Can Being a Team Player Hurt Your Chances of Getting Hired?

February 13th, 2018

By Dave Speiran, Toronto Legal Recruiter

Since we were kids, we were always encouraged to play well with others. We were told to put the team first and get along with our teammates. There has always been a huge emphasis on this in the work world, as well.

You see job ads all the time that are looking to add a new “team member.” Companies want to hire people who put the team first. They want people who will be a good fit for the team. They want people that fit the company culture.

It makes sense to have a team of team players. In fact, according to a survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers, 78% of employers seek candidates who demonstrate strong teamwork.

Knowing this, it makes sense for candidates to emphasize their experience and ability to be a team player, right? Actually, no. New research suggests emphasizing being a team player can decrease your hireability by 50.8%!

Why Stating You Are a Team Player Can Hurt Your Chances of Getting Hired

The issue is not actually the fact you are a good team player and can thrive in a team environment. The issue is with how focusing too much on being a team player in your resume can make you look passive and make you appear to be a weaker candidate.

“We saw that if you are a team player, if you’ve collaborated with teams or if you’ve worked with teams, it’s good to mention it once,” Kushal Chakrabarti said on mic.com. “But if you mention it more than two or three times, they make the resume sound really weak.”

Words That Convey You Are a Team Player

team player

The phrase “team player” is so overused today that it has become generic and lost its meaning. Many recruiters and hiring companies don’t like to see it on resumes.

Avoid using too many words or phrases that communicate you are a team player. Common words to use sparingly include:

  • Team first
  • Teammate
  • Collaborative/collaborate
  • Assisted

Rather than just say you are a team player, use your experience, skills, and qualifications to show how you are a team player. Answer “How am I a team player?” in your resume.

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IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Technology (IT), Accounting and Finance, Consumer Goods, eCommerce and Retail, Financial Services and Insurance, Startup, B2B and Industrial, Operations and HR, Professional Services and Legal, Media, Digital and Marketing, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, Emerging Technology and Telecom, and  Sales. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Dave Speiran

Dave leads IQ PARTNERS’ Legal practice, where he focuses on providing specialized recruitment solutions to top law firms across the GTA and Canada. Dave has been recruiting in the staffing industry for almost 20 years with a proven record of providing the right candidates for permanent and contract roles. His focus on building strong relationships allows clients to trust in his understanding of their organization and their staffing needs.