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The Question Doctor...
The Cure for the Common Question

“Would you describe yourself as a team player?”

If asked this question, the candidate knows that teamwork is important to the organization (as it is to most). The obvious answer is “Yes” and given the way the question is asked, “Yes” is a complete answer.

Better Question: “I am sure you would describe yourself as a team player. What makes you a team player?”

This question invites the candidate to confirm his status as a “team player” and to offer thoughts about what makes a good team player and why teamwork is important in the workplace. If you are lucky, he may even provide evidence of once being part of a work team.

Even Better Question: “Our organization’s success is based on teamwork. Describe a time when you were part of a work team.”

Teamwork is non negotiable. Your best performers are team players and you are looking for others who have demonstrated their ability to contribute to a team. Now is not the time for the theory of teamwork. You want evidence.

The candidate must tell you when and where she was part of a team, the purpose of the team, how she contributed to the team, whether the team was successful in meeting its objectives on time and within budget, and how the team surmounted obstacles. Then ask yourself, is this how my best team players would have done it? The better the match, the more likely the candidate will become a productive member of your team.

During his Interview Right to Hire Right seminar, Nelson Scott works with participants to develop and ask questions that will yield the high quality information needed to make the right hiring decisions.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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