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Teamwork Interview
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25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated June 29th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Topics    
Question 1 of 25
When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like further details on what you consider to be a substantial contribution when you are in a team setting. Your example can come from a previous role or your current one. You can also draw on experience from your high school or post-secondary education if you are newer to your career. Volunteer experience is a great situation to bring an example from as well. Give the interviewer an idea of what you did to contribute, and be sure to mention any accolades you may have received for your excellent contribution.
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Answer Examples
1.
When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
The interviewer would like further details on what you consider to be a substantial contribution when you are in a team setting. Your example can come from a previous role or your current one. You can also draw on experience from your high school or post-secondary education if you are newer to your career. Volunteer experience is a great situation to bring an example from as well. Give the interviewer an idea of what you did to contribute, and be sure to mention any accolades you may have received for your excellent contribution.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Last week, our manager was unexpectedly out of the office for a few days, due to illness. We were scrambling to hit a few deadlines, so I suggested that we all meet, divvy up the work, and then meet again at the end of the day to see where we had gaps. In this instance, I took the role of leader, and it worked out well. When my manager returned, he gave our whole team kudos for how well we banded together."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I contributed this year to our company's holiday party by joining the social committee. I thought that my administrative expertise might be helpful, and it was! I found appropriate vendors, compared prices, and eventually booking the venue and caterer. My contribution was significant, and I felt a great sense of pride the day of our event."
2.
Tell me about a time when communication became an issue during a team project.
The interviewer wants to know how you overcome challenges in a team environment. They want to see that you persevere, despite being faced with teamwork challenges. Give an example of a time when communication became an issue; perhaps due to personality differences or a misunderstanding when it came to the scope of the project. Be sure to express to the interviewer how the communication issues affected the team, and how you overcame those communication challenges.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I recently worked on a team project focused on our business growth analysis. Each person on the team was asked to analyze a different set of data. In the end, we came together to discuss the results but couldn't seem to agree. We were struggling to listen to each person's opinion on their findings. I suggested we give each person a chance to talk through their findings, uninterrupted. It seemed to help us, but I did learn that there can be major challenges when a team has many aggressive personalities."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"The last team project I was a part of had a rocky start because some people were not receiving all of the required updates. I implemented the use of a project management app that allowed us to communicate all project changes and updates in one place. The solution was constructive, and we now use this app for all group-based projects."
3.
Tell me about the most rewarding experience you have had, working in a team environment. What made it so rewarding?
The interviewer wants to hear that you feel accomplished through teamwork. Talk about a time when you felt fulfilled through a team setting or project collaboration. An example may be a time when you worked on a team project in University, a recent work collaboration, or possibly an extracurricular experience such as coaching a little league team. Discuss the positive results of the teamwork and how you attained a positive outcome as a group.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The most rewarding teamwork experience that I have had was in my last year of university. We had a project due, in teams of 4, which accounted for quite a large part of our grade. I believe everyone pulled more than their weight because so much was at stake. Teamwork is very rewarding when everyone has something significant to win, or lose."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"One of my most rewarding teamwork experiences was while I was attending University. I learned so much by working with my classmates. I gained new problem-solving skills and learned a lot from their research preferences."
Anonymous Answer
"Work with homeless shelter staff and volunteers to organize holiday meal and pass out gifts to adults staying at the shelter. We all worked towards a goal of putting together the meal and collect gifts to wrap and pass out. It felt good to be able to make a difference in someone's life, be part of creating a happy memory."
Alexandra's Answer
This is a great example! If I were the interviewer I would follow up with a question asking what role you took on the team, so I could try to understand how specifically you work in a team environment.
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4.
When have you been on a team project that failed? What did you learn from that experience?
We all experience perceived fails in our career. Failure is nothing to be embarrassed about so do not hesitate to describe a failure you've experienced in the past. The key to a great answer is to include how you learned from that failure, and how you improved your work performance after learning from the crash. Try to keep your example non-critical; for instance, avoid telling the interviewer how your team forgot to order new inventory, and it cost your company $15,000 in lost sales. Avoid blaming any particular person and instead, use words like 'we' and 'team' to describe the situation. Finally, be sure to tell the interviewer that, while you were very disappointed in the group's failure, you took the opportunity to learn from the experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Our team was recently on a project with a very tight deadline. We knew the client and their needs very well which I believe made us go into the project overconfident. Because we underestimated the work involved, we missed our deadline by three business days. Thankfully we had a great relationship with that particular client, so we were able to recover from the missed deadline. Although it was late, we worked overtime and delivered an exceptional project, in the end. This experience taught me never to underestimate a project and the potential roadblocks. It's always better to under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the other way around."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In University, we had a group project that failed horribly. We could not seem to organize our schedules at all, and so, when we brought all of the components together, it was a complete flop. I learned shortly after about some project management apps that could have helped. Also, we could have utilized other resources like Skype. This experience taught me never to think small, and that there is always a solution - you have to look for it."
5.
Tell me about a time you worked on a team.
Your job may be independent by nature, but at some point in your career or post-secondary experience, you have worked as part of a team. Give the interviewer an example of a time when you worked in a group setting. Outline the role that you took in the group and remember to discuss a bit about the project. Highlight your most significant success in this team. Lastly, explain how your teamwork capabilities will help you to succeed in this role.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my current position we all work as a group during year-end. Everyone pulls a few overtime shifts, and we organize our books together. In these instances, I am the planner of the group, so I establish our process, and we go from there. Most of my daily work is quite independent, so it's nice to have this team experience once in a while, and I look forward to furthering teamwork experiences with your organization. I can easily take the lead when it comes to keeping the group organized."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I volunteer at the animal shelter on weekends which requires a great amount of teamwork, especially when we have open houses. The public will come and check out the animals, and hopefully put in applications for adoption. We need to ensure the animals are all clean, happy, and ready to be adopted! This end-goal means we must maintain a positive attitude, making the experience great for the people who come in. I will bring this same excitement and positivity to any team-based activity at Company ABC."
6.
Have you experienced difficulties working with a previous manager? How did you handle the difference of opinion?
One of the ways you can show maturity and leadership in the workplace is by taking the initiative to build a healthy relationship with whoever is directly supervising you. If you experience conflict with a manager, you will know how to respond because you have already established a real-life example. Give an honest example of a time when you supported your manager despite a difference of opinion.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I had an issue with my manager a few years ago because we disagreed on the course of action to take on a project that was going sideways. The discussion started to heat up, so I quickly let her know that I thought it was best we think about our course of action overnight, and book a formal meeting to discuss the challenges. We scheduled a meeting for the following day and were able to resolve the issue. In the end, she told me she appreciated my conflict management skills, my professional awareness and personal maturity surrounding the situation."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have worked for challenging personalities in the past. When this occurs, I remind myself that it is not personal. So long as I feel that my opinion matters, whether used or not, then I am entirely okay and can get along fine. I don't need to be right, but I do want to know that my voice matters."
7.
How do you handle working in challenging team environments?
The interviewer would like to see that you can adapt to working in a team environment, where difficulties may be present. Pick a recent team project that generated successful results but was an overall challenge. Give the interviewer a short overview of the project, including what the final goal of the project was. Next, share the challenges your group faced. Avoid criticizing any individuals in the group. Discuss how you rose to the occasion by coming up with alternate solutions whenever you met a roadblock.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"During the fourth week a construction project, we learned about the discontinued status of the materials we were planning to use. We faced ordering challenges, team members blaming one another, and a tight budget. As a team, we identified the problem, assigned roles, and got the job done. The stress of the situation forced us all to sit down and work it out together. We had a lot of great feedback for one another and built stronger relationships from this experience. Ever since that project, our team has worked much better as a group."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"As an administrative assistant, I work independently for the majority of my day. I find that my most challenging team collaborations come when I am arranging a variety of vendors for special events. My secret comes in the form of organization, and speaking with patients and kindness to everyone involved."
Anonymous Answer
"Sometimes you have to pick your battles, step back and ask honestly, candidly ask why this is challenging. Is it me, is it how I am treating someone or not listening to them or understanding their style? I was talking to a junior colleague while away in Japan about this. It came to me to explain to this colleague that every time this happens, we have an opportunity to practice and grow my leadership."
Rachelle's Answer
This answer is good, but I became a bit lost when you mentioned the junior colleague in Japan and working to grow your leadership. If you are going to bring a story into the equation, see it through and give more detail. I have tweaked the answer a bit, below.
"When working in challenging team environments, I will look inward and ask why the situation is challenging me. Perhaps it is how I am communicating with someone or the fact that I do not understand the work style of another team member. When challenging situations arise, I see them as an opportunity to practice and grow my leadership skills."
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8.
What role do you usually take in team projects?
The interviewer truly wants to understand the role that you naturally take on, when put into a team-based environment. If you tend to take the lead, you can let the interviewer know, but avoid sounding overbearing. If you usually like to generate new ideas and allow someone else to execute them, share your creative side but express that you prefer for others to take the lead.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I am usually the 'ideas person' in team projects. In my current position, I am not the most persuasive salesperson, but I am highly creative. This skill means that, in most projects, I am great at creating a plan of action but am most comfortable passing the final client-facing tasks to our more extroverted personnel."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"When it comes to team projects I do not mind taking a backseat and, rather than being the leader, being more of an administrator. I like to organize data and analyze progress rather than lead others."
Anonymous Answer
"I don’t mind taking the lead, but I usually prefer someone else to lead. I feel my skills are better utilized as being an active listener to all ideas presented in the group environment. I am also a very organized person, so I usually take on an organizational role."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is honest and detailed, which is great! How do you keep yourself organized and on task when in an organizational role?
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Anonymous Answer
"In projects that I have worked on recently, I have taken the lead as, generally, people do not volunteer to do this. If a person on my team wanted to as a way to learn and grow, then I would step aside and allow them to."
Rachelle's Answer
Why do you feel that people do not want to take the lead? How do you encourage others to tap into their leadership abilities?
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9.
What qualities do you believe are most valuable for a team lead to possess?
The interviewer wants to know the attributes that you value most in a team leader. List a few characteristics that you feel are most valuable for a team leader to possess and be sure to comment on how those relate to your strengths.

Good examples might include:

- Trustworthy
- Accountable
- Committed
- Results-oriented
- Detailed
- Driven
- Strong Negotiator
- Reliable

All of these attributes are valuable in a team setting, and any of them will make sound examples for you.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I feel that a strong team lead should be motivating, competitive, and a natural mentor. I have had leaders with these qualities, and it makes any team project run much smoother when they possess these. When I lead a team, I do my best to emulate these qualities as well."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my opinion, I feel that a team leader should be flexible and ready to adapt to any changes that come their way. We have all worked for rigid bosses, at one time or another, and nobody seems to enjoy that!"
Anonymous Answer
"Honesty and integrity. A leader should be inspiring and confident. A great communicator with a forward-looking vision. Willingness to delegate and empower the team. Accountable."
Rachelle's Answer
These are all very important qualities of a leader, and your answer is well thought out. Nicely done!
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Anonymous Answer
"Building a culture of trust with freedom for teammates to try and fail, to ask for and receive help and encouragement to try out of the box ideas without micromanaging and the openness to discuss and address what worked and what didn't and why improving together."
Rachelle's Answer
These are good qualities, indeed! I have organized your answer a touch, so it sounds more personal and less like a list you're rattling off.
"I believe a team should work hard at building a culture of trust where teammates feel the freedom to try and fail, or ask for and receive help and encouragement. It's also valuable for a team to feel comfortable trying new ideas and having the openness to discuss what worked, what didn't work, and what could be improved on by working together."
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10.
Give an example of when your team motivated you. How did this gesture enhance your performance?
Everyone needs to be motivated now and then! The interviewer would like to know some of the ways that you can be driven, even on the toughest of days. Many people find motivation through incentives, additional training, and positive affirmations. Think of a time when you needed extra motivating. Share what members of your team did to drive you, and how it positively affected your performance.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I had a major year-end audit that was not going smoothly. I had a few computer crashes and other small setbacks that turned into a huge frustration. My Controller noticed that I was struggling and she brought me a coffee, sat down and said 'What can I do?'. Just knowing that she was willing to help was enough to give me some oomph back!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"It can be easy to lose steam on a project when things do not go your way. If anyone on our team loses motivation due to setbacks, we are sure to encourage each other by focusing on what went right. It's a great tactic that works well for all of us!"
Anonymous Answer
"The other day while in Japan recruiting, traveling almost every day, and being "on" for the Pre-Departure Orientations while fielding emails from UD, I was feeling incredibly tired. A colleague sent an email outlining how thankful she was that we were going above and beyond in the recruiting because she knew it was beneficial for students but also for faculty and staff in their jobs. That email-enabled me to get through the rest of the trip with a positive attitude and goal that was bigger and more important than me."
Rachelle's Answer
This gesture sounds very thoughtful, and it's a great example of how teams can lift each other up. Good answer!
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Anonymous Answer
"There was a day at work where we were completely booked and had a couple of emergencies. We had only 4 assistants helping the doctor. We were so busy we did not have time for any breaks. As a result, I saw how hard my coworkers were working, which kept me motivated even toward the end of the 12 hour day."
Rachelle's Answer
Seeing others giving their all can be very motivating, indeed. Great example!
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11.
Have you ever had to adapt your work style to fit team objectives?
The interviewer wants to see that you are open to change and are adaptable. Think about the times when you have had to learn a new policy, change your organization approach, or times when you have had to change your plan for meeting a goal. Talk to the interviewer about how you altered this work style to achieve the team's objectives. Be sure to mention that you were happy to accommodate this change to help the team reach the overall goal.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Typically, I like to begin my day with listening to voicemail, checking emails, and making a to-do list for the day. The goal of this team was to increase staff communication, so we decided to start each morning with a team huddle instead. This change meant that I was unable to kick-off my day with my usual morning routine. I was happy to meet with the team huddles because I understood that they were helping us meet our goal of improving communication."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"In my current role, my boss prefers that I communicate almost everything via email, versus in-person or telephone conversation. This habit was a challenging one for me to get into, at first, because I am such a vocal individual and felt that my written communication skills were not as strong. I am very good with written communication, now, let me tell you!"
12.
If I were to put you on a team project today, what questions would you have before beginning your work?
The interviewer wants to know that you are eager when starting a new team project, but insightful when it comes to your approach. Discuss with the interviewer some of the questions you may bring up when taking on a new project.

Some possible options might include:

- "What is the biggest challenge you foresee on this project?"
- "What are the top 3 roadblocks holding this project back right now?"
- "What time expectations do you have for the project?"

Show the interviewer that you come to the start of a project prepared with insightful questions.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"What is the biggest challenge you foresee on this project?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am more of the type to go with the flow for the first day on a new team project. I want to observe the work habits of others and come into the team with some insight before jumping in with both feet."
13.
Do you prefer to work on your own, or as a part of a team?
This question is not a trick one! The interviewer is trying to get a feel for your personality and how you interact with others. You may work well without the need for much management or direction, or perhaps you are better driven by a collaborative and team led environment. Either way, be honest with the interviewer about your preferences without leaning negatively, either way.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Whether I am doing an independent project, or working in a team environment, I always give my best. I enjoy the camaraderie of working in a team, but I can be successful working autonomously as well."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Most of my recent administration experience has been independently focused so I would welcome the support of working in a team environment."
Anonymous Answer
"I prefer to work both ways. I love working in teams as I feel it opens my mind to new ideas and techniques of thinking that might be more efficient than what I am used to. I enjoy working alone as well, so I can develop my ideas and contributions and come back to get feedback from the team."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer brings a nice balance. You show a strong understanding of the ebbs and flows of the workplace.
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14.
Tell me about your exposure to team building exercises.
If you have ever participated in a ropes course or a trust fall, then you have engaged in team building exercises! Of course, most examples of team-building do not need to be that extreme. Any activity or company effort that motivates teams and builds trust among co-workers is considered a team-building exercise.

Many companies will offer team experiences to help build stable groups who collaborate and communicate better. If you have experience as a participant or leader, share your knowledge and be sure to highlight your biggest takeaway from experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My company holds a company-wide retreat every Christmas season, and I have participated the past three years. We usually take a weekend to go to a resort that offers exercises such as trail riding, mountain climbing, and zip lining. It helps everyone to share some great laughs, and sometimes - even our fears. I believe that team building is a vital part of creating an environment of trust and collaboration in the workplace."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have never worked in an organization where team-building is a focus, but that sounds lovely! What kind of team-building activities have you done in the past?"
Anonymous Answer
"At my current company, we build teams by doing activities together. Going to sporting events, bowling, go-kart racing, and golfing. This allows us to get away from work and just hang out and be yourself."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds as though you have a fun team culture - this is nice to hear! Do you arrange these events yourself?
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15.
Have you ever worked in a cross-functional environment?
If you work for a larger company, you may have been asked to work on a project with teams from another department. Your ability to work with cross-functional teams will be a significant asset to your potential employer, especially if they are a larger organization.

Maybe you headed a project which required you to collaborate with the members of the engineering and sales teams. You may have had the opportunity to organize a volunteer activity or team building exercise, company-wide. Share any challenges that came up and what you learned from the experience.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Exposure to cross-functional teamwork in my current position is widespread. I believe that when expectations are communicated clearly from the beginning, a cross-functional team project can be very successful. I go into these types of projects with an understanding that everyone has their strengths and limitations based on their expertise and job function."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have worked in a cross-functional setting for many years. Primarily with the HR department and the Accounting department. Clear communication is key when collaborating with different teams. Clarity in expectations is of huge importance."
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25 Teamwork Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. When was the last time you contributed to a team effort and what was your role?
  2. Tell me about a time when communication became an issue during a team project.
  3. Tell me about the most rewarding experience you have had, working in a team environment. What made it so rewarding?
  4. When have you been on a team project that failed? What did you learn from that experience?
  5. Tell me about a time you worked on a team.
  6. Have you experienced difficulties working with a previous manager? How did you handle the difference of opinion?
  7. How do you handle working in challenging team environments?
  8. What role do you usually take in team projects?
  9. What qualities do you believe are most valuable for a team lead to possess?
  10. Give an example of when your team motivated you. How did this gesture enhance your performance?
  11. Have you ever had to adapt your work style to fit team objectives?
  12. If I were to put you on a team project today, what questions would you have before beginning your work?
  13. Do you prefer to work on your own, or as a part of a team?
  14. Tell me about your exposure to team building exercises.
  15. Have you ever worked in a cross-functional environment?
  16. How do you make tough decisions knowing they will affect your entire team?
  17. How do you motivate your fellow team members?
  18. Tell me about a time when you accomplished a team goal. Why do you think your team was successful?
  19. Tell me about a time there was a serious conflict on your team. How did you resolve it?
  20. Tell me about a time when you led a team. What was your biggest success factor?
  21. If asked, how do you believe your coworkers would describe you?
  22. Do you have difficulty working in a team environment?
  23. Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader?
  24. How do you develop trust among your team in a virtual, or work-from-home, setting?
  25. Tell me about the type of team members you dislike working with.
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