Teamwork interview questions are one of the most common interview questions, and this is most likely because teamwork is a critical skill in most positions. So, you need to make sure you can sell yourself as a team player.
A step by step guide on how to answer behavioural teamwork interview questions.
What makes a good team player?
This is generally someone who is reliable, responsible, trustworthy, approachable, friendly, helpful, respects others decisions and is a good listener.
What makes a bad team player?
Laziness, lack of respect for others, unreliable, doesn’t listen to others, overpowers the group etc.
Common behavioural teamwork interview questions:
- Tell me about a team project you worked on?
- Tell me about a challenging team project you worked on?
- Tell me about a successful team project you worked on.
- Tell me about a time where you worked with a difficult team member.
- Tell me about a time where you stepped up into a leadership role.
From asking these questions, most managers are trying to find out if you are:
- Easy to get along with.
- Can communicate and work well with different personalities.
- If they like you and will be happy to see you in the office every day.
- If you collaborate well.
Also, depending on the level of role you are applying for, team work might have a slightly different meaning.
For example, if you are at a managerial level – team leadership may be the focus. For an entry level position, the focus may be more on your ability to communicate professionally with others. If you are a graduate without much experience – the interviewer will be expecting you to use examples of team work wherever possible, such as academic (university or school), extracurricular, volunteer and internship experiences.
The great thing is, we’ve all had team experiences. Just try to find the best examples that highlight the team qualities that they are looking for.
The SAO method is the correct way of responding to behavioural interview questions. The interviewers are likely to be aware of it but most importantly they are looking to see that you deliver a response which gives a thorough example which includes a Situation, an Action and an Outcome.
Example of a team work interview question and answers using the SAO method.
Question: Tell me about a time where you excelled in a team project?
Situation: “In my most recent role at an IT company, we were rolling out a new online platform for a new major client. My role was to report back to the client and keep them up to date with everything that was occurring within the other departments. The client had insisted from the start that they had a deadline by when it needed to be complete, so it was very important to make sure the project ran on time.”
Action: “Unfortunately, the developers ran into some technical problems with the structure of the platform that the client had put forward earlier and we had approved. So, I worked with the design team to come up with a couple of other options which were similar to one that was initially approved by the client. They initially weren’t so pleased, but after I explained the benefits of the new design layout they were happy to go ahead. However, due to the lost time with the creation of the new layout I spoke to my boss to negotiate adding one more employee to the team project to make up for the lost time.”
Outcome: “As a result, the project was finished on time and the client said they were so pleased with the benefits of the new layout that they sent a personal email to me and my manager to give thanks.”
This example demonstrates the candidates ability to communicate effectively with the client, as well as internal teams to get the work done and resolve any issues. Furthermore, it shows their ability to foresee potential issues and work to meet deadlines under time constraints. The candidate has shown excellent teamwork skills as well as communication skills, time management and quality customer service.