Teamwork is crucial for any company to thrive and last. As such, recruiters often use teamwork interview questions to identify and set aside applicants who can work well in a team setting.
It can be nerve-wracking to address inquiries about how you behave and perform in a team. The key is to be mindful of your answers and remain objective, especially when sharing your past experiences working with a group.
Here, we will demonstrate how to correctly answer some of the most common teamwork interview queries and ace them effortlessly.
Let’s dive in!
- Teamwork interview questions are a set of queries that recruiters ask to evaluate a candidate’s capability to work and thrive in a team.
- The best way to handle questions in workplace interactions is to be objective and to take inspiration from your professional experiences.
- Use the STAR method when describing specific situations or experiences during your interview. Doing so demonstrates your aptness to fulfill the job and make favorable contributions in the workplace.
Why Do Employers Ask Teamwork-Related Questions at Interviews?
Employers utilize teamwork interview questions to check whether applicants are team players and able to cooperate in pursuit of a common goal. These questions allow them to gauge how each individual behaves and handles collaborations and stressful situations in a group setting.
Interviewers might even conduct teamwork interview queries in a group setting. For instance, for teamwork interview questions for healthcare recruiters, prepare mock scenarios of interactions among co-workers that are typically observed in hospitals and health centers.
Applicants are then assessed based on how they behave and react in a given scenario.
A company that has tens or hundreds of employees from various backgrounds is bound to have some very different characters in it’s midst. Unfortunately, if these individual differences among team members are too prominent and irreconcilable, frequent disagreements and disputes in the workplace may hinder the company’s progress.
Employers get to observe and evaluate which interviewees can take on a leadership, mediator, or follower role depending on how applicants respond to the questions or behave alongside their fellow candidates.
Assessing how each job applicant can influence different team dynamics also gives interviewers a preview of the kind of working relationship they can have with each candidate.
10 Teamwork Interview Questions With Sample Answers
Recruiters typically prepare teamwork interview questions that:
- Focus on different situations that typically take place when a group collaborates on a project or task.
- Delve deeper into each applicant’s take on workplace dynamics, specifically those that involve distributing tasks among team members.
- Assess whether they prefer to work alone or share the load with others.
Enumerated below are ten examples of teamwork interview questions that are typically asked by recruiters, along with a sample response that you can use as a guide.
#1. Provide an example of a time when you used teamwork skills.
The question entails demonstrating your knowledge and first-hand experience managing a team project or task.
Focus on skills often used to encourage cooperation and a smooth-flowing transfer of responsibilities within a team. If you are a fresh graduate, describe some notable experiences where you had to accomplish group tasks with your schoolmates.
I was an active member of three academic clubs at my university. I was a field reporter for our college newspaper, a volunteer at our school’s charity organization, and the treasurer of our debate club. I also worked as a project manager in my previous job. I can say that the teamwork skills I have developed and used most often in all the clubs I’ve joined and the projects I’ve handled are creativity, active listening, and decision-making.
Creativity is necessary for brainstorming ideas to promote upcoming events in our clubs, and it is also an essential skill in managing several client accounts. When deliberating with your teammates, active listening and decision-making go hand in hand because you must balance your similarities and differences to reach a well-rounded and objective agreement.
#2. How do you feel about working in a team environment?
This question is quite upfront because recruiters want to know your comfort level when performing your tasks in a group. Almost all companies and jobs entail socializing with your coworkers to some extent, and your willingness to work in group settings indicates whether you will thrive in the company’s distinct culture.
The best way to answer this teamwork interview question is to express your passion for working with a team. You can also cite a brief example of your previous experience working in a group.
I enjoy working in a team environment as I have specific skills that make me a good team player, such as active listening, creativity, and critical thinking. I was once assigned to be a team leader for one of our marketing campaigns.
Admittedly, it was my first supervisory role, and I was nervous at first. However, I also knew that I had to get past my worries and focus on working harmoniously with my team. I am thankful that establishing rapport with my teammates was a breeze. With my teammates’ help, we reached the target metrics and generated our strategy’s desired results.
#3. Do you prefer individual or teamwork? Why?
The question focuses on your preference when it comes to accomplishing tasks. Understandably, some prefer working alone, while others find it easier to collaborate with others. If you like working independently, being honest about it is alright, but remember to express that you see benefits and are actually interested in working in a group as well.
I prefer working independently because it is easier to focus on completing my tasks. At the same time, I am more than open to working with a team. I am happy to share my knowledge and listen to the ideas of my co-workers because, in doing so, I can develop a broader perspective on things and pinpoint specific areas in my skills that I can hone further.
#4. Tell me about a time when you worked with a team on something that failed.
Not all team collaborations are fruitful, and interviewers are also interested in how you deal with setbacks encountered while collaborating with a team. These setbacks include conflicting ideas and different work process preferences.
Often, these differences can lead to arguments and disputes among co-workers. Recruiters want to know your perspective on failure and the importance of teamwork in overcoming obstacles.
When describing unsuccessful team synergy at work, remain objective and positive. Avoid complaining about your past coworkers or supervisors.
In 2021, the company was still recovering from the effects of the recent pandemic. One of our strategies to recover our losses was to develop a new product to include in our existing lineup of goods. Unfortunately, it was too early to launch a new product, and executing a feasible sales and marketing strategy with only half of the team left took a lot of work.
There needed to be more time to train and endorse the tasks and responsibilities for the remaining team members. Ultimately, the experience left us with a valuable lesson, and we learned to take things step by step and consider all possibilities before delving into a new strategy.
#5. How would you motivate a team?
Some teamwork interview questions also concentrate on how you would maintain an encouraging and favorable work environment. It is best to address this question lightheartedly and candidly.
I always make it a point to communicate my expectations and ideas clearly and concisely. Open and transparent communication is the starting point for any team dynamic. I prefer to talk to my teammates privately and empathize as we discuss issues. The last thing I want is for my coworkers to feel humiliated and belittled over hurdles.
#6. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with someone on your team.
This question tests how you handle differences and conflict in the workplace. Be careful when answering this question, and try to highlight what caused the disagreement. Be professional, impartial, and straight to the point.
I was a newly appointed manager handling the company’s online support department. We had team leaders for each of our customer support channels, and I recall having quite a few disagreements with the team leader for chat support.
Most of our differences resulted from our clashing personalities and different viewpoints on leadership, which became apparent when we encountered an error in the system used to handle customer messages. What made the situation even more difficult was that the mistake should have been reported immediately, hence the delay in discovering the system error.
I was focused on resolving the issue with the system by coordinating with the developers, while he wanted to address the lack of communication within the team. We both realized that we each had valid points for what we wanted to prioritize and that the best way to reconcile our differences was to acknowledge and balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
#7. What role do you usually play in a team?
Interviewers ask you this question to see how you view yourself in the workplace. There is no right or wrong answer, whether you’re usually assuming the role of a leader, a follower, or someone in between.
However, you must pay attention to your attitude when describing your usual role in a team. Explain why you feel most comfortable fulfilling that exact role and elaborate on your strengths. You can also add any valuable lessons you learn from your teammates who are taking on different responsibilities.
I am often appointed as the leader, and it is because of my previous experiences supervising a variety of projects and teams. I feel honored whenever I am picked to take on this role because it shows that people trust my capabilities. I admit that I also experience the enduring pressure to deliver consistently.
Fortunately, being a leader allows me to examine my teammates’ capabilities better. By observing how they work and listening closely to their suggestions, I am taught that leadership does not mean shouldering all the responsibilities. Instead, it is about being the driving force that propels a team toward success by trusting the capabilities of each team member.
I am always the follower in most group settings, and I am quite comfortable with that. It is easier for me to work when I’m given proper guidance and when someone checks in with me every now and then.
I perform better when the spotlight is not on me, although I am happy to share my ideas and opinions whenever I am presented with the opportunity.
On the other hand, I look up to people who can take on leadership roles because they inspire me to believe in myself and remain strong-willed despite adversities at work and in life.
Both (Leader or Follower):
I can simultaneously take on the roles of both a leader and a follower, as I am flexible and can see both sides of the coin. I wouldn’t say that leading is better than following, and vice versa.
Both roles have pros and cons, but it is crucial to understand why you were given that specific role in the first place, acknowledge your skills and strengths, and have the confidence to fulfill your duties and responsibilities.
#8. How would you give feedback to your teammates about their work performance?
Teamwork also entails honesty and transparency. Your answer to this query represents how you evaluate and handle the work performance of your peers.
In the company where I used to work, we had bi-annual work performance evaluations. The executives and managers of each department would individually assess the performance and progress of each of their staff. In response, all rank-and-file employees also had the chance to evaluate their supervisors.
I make it a point to focus on my staff’s performance and accomplishments. Whether I give a high or low rating, I include a brief yet concise explanation. For example, if I give a low attendance score, I have to explain that it is due to their tardiness or habitual absences. But I will not end it there; I will also arrange a time to elaborate on my feedback and help them find a solution to improve their performance.
#9. How would you establish rapport with a new member of your team?
Recruiters want to see how you interact with new members of the team. They want to gauge your attitude towards workplace changes and your readiness to adapt to new people or team members.
I always start by introducing myself to the new team member and then proceed to ask questions about them to show interest. I want them to feel welcomed, and I also want to establish an open work relationship with them.
I also let new team members know they can approach me if they have questions about their tasks and assure them that their queries are valid, no matter how simple or complex. Teamwork starts with building trust and support, which we can achieve by being open and accepting of one another.
#10. Define effective and successful teamwork.
Out of all the teamwork interview questions in this article, this one captures how you view teamwork. List up to three adjectives to underscore your answer in defining your idea of successful teamwork.
My definition of effective and successful teamwork is exhibited by mutual respect, accountability, and trust. First, managers should treat their staff with respect, just as team members look up to their supervisors. Treat each other with dignity, even in the face of adversity and disagreement.
Second, practicing accountability means that every team member owns up to their share of responsibilities and proactively acknowledges their shortcomings. Teamwork requires the ability to focus on the issue and the willingness to help each other out, even if it means objectively assessing each other’s performance.
Third, team members must have trust in each other’s capabilities. Otherwise, it negatively affects the workflow and delegation of tasks. A team with confidence in each other’s distinct traits and skills fosters a supportive work environment.
4 Tips to Consider When Answering Teamwork Interview Questions
Here are additional helpful tips to keep in mind so you can nail teamwork interview questions:
- Don’t be generic. Use the teamwork interview questions examples in this article as your guide, but remember to make the response your own. In short, base your answers on your own experiences to make them more personal and relevant to you as an individual.
- Provide specific examples. Concrete examples give the interviewer a clearer picture of what it would be like to work with you if you were ever given the position.
- Use the STAR method. The STAR method has been proven effective for answering behavioral questions. It provides a structure that lets you focus on the situation, task, action, and result of the answers or experiences you want to share.
- Listen and observe. If you are in a group interview, listen carefully to what your fellow interviewees have shared to avoid repeating their answers. Observe the interviewers and the other applicants in the room, as their body language and social cues may give you some tips on what mistakes to avoid and how to carry yourself better.
Teamwork is a staple in most companies, which is why clashing work ethic and perspectives can take a toll on the efficiency of operations. As such, recruiters screen applicants to determine whether they are a good fit for the position and the team.
Listen carefully to the teamwork interview questions and use your experiences as inspiration. Finally, be truthful and focus on your strengths to demonstrate why you’d be a joy to work with.