Teamwork Interview Questions for Employers to Ask Candidates

You Can Assess Your Candidate's Teamwork Skills With These Questions

A team works on teamwork interview questions to ask during an interview
FatCamera / Getty Images

The following sample job interview questions about teams and teamwork enable you to assess your candidate's skill in working with teams. In today's workplaces, the focus of how employees get things done is on teams or participating in teamwork with your colleagues. So, every candidate for your various open jobs will need to exhibit some ability to work in a teamwork environment.

Even in technical jobs, the ability to communicate and interact with coworkers is critical to the work getting accomplished. You might think that teamwork is not essential in jobs such as software or product development, engineering, or science—you would be wrong. The trouble is that none of these employees work alone.

They are always interdependent on colleagues who need to know what is going on and especially at the intersection of their jobs with those of others. The ability to participate in a teamwork environment is an essential workplace skill.

With the current workplace emphasis on employees telecommuting or working remotely, long-distance teamwork skills are fast becoming a must-have for employees who wish to work a flexible, non-traditional schedule. 

Every candidate interview and assessment should include several questions that allow the candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to work in an environment that emphasizes teams and teamwork. You can't work successfully in today's workplaces without the ability to interact effectively with colleagues—often remotely.

Interview Questions to Assess Teamwork Skills

Feel free to use these job interview questions in your own candidate interviews. They assess the candidate's ability and willingness to work in a teamwork environment. They are a recommended component of every job interview.

  • Give an example of a successful project that you were part of. What was your role? What made the project successful in your view?
  • Describe a situation from your past work experiences in which you have determined a team was the best potential solution to a problem, needed process improvement, or a planned change. How did the team work out for you? Was it the correct decision you made, in retrospect?
  • What actions and support, in your experience, make a team function successfully?
  • Can you share an example of a situation in which teamwork enhanced your ability to accomplish your goals or the outcomes that were expected from you as an employee?
  • Share a time when you experienced working with a difficult coworker on a team. How was the coworker difficult and what did you do to resolve the situation to encourage the team's ongoing progress?
  • Do you feel more energized when you are working alone or when you are working as part of a team?
  • Describe the perfect work environment level of interaction with coworkers in which you would experience the most success.
  • Please provide an example of a time when your workgroup or department worked especially well with another workgroup or department to accomplish a goal.
  • Have you been a member of a team that struggled or failed to accomplish its goal? If so, what assessment did you make of the reasons for the failure?
  • Have you had the opportunity to work with a virtual team? If so, what special team dynamics, activities, and actions did working virtually require? How did you create team cohesiveness in a virtual setting?
  • Have you ever teleworked away from the office? If so, how did you build a sense of teamwork in your workgroup from afar?
  • Have you managed a group of employees in the past? If so, how did you build the group's sense of teamwork so that the members could work more cohesively together? 

Teams and Teamwork Job Interview Question Answers

Depending on your work culture and environment, working with teams, working on a team, or working in a team atmosphere is likely important. You are attempting to identify how well your candidate works as a member of either a cross-functional or departmental team.

You do not want to hire a candidate who tells you during the interview that his or her preferred environment at work is sitting alone in an office getting work done if teamwork is the expected norm. So, during the interview, you are seeking signs that the candidate enjoys teamwork.

You are listening to hear that the candidate values teamwork. You are assessing your candidate's skill in the analysis as well. You want to listen to any references the candidate makes, during the whole interview and in the answer to any question, to working with a team.

If your candidate frequently speaks in terms such as, we accomplished this goal, the team gave the task their best effort, and the team was happy with the outcome of the project, he or she is golden. A teamwork supporter frequently speaks in terms of the group.

You also want to listen to any successes your candidate describes that was accomplished by a team or through teamwork. You are also listening to hear what kind of support and resources your candidate thinks teams need.

You are also discovering, with these job interview questions about teamwork, what your candidate believes about why teams fail, and why teams are successful. You are learning what must be present in the work environment for the candidate to experience teamwork.