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How to Answer "In a Group Where You Don't Know Anyone, Would You Tell a Story, Listen or Both?"

Coming prepared to answer a wide variety of questions during your next job interview will set you apart from the rest of the candidates. The more prepared and relaxed you are during the interview, the better you will be received by the hiring manager. Anything you can do to cement your viability as a candidate will help increase your chances of getting chosen for the job. This article will address how to answer the question: “in a group where you don’t know anyone, would you tell a story, listen or both?”

See also: How to Answer "How Would You Describe Yourself?"

1. The Question's Purpose

When preparing to respond to such a question, you need to first understand the purpose for why a hiring manager would ask it. This type of question is a behavioral one and tests your reactions when you are involved in a group setting. A hiring manager can ascertain important details about you as an individual, depending on how you answer the question. The information that you provide to the hiring manager will help him or her to decide whether or not you are the right person for the job. This behavioral question is linked to the candidate’s personality and can become an indicator for how well (or not) the individual will interact in the workplace.

2. Crafting Your Response

When crafting your response to this question, it is important to keep the hiring manager’s perspective in mind. Focus on providing an answer that best demonstrates your ability to be a team player in the workplace. There are several factors to consider when creating your answer and they are discussed below.

  • Narrative – Individuals, who opt to tell a story in a group setting where they don’t know anyone, are generally more extroverted than those who would rather listen. The storytellers are not necessarily better than the listeners. They are able to break outside their shell and step out of their comfort zones. This enables them to grow and develop as a person in both personal and professional settings. However, their listening skills will take longer to develop and they can experience some drawbacks because of that.
  • Listening – Individuals, who decide to listen in these situations, are more introverted and less likely to step outside of their comfort zones. This can be detrimental to their success at work. However, they also have the ability to be better listeners than the storytellers and this fact can improve their own communication level at work.
  • Combination – Individuals, who decide to balance their response through storytelling and listening, have qualities in both extremes. They have the opportunity to develop the quickest in both personal and professional settings because they are practicing speaking and listening skills. This combination behavior will bring great success in the workplace.

3. Sample Responses

Once you understand the three options you could take, it is important to ascertain your own specific response. For example, you need to figure out specifically how you would respond in a similar group situation. Would you be the storyteller, the listener or a combination of both? Consider the following types of responses.

  • Narrator – “My personality is more outgoing and I enjoy getting to know new people. I would have no problem telling a story to a group of people I didn’t know. Being outgoing has helped me to succeed in stepping outside my comfort zone at work.”
  • Listener – “I’m an introvert and feel more comfortable listening to others talk, especially with a group of people that I don’t know. However, I do see my listening skills as a strength that I have carried over into my professional career in the workplace.”
  • Combination – “I would tell stories and actively listen to others in such a group setting. My personality balances both extroverted and introverted dimensions. This combination has been beneficial in developing my communication and team-building skills at work.”

See also: How to Answer "What Would be Your Ideal Working Environment?"

When responding to this question, it is important to first know yourself and how you would legitimately respond to the hiring manager. You want to demonstrate your team player mentality and your ability to step outside your comfort zone—while continually growing and developing as an employee. What would you do in a similar situation? Tell a story, listen or both?

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