There are a number of interview questions about teamwork that you need to prepare for if you’re applying for a position that involves working with others.
This list covers the questions you’re most likely to be asked, and how to answer them.
1. Can you describe a time when you worked on a team and encountered a conflict? How did you handle it?
This teamwork interview question targets your ability to succeed in a team environment while navigating challenges that threaten your productivity and overall efficiency. These situations can be stressful, and hiring managers want to know that you can overcome these hurdles to complete your objectives. Conflicts are inevitable, and you should use this question to highlight your conflict resolution skills.
The best way to answer is to pull from real-life experiences. Explain the conflict you encountered and detail your steps to squash it. Emphasize the positive outcome that came after to prove that you know how to handle these situations.
2. How do you prioritize when you have commitments to multiple projects within a team?
This question is about your ability to prioritize your work and manage commitments. Being part of a team means committing to get things done. If one person falls behind, it can impact the progress of the entire team and project.
Employers want to know that you can reasonably manage responsibilities. Furthermore, they’re eager to learn about how you handle situations when you have too much on your plate.
There’s nothing wrong with biting off more than you can chew. What’s important is that you communicate with your team to avoid unnecessary delays.
The best answers focus on your methods for staying on top of multiple commitments. Pull from examples that show you know how to communicate with your team as you manage your workload.
3. What do you believe are the most important qualities for a team member to possess?
Interviewers want to know what qualities you think are most important for team members because it sheds light on your characteristics. Furthermore, it shows you understand what it takes to make a team function like a well-oiled machine.
There are many ways to answer this question.
Generally, interviewers like to hear about communication, reliability, a readiness to help others, mutual respect, ongoing support, and responsibility. Discuss these traits further and explain why they matter to you in a team setting.
4. Describe a time when you contributed to a team’s success. What was your role?
This question is your chance to demonstrate that you know how to work on a team. Additionally, it allows you to detail your exact contributions.
Questions like this are a great way for hiring managers to gain more insight into how you perform in a group setting. They learn about your work style and get a better understanding of your specific contributions.
Reflect on your most successful team experiences. Detail the project and your precise contributions. Focus on what difference your work made in the final results to show that you’re a genuine asset.
5. How do you motivate team members who seem disengaged?
Here’s a teamwork interview question that tests your ability to work in a team and your natural leadership skills.
Team environments are dynamic. While you hope everyone will work hard to contribute to the bottom line, some will become unmotivated. That may result in withdrawal and overall disengagement.
In your response, interviewers want to hear about how you step up and motivate others. Whether you’re a leader or not, employers want people who can motivate their colleagues to help everyone reach their full potential.
Discuss how you approached the individual and motivation techniques you used. Always use a real-world example to prove your ability to exhibit leadership skills.
6. Can you describe a situation where you had to step up and lead a team?
You may or may not be in the running for a leadership role. Either way, you can expect a question like this to come up during your interview. Employers are always looking for people who demonstrate natural leadership skills.
While you might not take the helm of projects, a willingness to step up makes a big difference. It shows initiative, and that’s something employers want.
Think back to when you had to take the initiative to bring a team project across the finish line. Discuss what you did and focus on how your willingness to take on a leadership role impacted the outcome.
7. How do you handle receiving feedback from team members? Can you give an example?
Receiving positive and negative feedback is a natural part of being in a team. You need to provide constructive criticism to others and get it in return. That element is crucial to the success of a team and contributes to the overall cohesion of a project.
You want to demonstrate that you can accept and absorb feedback. People willing to hear others out without taking things personally are the most likely to take steps toward improvement. That’s always a huge plus for employers.
Detail a time when you accepted feedback and discuss what you did with it. Show that you embrace constructive criticism.
8. How do you handle situations when you disagree with team members?
This interview question about teamwork focuses on the art of compromise.
Team environments are beneficial because they allow you to collaborate with others, gain outside perspective, and bounce around ideas. But you will inevitably want to do things one way while a team member prefers another.
Disagreements happen, and you must show you can resolve these disputes through compromise and effective conflict resolution.
Pulling from real experiences is the best approach. Describe your disagreement with a colleague and explain how you both compromised to arrive at a decision that benefited both parties and the project or company.
9. Describe a time when you felt like a team project was getting off track. How did you address it?
Team projects can quickly go off the rails. When you have several people with unique ideas, scope creep can be a real issue.
This question revolves around how you keep team members working towards the same objective. It’s about testing your ability to communicate and lead. Your response will also show interviewers how you speak up and take action.
Focus on experiences that forced you to step in and get everyone on track. Detail what you do to set clear objectives and how you communicate with colleagues. Communication is key to avoiding issues like this, so focus your answer on that aspect of your teamwork skills.
10. How do you define a successful team?
This question seems puzzling initially, but it provides interviewers with substantial information about what you think about teamwork. Not everyone prefers working in a team, and some people have incorrect views of building a successful team.
Discuss the ingredients of success for a team, including characteristics everyone should have and how you should work together. Emphasize important elements like good communication, compromise and support.
Pull from your experience, explain why those elements are so important and provide examples of how they’ve made a difference in the teams you were a part of in the past.
11. Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their weight? How did you handle it?
Here’s another question that aims to shed light on how you handle group dynamics. Not every member of your team will be as committed as you. But everyone’s contributions matter to the success of a project.
Your response to this question should focus on how you address situations that jeopardize the success of the team. Interviewers want to make sure you don’t let issues like this go on to a point where the team feels resentment towards one. That can lead to major productivity issues and the project’s ultimate failure.
Discuss your techniques for communicating with slacking team members and what you do to peacefully resolve these challenges.
12. How do you build trust with your team members?
Trust issues can be detrimental to team performance, but it’s a natural thing that anyone can empathize with. When everyone’s success is on the line, it’s hard to trust that everyone is equally invested in their work.
Hiring managers want to learn about your approach to building trust to ensure that everyone works productively without constantly worrying about what others are doing. Reflect on past experiences and discuss your methods.
Some of the best techniques involve open communication. When every team member is honest about status updates, everyone else can rest easy that they’re doing their part.
13. What do you think is the biggest challenge when working in a team environment?
This teamwork interview question is about gauging your understanding of dynamic team environments. No team is perfect! Challenges will arise, and what matters most is how you approach them.
With this question, interviewers want to know that you’re well aware of the hurdles that exist. If you’re knowledgeable and well-prepared, you have the means to address issues head-on.
You can talk about a lack of communication, micromanaging, mistrust, etc. If you have them, bring up real examples to show you understand how these challenges can derail a project.
14. Can you describe a time when your input made a difference when working in a team?
Being part of a team is more than just going through the motions. It’s about active participation!
Hiring managers like to see candidates who provide input. While not every idea you have will make the mark, showing that you contribute more than getting your work done indicates that you care about the success of a project. Some of the best ideas come from group collaboration.
In your response, talk about a time when your input made a big difference. Discuss the project details and highlight how your ideas contributed to your team’s success.
15. How do you handle situations where team members come from diverse backgrounds or have different working styles?
You must navigate different backgrounds and work styles when you get together with others. One person may be used to doing things a certain way, and another may not have the proficiencies to do certain tasks. With this question, interviewers want to know how you handle those scenarios.
Everyone’s contributions matter. The trick is figuring out how to use everyone’s skills and backgrounds to the team’s advantage.
Discuss a time when you did this. It could include strategic task assignments, open communication and other techniques that allow every team member to shine.
16. Describe a time when you had to persuade your team to adopt a different approach or change their minds about something.
This question about teamwork involves a bit of compromise and some persuasion skills.
You may find yourself in a situation where everyone else is set on doing things a certain way. Your unique knowledge or experience may make you feel that it’s the wrong approach. So, how do you approach those situations and convince the team to do things differently?
Your approach to influencing others is what hiring managers want to know. If you have relevant experience, discuss it.
Your response should focus on how you use your powers of persuasion to redirect and avoid negative outcomes. Focus on good communication and your ability to demonstrate why one way is better than the alternatives.
17. How do you ensure that all voices in your team are heard?
In a group setting, extroverts naturally become the loudest voices in the room. They can often take over collaborative environments, for better or worse. But that’s not what teamwork is about.
It’s about ensuring everyone has a voice. Your response to this question is about flexing your situational awareness and communication skills.
Detail what you do to ensure everyone contributes and shares their ideas. If possible, refer to past experiences where softer voices ended up being the best idea, and discuss how you enabled those voices to rise to the top.
18. What role do you usually play in team settings?
Every team environment differs, but people tend to fall into specific roles. Some will lean into a leadership position, while others might resort to just doing what they’re told. There are so many roles team member play such as peacemakers, motivators or reality-checkers.
Interviewers want to know where you fit into the equation.
Be honest in your answer, but frame it to show you actively contribute. Whether you’re a natural leader or not, you should be an active player in the team. Discuss what you usually do and how that’s benefited your teams in the past.
19. How do you handle situations where you believe your approach is right, but the team decides to go in a different direction?
There will come a time when you believe your idea is the best approach, only for the rest of the team to go in a different direction. Those situations can be tough, but you must show you can take it in stride.
Many people will “check out” after a rejection like that, which can cause overall team productivity to drop. Talk about how you stayed engaged during a similar scenario.
You can discuss how you communicate that you’re hesitant about the project’s direction and what you do to get more comfortable with the decisions others have made. It’s also important to indicate that you’re a team player and continue contributing, even if you don’t agree with the chosen approach.
20. What steps do you take to foster open communication within your team?
Open communication is a critical piece of the teamwork puzzle. With this question, interviewers want to know how you encourage and maintain those open lines of communication.
Some people may fail to speak up as the project progresses. What do you do to prevent that from happening?
There are many ways to answer this interview question about teamwork. You can discuss the importance of regular check-ins and status updates. Always include a past experience to show your methods in action.
21. Have you ever had to manage a challenging team dynamic? How did you navigate it?
This question is about problem-solving and conflict resolution.
Unfortunately, not every team dynamic will be conducive to your objectives. People will butt heads and disagree, creating a somewhat uncomfortable working situation.
Use your response to reassure hiring managers that you can identify and reduce drama and maintain productivity. Talk about how you address issues and find common ground with others to ensure your team projects continue pushing forward.
22. Describe a time when your team faced a tight deadline. How did you ensure timely completion?
Tight deadlines are tough, but they’re common. In team settings, those quick turnarounds can be a major source of stress as everyone worries about the progress of others.
One way to overcome deadlines is to communicate often with regular status updates.
Be sure you also discuss your approach to task delegation and emphasize how you utilize the strengths of every team member to ensure you meet every deadline.
23. How do you feel about giving and receiving feedback within a team setting?
As mentioned earlier, feedback is a natural part of working with others. You must be able to receive constructive criticism in stride, applying it to improve your work. Provide an example of how you’ve processed feedback on your work in the past to assure hiring managers that you’re willing and able to accept feedback.
But don’t stop there. Show that you can also provide constructive criticism to others in an encouraging way. Having a real-world example makes a big difference in this question, so refer to a time when you had to deliver not-so-great feedback to someone. Highlight how they responded and the positive outcome of that conversation.
24. Describe a time when you collaborated with a colleague to solve a complex problem.
Collaboration is obviously key in team settings. Two or more minds are better than one, and showing that you successfully collaborate with others is a huge win for hiring managers.
Discuss a past experience where you overcame hurdles by putting multiple minds together. Explain the problem, talk about how you worked with others to find a solution and emphasize the positive outcome.
25. How do you ensure that you balance team cohesion with individual accountability?
Questions like this revolve around personal responsibility and accountability. Everyone in a group contributes to the team, but individuals must also be responsible for their work.
There are many ways to find that balance. Good responses can include discussions about task delegation and providing clearly defined goals for everyone. Those goals should align with the larger objectives, ensuring that individual work goes towards the collective.
You can also touch on the importance of communication and collaboration. With good communication and teamwork, the collective can hold everyone responsible for individual work while recognizing team cohesion.
Being ready to answer these interview questions about teamwork will give you a significant advantage when talking with potential employers.
Spend some time preparing, and you’ll be happy with the results.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.