9 Common Teamwork Interview Questions (with Example Answers)

Dana Guterman
Updated: July 24, 2020

After reading this article, you’ll:

  • Be prepared to answer common interview questions about teamwork and collaboration.
  • Understand why employers ask questions about teamwork.
  • Know how to connect your experience with a team to the role for which you’re interviewing.

Everyone loves a team player, so you can expect multiple questions about teamwork during your interview. In addition, teamwork questions say a lot about a candidate’s preferred work style and environment.

Today, we’ll look at frequently asked interview questions about teamwork.


How to answer teamwork interview questions

Working at a job or internship means working with lots of different people, from lots of different backgrounds. Because of this, the best employees are able to work successfully with anyone and everyone, near and far.

Most interview questions about teamwork are behavioral interview questions, so you can answer them by using the STAR method. As a reminder, STAR answers include clear examples of your past experiences—in this case, your experiences working in a group. Share examples that prove you’re a collaboration champion, such as class projects, school clubs, part-time jobs, or volunteer experience. It doesn’t matter if you played a leader, follower, or mediator role. It’s about being positive and showing that you’re someone a potential employer wants to work alongside every single day.

When you answer any question about your ability to work on a team, you want to highlight teamwork skills like adaptability, communication, active listening, and empathy.


Sample leadership interview questions and answers

Employers can ask many different questions about your ability and inclination to collaborate with others. Here are nine of the most frequently asked questions, along with some sample answers.

1. What’s your preferred style of working?

This is the classic teamwork interview question. Do you prefer to work in a group, by yourself, or somewhere in between? Your response speaks to how well you’ll fit with the office culture. Do your research in advance to ensure you answer appropriately. If a company is all-remote and you prefer to work in a close-knit team, that’s a red flag.

As a web developer, I like to put my head down and working independently. But over the years, I’ve found that many of the best ideas come from working with other people, so I really value being part of a team, too. I recently joined the GitHub community so that I’d have the opportunity to collaborate with other developers. We work inspire each other with our ideas, and help each other when we get stuck. It’s been really motivating, and I find that my independent work time is all the more productive because of it.

 2. Give me an example of a time when you worked well on a team.

If an employer asks this question, you can expect a team-centric environment. A great response should be enthusiastic and genuine, while conveying how well you play with others.

At my last internship, I worked as a graphic design intern at a talent recruitment firm. The creative team had to hit certain percentages for billable hours, and most of our work was very structured: the writers edited documents, and the designers made templates. We wanted the opportunity to stretch ourselves, so I suggested we start a ‘just for fun’ newsletter. The creative director loved the idea, and suggested we make it both fun and useful by adding tips, tricks, and guides.

The designers got to make cool new graphics and experiment with layouts, and the writers got to write profiles, suggestions, and guides. We all worked together to make a great product, and it really boosted morale across the company. The company continues to produce it every month, and they always send me a copy.

3. What role do you typically play on a team?

Some are leaders, some are followers, some are coaches, and some are mediators. Read the job description carefully to discern what’s needed from you in this specific role. Then, tailor your answer accordingly.

When I’m on a team, I go wherever I’m needed. I strongly believe that being a great worker means playing different roles based on the situation. So, if a team needs strategic direction, I’m ready to step up and be a leader. And if someone needs to make a coffee run because we’ve all been working long days, I’ll be there to support everyone, too. I’m the president for my school’s International Student Association, and I’m a volunteer bagger at the food pantry. There’s no job too big or too small.

4. What do you think makes for a successful team?

This teamwork question is all about checking on whether this employer has an environment in which you can succeed. Do your research ahead of time to ensure your answer aligns with the company culture.

A successful team requires an involved manager and clearly defined roles. At my software engineering internship last summer, most of the interns had never had a 9–5 before. The manager met with us every Monday to discuss goals and expectations, as well as to answer any questions. Then, every Friday, we all had a social hour, where we could talk to high-level employees and bond as a group. Having such strong support from leadership was really motivating. We all knew what to do to succeed, and we all wanted to do it because we knew and cared about each other and our manager.

5. Tell me about a time when you worked with a challenging team member

Keep things positive and upbeat when answering this tricky teamwork question. Remember to avoid throwing the other person under the bus. Instead, focus on how you reached a compromise to achieve success.

For the most part, I’ve worked with amazing classmates, professors, and colleagues. However, people have different working styles, and that can be a bit tricky at times. Last year, I was working on a group project for my anthropology class. Two of us were really into planning and divvying up the work, while another wanted to take a less deadline-driven approach. It was stressful because I felt like we were doing all the work. I met with the teammate and explained my stress, and he told me that he works best under pressure. He agreed to do a small amount of work early, and I agreed to wait on the rest if that work looked good. It did, and we trusted him. We finished early, and when he was done, we had a final meeting to put everything together. By communicating our needs and trusting each other, everything worked out.


Additional leadership interview questions

6. What’s your perfect work environment?

7. Do you prefer working on a team or independently?

8. Tell me about a project that required you to work with a diverse group of people.

9. Give me an example of a team project that didn’t work out.


Tips for answering questions about teamwork

  • There’s no “I” in team. If all your answers are about you and not your team, you’re answering the questions wrong. Yes, you’re the hero of your stories, but a real team player gives credit where credit is due.
  • Keep things relevant. The more you tailor your responses to the job at hand, the more they’ll resonate with the interviewer.
  • Stay positive. As we’ve said time and time again, you should always stay upbeat during an interview. When you’re being asked questions about teamwork, it’s even more important. The best teammates are optimistic and engaged!