teamwork interview questions

How To Nail Popular Teamwork Interview Questions

Heidi Cope
by Heidi Cope
Get The Job - 4 months ago

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You are likely preparing right now for a job interview that is coming up. One of the many subjects hiring managers like to ask about is teamwork. Companies are utilizing cross-functional teams and collaborative work spaces more than ever before to tackle company problems, increase innovation and complete projects.

With that in mind, hiring managers want to make sure that you are a team player. If you have social anxiety or are more of an introverted worker, you are probably reading this and starting to freak out. Don’t. Being a team player doesn’t mean you have to be the center of attention 24/7 of the team. Being a team player means you know how to contribute well to a team and that can look different for every person.

Even if you do love working in teams all the time, you will still want to prepare for teamwork-based questions.

Here are some major takeaways to keep in mind when preparing for teamwork-related questions in an interview:

  • Share how your strengths can help the team dynamic
  • Prepare examples of good conflict resolution
  • Be honest in your answers but frame them in a positive light

Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of answering teamwork interview questions.

Why Is Teamwork Important

As mentioned above, cross-functional teams and collaborative work spaces are becoming the norm in company work structures, so being comfortable working in teams is a must.

Teamwork is a key part of many work environments. Companies want to have collaborative work environments in order to help drive innovation and reduce project completion time.

Hiring managers are spending time asking you about how you view teamwork and your role in teams because they want to see how you will fit into their specific company team structure. Yes, you read that right — specific team structure. Every company is organized differently, so they are often looking for certain types of team players to help fill gaps in the team or to see how you would fit into their team culture.

What Teamwork Looks Like In Different Types of Companies

So what does specific team structure look like for different companies?

Let’s start with start-ups. Start-up companies rely heavily on teamwork. Many employees wear several employee-hats and often have to collaborate on several projects at once. If you were applying for a position in a small start-up company or even a nonprofit, chances are the person hiring you wants to know if you can be a flexible, self-motivated team member who is excited to collaborate and innovate.

If you are applying for a job in a larger, more traditional company, then teamwork might look a little bit different. You will be more likely to work in teams specific to your specialty and your role within a team might be more rigid or specific.

The best thing to do to prepare for an interview in terms of teamwork is to research the company culture and see how employees are organized. That will help you have a better understanding of these overarching team structures. Then you can prepare the answers for some of the following example questions with that overarching company framework in mind.

teamwork-interview-questions

Teamwork Interview Question Examples

Teamwork is one of the most important topics a hiring manager will talk about in an interview. Luckily for you, there are commonly asked interview questions that you can prepare for so that you can ace the interview and land your dream job.


Here are some top interview questions you might be asked about teamwork:

  • How do you work best in a team?
  • What are some examples of you working in a team?
  • Would you rather work in a team or work independently?
  • How do you manage conflict in a team? Give an example.
  • How do you feel about a team environment?
  • How would you best contribute to the team environment?
  • What role do you usually play in team projects?
  • Describe a time where you worked well in a team.
  • Describe a time where you didn’t work well in a team: how would you change what you did?

As you read over these questions, you probably noticed that there is a common theme: how will your presence on the team help team dynamics?

If you are reading these questions and don’t know where to begin in preparing to answer them, keep reading. We will discuss what types of answers employers are generally looking for when they ask teamwork interview questions.

How To Answer Teamwork Interview Questions

First and foremost, do not lie in an interview. Think about how you truly work best in group environments and about how you can use your strengths in a team. If you hate working in teams, that’s OK. You don’t have to lie to a manager and say you love teams if you hate them, but there are definitely some better ways to frame your answer if teams aren’t your thing.

When working in a team, every member will contribute their strengths. When preparing for teamwork-related interview questions, brainstorm what your strengths are and how you can help teams with them.

For example, if you are good at staying organized, you can be the notetaker or scribe for a team. You could also be the time-keeper and make sure the team stays on track. If you are more hesitant to lead groups, but have a creative mind, you can be the innovation spark by contributing ideas.

With that in mind, think about how preferring to work alone can help a team. If you like working alone, then you can say that you like troubleshooting problems and coming up with solutions independently and then bringing those ideas forth in a team to work on. It’s OK to say that you brainstorm best independently but love to discuss ideas and next steps as a team.

Teams are great because they can help bolster innovation and collaboration, but a room with many brilliant minds can sometimes get hectic and even bring conflict to the group. Managers will undoubtedly ask you at some point in the interview a question about conflict resolution.

Managers want to know how you deal with conflict. They don’t want to hire a bunch of hot-heads that will storm out of rooms or hire people who cannot communicate well when conflict arises. To answer these types of questions, make sure you think of examples of conflict that happened in the past and how you learned from the situation. Write down the facts of the situation and what you did to help resolve the conflict.

You can also come up with examples of types of conflict that can happen in teams or in the work space and potential ways you would help resolve the conflict if it happened.

Summary On Answering Teamwork Interview Questions

Answering these questions can be difficult, but remember to be honest and give examples of how you work best, while also helping the team dynamic. Remember: an interview goes both ways. If you hate working in teams and are applying for a position in a company that works completely within small, collaborative teams, maybe finding a company with a different dynamic could be a better fit long-term for you.

Keep these ideas in mind when preparing for your interview. It might seem scary, but taking the time to think about how you work best in groups and possible responses will go a long way in an interview with teamwork-related questions.

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