Top teamwork interview questions to assess candidates

Teamwork interview questions

Recruiting for a position that requires teamwork? In that case, you want to ensure that your candidate is a team player and guarantee they’re a good fit for the company and its culture. That’s where interview questions about teamwork come in handy!

When interviewing for such position, it’s really important you choose someone who understands the importance of teamwork and can be a team player. After all, collaboration is key to success. In this article you will find teamwork-related interview questions you can ask to ensure you select the right candidate for your business. Combine them with the interview questions about cultural fit and you’ll get a better understanding of the candidate’s fit.

Teamwork interview questions

What is teamwork?

Teamwork can be described as the collaborative effort of a group of individuals working together towards a common goal or objective – as is common in a work environment.

Teamwork involves pooling skills, knowledge and resources to achieve a goal together, emphasising the importance of relying on others. Teamwork is not only vital for on-site working arrangement, but also for hybrid and remote workplaces.

Good teamwork requires respect, trust and the ability to communicate. In a work environment, teamwork and a good team dynamic are extremely important, alongside the shared commitment to a common goal. This is why hiring people who exhibit these characteristics is so important.

Why is it important that your candidate is a team player?

Hiring a so-called “team player” is essential for a number of reasons.

When you introduce a new person into a work environment, you want to make sure they can get on well with others, are reliable, trustworthy and can do the job they were hired to do. Many recruiters will place teamwork high in their list of critical soft skills they’re looking for in a candidate, because working well together is the foundation of a successful team that gets the work done and goals achieved.

Being a team player also promotes creativity and improved problem solving. This is because everyone’s unique set of experiences help develop different and out-of-the-box ideas. Furthermore, leveraging everyone’s unique skill sets and distributing the workload means tasks can be accomplished more efficiently and effectively than they would working alone.

Working as part of a successful team improves morale and motivation, and tends to lead to lower staff turnover. In a successful team, team members’ achievements motivate others and create a positive and encouraging working environment where everyone can thrive.

How to assess your candidate’s teamwork abilities in an interview

You may have a great candidate on paper, but how do you know if they’re a team player in real life?

During the interview process, recruiters and hiring managers need to assess whether the people they’re considering for a role are able to become part of an established team. This involves knowing the personalities and team dynamics that already exist, and then assessing how well new candidates fit in. Interviews are the best way to do this.

Ideally you want to interview candidates face-to-face, but it’s also possible to complete them via phone or online. Video interviews have become a common practice and also give an indication of the candidate’s personality. Body language and the general gut feeling you get about a candidate is a good place to start when assessing if they are a good team fit. You can use interviewing techniques to make more informed decisions and not base your decision about the candidate just off a feeling.

When conducting an interview, you can start to enquire about previous positions and specific instances when they worked as part of a team. Inquire about their role, objectives, challenges and the outcomes they achieved. You will be looking for indications of collaboration, good communication, active listening, conflict resolution and the ability to contribute to the team’s success. You also want to ensure your candidate has the ability to work in diverse teams and adapt to different work environments.

If you’re still unsure of your candidate’s ability to work as part of a team, you can propose some role-playing scenarios. You can offer them some hypothetical situations that require teamwork (such as conflict resolution) and ask them how they would handle them. You will be looking for their ability to empathise, problem-solve and work towards a resolution.

Lastly, It’s very important to see whether the candidate is a good cultural fit for your company. Candidates must understand and align with a company’s core values and beliefs. You can also perform a reference check and ask for recommendations from former work or school environments to better understand your candidate’s work ethic.

Best interview questions to ask about teamwork

Here are 7 great interview questions to help you assess whether your candidate is a team player.

  1. What do you like about working as part of a team?
  2. What do you dislike about working in a team?
  3. Describe a time when you overcame a challenge as part of a team.
  4. How would your former team members describe your attitude?
  5. How would you welcome and onboard a new team member
  6. How would you give feedback to another team member?
  7. What characteristics make you a good team member?

All of these questions are designed to help recruiters find out if their candidates are able to work well with other people, can communicate effectively and will fit into an established dynamic seamlessly.

Teamwork questions to ask interview questions

Teamwork red flags

There are some red flags hiring managers can look for when recruiting candidates. These red flags indicate that the candidate might not be the right for the position or struggle to become an effective team member.

Bad attitude: When evaluating a candidate, their attitude towards you and the role plays a big decision on whether they’re a good team player. Coming across as arrogant or self-centred is a surefire way to tell if someone isn’t a team player.

Uses a lot of “I” statements: Teamwork is all about the “we.” When you’re interviewing a candidate, keep an eye on how they talk about past projects or as part of a team. This may indicate they prefer to work independently – which is fine, depending on the position.

Blaming others: One of the biggest red flags recruiters should look for in candidates is how they talk about challenges. The ability to overcome obstacles and challenges is a key benefit of working as part of a team, and candidates should be able to talk about a time they worked together or overcame a challenge without blaming other team members. While mistakes happen, how a candidate reacts to them tends to say more about the person than the original mistake.

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