Interviewing

6 Teamwork Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

November 23, 2020

During a job interview, you might be asked questions relating to teamwork. The questions can vary since teamwork looks different in every workplace. Employers are interested in your answers to these questions because they want to know if your work style and experience will benefit their team. In this article, we examine teamwork interview questions and sample answers that will help you succeed in your next interview.

Why do employers ask teamwork interview questions?

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. 

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

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Teamwork interview questions with sample answers

In your interview, consider using the STAR interview response technique to answer teamwork questions. STAR stands for situation (context of the story), task (your role in the story), action (how you managed the situation) and result (the outcome you reached). Including these four parts in your answers helps you to give clear responses with relevant examples that prove your experience.

Consider these examples of questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview:

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 may show if their work culture will 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: “I was working on an event planning team for a non-profit organization. I enjoy working on teams, and I find that I am more successful at work when I have a team supporting me. However, I also like to build a little alone time into my workday, too. We met as a group in the morning but always took a short break around 2 p.m. to refocus before coming together to end the day. The schedule worked well, and we were able to accomplish both our collective and individual goals.”

Related: How to Introduce Yourself to New Coworkers

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 worked on a textbook sales team during a slow summer season. I scheduled brainstorming meetings where our group could come together to find innovative solutions and new sales tactics. We took the time to listen to everyone’s ideas, and by the end of the summer, we had exceeded our sales goals by 20%.”

Related: 6 Tips for Effective Teamwork

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 of my past teams struggled with communication. Many tasks weren’t completed, deadlines passed and the project ultimately failed. I tried different methods of communication throughout the project. Through that experience, I learned how important it is to set communication expectations from the very start of a project. That way, everyone stays in contact and understands what they need to do to make the project a success.”

Related: 5 Productive Ways to Cope With Failure

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: “In my internship, I worked on an efficient, successful team that had a strong manager. That person checked in with our team and with individuals on a bi-weekly basis. She trusted us, but also cared about our work. We all felt invested in the project because leadership showed their own investment.”

Related: A Guide to Developing High Performing Teams

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:  “Motivation often comes from smaller recognitions, rather than large gestures. I make time to thank my teammates with phone calls, emails, notes and simple conversations. I let them know how much their hard work means to me and the rest of the team. This technique has made a noticeable difference in productivity and deadline management since I started using it.”

Related: The Best Ways to Motivate Your Team

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 be looking for an optimistic attitude and to understand your past job experience. Be honest and keep a positive tone.

Example: “I have often worked with managers and coworkers, and I rarely find it difficult. Sometimes it takes some time to adjust to a new manager or leader in a team environment. However, as long as we take the time to connect and clarify expectations, I think everything will work out. I expect an adjustment period, just like any other relationship.”