How to Gauge Teamwork Skills in an Interview

How to Gauge Teamwork Skills in an Interview

Teamwork skills and related soft skills are just as important to the success of your next hire as the abilities, experience and qualifications required for the job. But, they’re not as easy to pinpoint or measure, at least not until you dive below the surface and really get to know a candidate.

So, what’s the secret to assuring that your prospective hire will be a strong team contributor?

Self-Awareness and Instincts

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for identifying the candidate with the perfect combination of capabilities and team mentality. A good starting point is gauging for self-awareness, which shows that an individual can make the connection between their actions and professional outcomes. In addition, look for good instincts, which indicate that a person intuitively takes an empathetic, optimistic, team-oriented approach to their role.

Ask the Right Questions

As an interview progresses, your goal is to assess how a candidate works as a member of departmental and cross-functional teams. You’re listening to hear that they value team work, while evaluating their analytical skills at the same time.

Based on their responses to a few key questions, you can learn what a candidate believes about why teams succeed – or fail. For instance:

  • “Can you tell me about a time when you worked as part of a group?” Red flag a candidate who speaks about how a group was useless until they entered the picture and saved the day. For starters, this indicates a lack of maturity and professionalism. Additionally, it’s not a good sign if the story that comes to mind is one where a candidate personally succeeded while their team failed. By its very nature, such a scenario speaks poorly of self-awareness and any propensity for teamwork. The best answer is one which describes how a team worked successfully together. The candidate may discuss other members’ contributions as well as their own, and what they learned from their team experience.
  • “Describe a situation where you had to ask for help.” Seeing how a candidate approaches this question will let you know if they can define and view themselves as an asset, even when describing an error or a failure. Every candidate should have a response. If they “can’t really remember ever having to ask for help,” this not only shows a lack of self-awareness, but also indicates that the person could be a dangerous hire because when they make a mistake, they may not be comfortable telling anyone.

Open-ended questions such as these naturally lead to further discussion, which enables you to get to know a candidate as a unique individual and better judge whether their goals, vision and aspirations align with those of your organization. If you don’t feel you’ve made this cultural match, you either want to dig deeper till you are satisfied – or move on to another potential hire.

For additional tips and resources to optimize your hiring process, contact a CPS Recruitment® account executive and schedule an informational meeting. We can tailor a plan to meet and exceed your ongoing staffing needs, and find the best candidates with the strongest teamwork skills.




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