This interview question "Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their weight? How did you handle it?" is asking you to do two things:
Identify a situation where you had to deal with a non-contributing team member.
Explain how you resolved that situation.
Let's dive into it!
Part 1: Identifying The Situation
A member on a team who doesn't do their part? We've all been there!
For an effective interview answer, identify a situation that is relevant to the job you're applying to. This will help you showcase transferable skills when you answer the second part of the question.
Part 2: Explaining How You Handled It
There are several ways to effectively explain how you handled a delicate situation like this:
You started a dialogue with the person, to understand why they were finding it difficult to contribute.
This answer showcases your communication and interpersonal skills.
You revisited the team's goals/mission, to understand if the team member was finding it difficult to align with the goals.
This answer showcases your leadership skills.
You clarified team members' roles, to help provide more structure for the team members.
This answer showcases your organization and planning skills.
You found new ways to motivate the team member. Lack of motivation can equal lack of contribution.
This answer showcases your management skills.
Feel free to use a combination of these options to give a more layered answer!
Examples For Each Option
"At university, one of the group members in my senior year project was not contributing effectively. I chose to have a conversation with them and found out they were having some problems at home. We were able to provide support and they were able to contribute more effectively as a result."
"A member of my client success team was not feeling in touch with the greater mission of the organization, and therefore feeling lost as to how to contribute. I called a meeting where we participated in team-building exercises to help reiterate the purpose and mission. The exercises helped the team member find direction."
"A team member was finding it difficult to contribute because they were unclear as to what their role was. I helped resolve the situation by creating a more detailed work plan that specified each member's role and responsibilities on the project."
"A project at my last workplace was facing constant delays and setbacks. As a result, a couple of team members were feeling demotivated. As the team lead, I organized a retreat which helped improve motivation for those members and the overall team."
Take these steps to help you prepare for this interview question: