6 Common Interview Questions About Teamwork (With Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 27 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
During a job interview, a hiring manager may ask questions relating to teamwork. The questions can vary since teamwork occurs differently in every workplace. Employers want to know your answers to these questions because they want to learn if your work style and experience may benefit their team. In this article, we explain why employers ask interview questions about teamwork and examine teamwork interview questions and sample answers that may help you succeed in your next interview.
Why do employers ask interview questions about teamwork?
Many jobs require employees to work with one another regularly, which could include communicating, completing tasks and planning projects or events. Employers at these jobs want to know if you can communicate well with others and complete projects successfully while on a team. They also likely want to know if you enjoy and value teamwork, or if you prefer to work alone. This knowledge can help them determine if the position is the right fit for you, since questions about teamwork may reveal your experiences with teammates, the challenges you have faced and the leadership qualities you exhibit.
Employers might also ask teamwork questions to better understand the team environment that you thrive in. They may look for answers that reflect positive experiences on teams. Examples might include goals you've accomplished with teams or moments in which your leadership qualities helped your team succeed. By giving examples of teams that failed and succeeded, you can help an employer understand what type of team environment you expect and need to work effectively.
6 teamwork interview questions with sample answers
Practising interview questions can help you feel more prepared for these types of questions. Here are six common teamwork interview questions with sample answers for you to review to help you plan your own answers:
1. How do you feel about working in a team environment?
Employers ask this question to understand your preference for a team environment. Your answer can help them determine whether their work culture would be a good fit for you. Some employees prefer to work alone or experience challenges when working with teams. You should be honest when answering this question. Respond by explaining how you feel about teams and use an example.
Example: "As a content marketer, I've always worked as part of a marketing team, so I'm used to sharing ideas with colleagues and managers. I enjoy having the opportunity to coordinate with my team on projects and to give and receive feedback because I feel like it helps all of us grow and learn. I spend most of my actual working hours writing and creating content independently, and I enjoy that time, too. I think having a close team while mostly working autonomously is the perfect combination."
2. Provide an example of a time you showed strong teamwork skills
Employers look for candidates with strong teamwork skills who know how to work productively with others. This question gives you the opportunity to highlight your unique skills and experiences. Think about the position for which you are applying and try to match your answer to that role. Choose an example that shows the most relevant aspects of your team experience.
Example: "I'm a senior team member, so I've been on the team for a very long time. Whenever we hire anyone new to the team, management relies on me for training, so I have to function as a team leader. One time, I was out of the office, and my manager called me and told me they had ended a team member's employment so they needed me in the office right away. They asked me to come back to the office to resume my current work and take over my team member's work.
Once I began working in both roles, we discovered we actually needed to hire two new people to complete our team. Then I had to train the two new people two weeks apart while keeping up with my current workload. One team member has now been on my team for four years and is also a senior team member who helps new team members with their training experience."
3. Share an example of a team project that failed
Employers want to see success from their teams. They look for team members who can learn from their mistakes and produce positive outcomes. With this question, you have the opportunity to discuss examples of resilience and overcoming challenges. Be sure to share an example of a project that taught you something about teamwork.
Example: "One time, my manager asked me if I'd like to complete a high-priority project for one of our long-term clients. I gratefully accepted, and they asked me if I'd rather complete the project alone or have teammates to help me. They informed me that if I had help, my bonus pay would decrease as they would split it between the three of us. If I chose to do the project by myself, I would receive the full bonus, but the project would require long hours and potential stress.
All I could think of was money, so I chose to do the project myself. About halfway through the project, I realised how far behind schedule I was, and the client expressed disappointment with the project status brief. He almost decided to contact other businesses, but I explained to him truthfully that I had accepted too much work on my own, and I felt confident that if I added two of my high-achieving team members to our team, we could successfully complete the project. He agreed to give us another chance, and the three of us exceed his expectations."
4. What makes a team function successfully?
Your answer to this question lets the employer know if their team environment might be the right one for you. Your answer can help them measure your idea of teamwork against their own company culture. Choose a recent example and maintain a positive attitude when speaking about your previous employer and teammates.
Example: "I feel there are three components of a successful team: a qualified leader, communication and organisation. A qualified leader knows how to help team members work well together and learn how to rely on each other for feedback while working independently. Even when team members work autonomously, open communication between colleagues and management helps the team function efficiently. I've also learned that keeping the team organised in every aspect, from team structure to digital resources, allows the team to maintain quick, easy access to the important information."
5. What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
Teamwork is about collaboration, but it also needs leadership. This question gives you the chance to highlight your leadership abilities and show the interviewer whether you might be a leader on the team. Employers may appreciate creative techniques that produce positive results. An ideal candidate will answer with confidence and creativity.
Example: "I believe praise, recognition and rewards motivate teams to perform efficiently. When you work as part of a team, you want to know your management acknowledges your specific role and not just the work of the group. Taking the time to mention milestones and successes, including small ones, may have a significant impact on your team members' job satisfaction, which often translates into productivity and success. As a team leader, I send emails mentioning employees' accomplishments regularly and leave small gifts, such as gift cards for coffee, on their desks."
6. Have you ever found it difficult to work with a manager or other team members?
This question measures your ability to work on a team and to accept supervision. Employers might look for an optimistic attitude and to understand your past job experience. Be honest and keep a positive tone.
Example: "I've worked in a team environment for most of my career, and while I sometimes find certain circumstances difficult, I know that I would face challenged if I worked on my own, too. I had more difficulties when I started my career because it took me a while to realise people with vastly different personalities can work together well. I used to take it personally when people performed their duties differently than I did or preferred to work alone, but I learned over time that these differences make a team complete."
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