Despite the question you need to answer this as a bit of both. I wouldn’t suggest going into an interview and saying I prefer to work independently only, because it narrows your suitability for the role and leaves your employer thinking what now, this person does not want to work in a team and for all you know the job you are being interviewed for could be in a big team with very little independent work! Tread carefully.
In most roles people work as both a team and independently anway. For example you work in a team of 3 people, you all do the same kind of job but you all individually have your own jobs. So you work together and communicate as a team for the things that are team linked but for the tasks on your own you wouldn’t consult with them. This happens more often than not.
An employer asking this question in an interview also wants to see what kind of person you are. Do you need people, do you prefer your own company which allows them to see if you are a loud or quiet person, all factors that they will want to take into account before deciding if you are the right fit for their company.
For example you are being interviewed for a busy call centre environment in sales and you prefer your own company and like to work on your own. Is this the right place to work for you? In that kind of environment you would need to be loud, full of confidence and like working as part of a massive team but independently on your own sales.
Or you are very confident like the buzz of working with other people and are being interviewed for a job as a library assistant! Wrong environments!
As long as the environment is right for you then the best way to answer this question is by explaining you like both areas and are happy to work as part of a team or on your own initiative depending on the circumstances at the time.
Photo By: HansKristian