise to show you see value in both ways. For example- if you are applying for a position that is research based and involves long hours of alone time- you can point out that a bit of collaboration during first draft or final stages can be helpful. If you are presenting yourself as a collaborative team player- you can add to your praises of teamwork that there are times when solitude is valuable as well. Stating that you are able to work together with others as well as alone shows that you are flexible and can roll with changes as they occur. It’s very important to answer interview questions honestly but with the career position’s requirements firmly in mind.

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Sample ‘Are You More Energized by Working With Data or by Collaborating With Other Individuals’ Interview Answers

1. Although I see value in working independently on certain aspects of a project- I am especially energized by the collaboration that occurs when people work together. It’s not just about working together; it’s also about learning and growing together. I have learned much in this industry informally through interactions with my teammates. During collaboration- I have also had the opportunity to teach others. There’s few ways to solidify my own knowledge and understanding more deeply than by having to teach others. I have seen collaboration be empowering to both experienced senior workers and younger- greener teammates.

2. I am energized by working with data and enjoy spending blocks of time deciphering research- writing computer code- and/or typing up articles. When I have quiet time to concentrate- I am able to produce high quality work that I can later share with my team. When I am in charge of my own timetable and work output- I find that I am highly productive. Although I prefer to be solely responsible for my work quality and quantity- I also enjoy interacting with others on the job. I have learned much from giving and receiving feedback- and as long as alone time and team time are balanced- I can get the job done.

Now that you know how to answer interview questions about working with data vs. collaborating with a team- you’re ready to make a great impression on your next employer.