Don't get caught flat-footed by unexpected questions about your teamwork skills. We have the answers you need to be properly prepared for anything!

The ability to work as part of a team is one of those critical skills that employers always look for when evaluating job candidates. Because of that, you should be prepared to answer interview questions about your teamwork skills in a way that demonstrates that you're the best candidate for the job. Like many job seekers, however, you might be asking yourself, “How can I prepare for a company's questions if I don't know what they plan to ask?” The good news is that we have you covered!

In this post, we'll help you to identify top teamwork skills, explore some of the most common questions about teamwork that employers ask during interviews, and offer some sample answers that you can use to craft your own responses. By the end of this post, you should have the confidence you need to successfully prepare for any teamwork-related interview questions you may encounter during your job search.

What are teamwork skills?

Teamwork skills are critical in the business world and include a variety of soft skills that enable workers to effectively collaborate as part of a team. To paraphrase the great industrialist Henry Ford, it is not enough to come together or even stay together; success only comes when we can work together. You can start by building a team and make progress by keeping that team intact, but you can only achieve success when you manage to get those team members to work in concert toward the same goals.

Of course, defining teamwork is the easy part. Teamwork skills can be more difficult to understand, however. In fact, many job seekers can struggle to describe their own teamwork abilities in resumes, cover letters, and interviews. To better understand your own talent for teamwork, it's important to identify the basic elements that lie at the heart of effective teamwork. These include important characteristics like open communication, empathy and supportiveness for others, the ability to trust your teammates, and shared commitment to common goals.

Why do teamwork skills matter in the workforce?

To fully appreciate your own teamwork abilities, you need to understand why teamwork is such a vital component of business success. Every company has a vision, a mission, and goals. They all need employees who can work together in a collaborative way - communicating with each other, customers, and vendors to meet objectives both small and large. A truly effective team will be made up of employees who all share the same vision and act together to achieve shared goals.

That's why an employee with all of the right technical skills for a position may not always be the best hiring option if they lack effective teamwork skills. On the other hand, you can have superior teamwork skills and still not get hired if you fail to properly convey those abilities during your interview. The bottom line is clear: your teamwork skills can easily be the difference between landing your dream job or losing out to another candidate.

Eight important teamwork skills prized by employers

Before you can properly convey your teamwork abilities in a job interview - or in your resume or cover letter, for that matter - you first need to be able to identify your own skills. To help in that effort, we've compiled a list of some of the most critical teamwork skills examples that employers are commonly looking for when evaluating new hires.

1. Communication

No team can function without effective communication, so this is easily the most important teamwork example. Effective communication is essential for interpersonal interactions, customer relations, project management, and virtually every other aspect of business. The best communicators combine respectfulness, active listening, a friendly attitude, empathy, and a clear and concise approach to conveying ideas to deliver compelling messages to others.

2. Time management

Time management is critical in any team setting and can impact everything from goals and planning to overall productivity. Employees who can efficiently manage their time are typically seen as dependable partners by their fellow team members and are often able to accomplish more in a limited amount of time. In a team environment, everyone has their role to play in achieving the broader team goal, and good time managers can always be relied upon to complete their assigned project tasks.

3. Creativity

No team can ever reach its potential without creativity. In a rapidly changing economy, innovation drives success for many businesses around the world. Companies are always looking for creative individuals who can add that extra layer of innovation to their team. The strongest teams include creative employees who consistently offer new ideas and solutions to help their companies remain competitive and achieve progress towards their goals. 

4. Active listening

In a team setting, active listening is a vital component of communication. Unfortunately, it remains one of those skills that is all too easy to neglect. Many people hear what others say but few actually practice active listening. If you've ever had a conversation with someone whose idea of listening seemed to be based entirely on waiting for their chance to speak, then you understand that phenomenon.

A good active listener not only hears what the other person is saying, but considers the meaning of the message. That listener makes good eye contact, looks for nonverbal cues, and will even repeat certain points that are being made, to ensure that they understand the message. They will ask questions that show that they are interested in fully digesting the information. This type of listening is an essential teamwork skill because it creates stronger connections between team members and promotes greater understanding of others' input and contribution to the team effort.

5. Accountability

Teams function best when their members are able to hold themselves accountable for their efforts. When you're accountable for your own actions, you never try to shift blame or excuse shortcomings. Instead, you acknowledge failures and redouble your efforts to meet the team's highest expectations. That level of commitment to accountability inspires trust from everyone on the team.

6. Respectfulness

Respect is the foundation of all successful interpersonal relations and is thus critical for teamwork. No one wants to work with or for people who regularly disrespect others, since that makes for an uncomfortable work environment filled with distrust, disunity, and resentment. The ability to demonstrate that you value other team members as people and colleagues can help to create the harmonious atmosphere needed for a thriving team.

7. Conflict management

Whenever human beings interact with one another, there's always the potential for disagreement. Sound conflict management skills can help to ensure a more harmonious working environment, can enable swift resolution of problems, and help to keep the team on task. This skill requires effective use of a range of other teamwork skills, including open communication, active listening, creativity, and respectfulness.

8. Organization

The ability to organize your workflow in an efficient and logical manner is essential for success in any team effort. Collaborative efforts succeed when everyone involved in the project is attentive to schedules, deadlines, and goals. In addition, good organizational skills will help to ensure work quality by enabling you to maintain focus on details and avoiding mistakes that could negatively impact the project.

Identify your own teamwork skills

Before we examine some of the most common interview questions you may be asked about your teamwork skills, it's important to take the time to identify your own teamwork talents. Chances are that you possess some measure of all of the most important teamwork skills, but you should be honest with yourself and take mental note of any particular strengths and weaknesses. That will enable you to highlight your strengths as you prepare your responses.

You should also think about how you want to describe your skills, using descriptive phrases that can add flavor to your responses. For example, instead of repeating the word “team” or “teamwork,” describe those team efforts using phrases like:

  • Team initiative

  • Group effort

  • Collaborative projects

  • Brainstorming committee

  • Group sharing

  • Collective approach

By adding these words and phrases to your personal lexicon, you can get more comfortable with the idea of naturally incorporating team-oriented descriptions in your interview rapport. Once you've taken the time to identify your team skills and learned how to describe them in a compelling way, you should be ready to practice some responses to common teamwork skills questions you may encounter in your next interview.

How to answer common interview questions about your teamwork skills

As you consider each of the common interview questions listed below, think about how your own personal team skills can be conveyed in your response. The sample responses included in this section are just that: examples that you can use to help you to craft your own answer to each question. Note also that it's important to try to cite relevant accomplishments that illustrate the real world value that your teamwork skills can bring to any company.

That said, here are ten common interview questions about teamwork skills, and examples of how you can effectively answer them:

1.  “Why is teamwork important to you?”

This is a simple question that some hiring managers use to give you an opportunity to express your own perspective on collaboration. When answering it, you should acknowledge your appreciation for the power of teamwork and try to offer an example of how collaboration has helped you to find success in previous work situations.


In my experience, teamwork is essential for success. Collaboration improves productivity and efficiency, while sparking innovation and ensuring a better overall customer experience. Years ago, however, I also learned that it is also the key to overcoming unexpected challenges. The company I was working for started a project that quickly stalled due to some unforeseen obstacles. Fortunately, though, we had a diverse group of creative people and we all put our heads together to brainstorm solutions. Ultimately, that collaboration enabled us to find a path forward that made the project even more successful than we expected.

2. “If we asked one of your former team members about you, what would they say?”

While this question might seem focused solely on others' perspective of your work, it can also be a way for hiring managers to learn how you imagine that others see you. As such, it can provide invaluable insight into your professional values and the things that matter to you. If possible, you can include some kind words a former co-worker or supervisor has said about you in the past. In general, you should focus on your strengths and priorities, but try to avoid being too hyperbolic.


If you asked a former team member to describe me and my work, I'd like to think that they'd begin by noting my commitment to organization, time management, and accountability. One valued colleague once told me that she appreciated the fact that I was so focused on ensuring that everyone on the team had what they needed to achieve their tasks. According to her, she could always count on me to help where needed, actively listen to everyone on the team, and brainstorm to find solutions when we ran into problems.

Other colleagues would probably cite my dedication to managing my own time and resources, and my willingness to rely on others' expertise to ensure that project needs are properly addressed. Some coworkers may have even caught me helping colleagues with their duties, even going as far as taking on additional research tasks to ensure that deadlines and project goals were met.

3. “Tell me how you would rate your own collaboration abilities.”

Since collaboration is such a vital component of effective teamwork, hiring managers may ask a question like this to give you a chance to quantify your abilities. This can be a great opportunity to cite some good team playing skills, offering specific examples of times when those abilities helped you to provide real value to your team, project, and employer.


For me, collaboration may be one of my most important talents. As a people person, I love having the opportunity to share ideas, innovate new solutions and approaches, and learn from everyone around me. I take great pride in my active listening skills and my ability to ask relevant questions that expand my understanding. In addition, I'm flexible enough to adapt to new circumstances, provide support where it's needed, and work with colleagues to ensure that our combined efforts achieve maximum value for the company.

4. “What skills make you an effective team member?”

This question is designed to help you to focus on the specific teamwork skills that you would bring to the table if you were hired. You should try to cite several of your strongest teamwork abilities and explain why you feel they can benefit the prospective employer. Don't be afraid to praise your own talents here, since there's no point in being overly modest. Remember, this is an opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job!


That's a good question. While I have a number of traits that help me to succeed in a team, there are three that come to mind right away. The first is my commitment to fostering a respectful atmosphere. I value people and understand that the only way to bring out everyone's best is to create an environment that enables openness, mutual respect, and trust.

The second trait that I think makes me an effective team member is my ability to communicate ideas in both written and verbal mediums. Superior communication is critical for building and maintaining any team, so I've focused on developing clear ways to share information with colleagues and superiors to ensure that we're all on the same page. I also employ active listening to make sure that I understand what others are conveying to me.

The last trait I would mention is conflict resolution. Disagreements eventually occur in every group dynamic, so it's vital to have someone who understands the need to find common ground and negotiate mutually acceptable solutions. Throughout my career, I have worked to develop those skills and have found them to be invaluable tools for maintaining group harmony.

5. “How would you deal with a team member who refused to do their part of the project?”

This question tests your ability to deal with group conflict as well as adapt to change. It can be a great opportunity to illustrate your interpersonal skills and capacity for dealing with difficult coworkers. You should try to cite an example of a similar experience and explain how you managed the situation.


I don't really have to imagine that situation, since I lived it. As part of a team assigned to a site evaluation project several years ago, I experienced that very thing when one of my colleagues basically refused to participate due to some lingering resentments with management. I called a team meeting where we all discussed our given roles and the importance of ensuring that we all did our part to complete the project. After that meeting, my colleague refocused on his work and the project was completed without incident.

At the same time, however, I was prepared to bring in management to address the situation if necessary. In addition, several members of our team had prepared a contingency plan that would have seen us divide up his project responsibilities and complete them ourselves if he had continued to refuse to fulfill his role. The important thing in that situation was to ensure that the project and the company's needs were prioritized.

6. “What weaknesses do you have that could get in the way of effective teamwork?”

The trick to answering this question is to avoid emphasizing any serious weaknesses, and instead use the question to highlight your values and strengths. Obviously, you do not want to give the impression that you might struggle to fit in with any team environment.


I sometimes find myself struggling to cope with any level of disorganization. In my experience, teams are at their most productive when there is efficient planning, a sound strategy for meeting goals, and well-understood roles and assignments. In a previous role, I was assigned to a project that lacked those things and found it disconcerting. After some brainstorming, however, I met with the team leader and offered some ideas to help to provide some needed structure for the project. After she implemented those suggestions, we ended up getting the project on track and completed two weeks ahead of expectations.

7. “Describe a time when you were stressed out by being part of a team.”

This question can be used to reinforce your teamwork skills by explaining how you have overcome some type of adverse situation. While it's a good idea to avoid any overly negative criticism of a former employer, you should feel free to describe an instance where you turned a seemingly negative situation into a positive for yourself and everyone involved.


In general, I always enjoy team environments. There is always something new to learn as you collaborate with a variety of different personalities with unique skill sets. There was one team I was on, however, that included a team member who was a bit of a procrastinator. It did become frustrating to always have projects pushing deadlines as we waited for him to complete his part of the group effort.

We did find a way to resolve that problem, though. After consulting with a couple of other colleagues, we created a plan to check in with everyone on the team daily to check project progress and to help anyone who was falling behind. That actually became a key component of our project management systems at the company. Best of all, that colleague was so motivated by the effort that he eventually developed better time management skills.

8. “How do you deal with criticism from fellow team members?”

This question attempts to get insight into your attitude and interpersonal skills. You should be prepared to offer an example of a time when you faced such criticism and explain how you managed the situation. Be sure to include some details about how your teamwork skills helped you to address the criticism.


I expect constructive criticism and recognize that it can help me to learn and grow in my role and as part of an effective team. I also understand that criticism is not always delivered in a positive way, and that some people may struggle to cope with that type of negative feedback. I remember one time when a colleague burst into my office loudly criticizing me for not including him in a team sub-task meeting, even though he was assigned to a different task - and they had their own scheduled meeting at the same time.

I listened to his criticism, told him that I understood that he felt excluded, and then explained why he could not be at that meeting. That helped to calm him down and he eventually apologized for misreading the situation. Fortunately, I was able to separate the message from the messenger and delivery style. That enabled me to digest the information and try to find reasonable common ground rather than being offended.

9. “What type of positive impact would you expect to make on our team's culture?”

This question is an opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job, so be sure to describe exactly why you feel that you can add value to the team.


The one thing that I keep hearing about your company is that it prides itself on teamwork and shared values. I share those priorities and am confident that my commitment to enhancing the team experience can make me a valuable addition to the firm. My dedication to strong communication, personal accountability, and an organized approach to meeting shared goals can help me to hit the ground running and quickly integrate my skill set into the fabric of the team.

10. “How do you prioritize team responsibilities and individual duties?”

This question offers an opportunity to show an employer how your mind works. You should try to give an answer that shows that you understand the importance of both individual and team responsibilities and can effectively balance those sometimes competing priorities.


Typically, I begin by considering deadlines to determine which duties need to be given higher priority. I also factor in things like interdependency; for example, is there someone waiting for me to complete a certain task before they can do their work? That work would usually receive first consideration then. As a rule, this helps me to identify the highest priority duties and act accordingly.

I do generally tend to focus on team tasks first, because it is important to ensure that I'm doing my part to support my teammates. That is usually the right decision, since my independent duties can usually be more easily managed without impacting my colleagues' workflows.


Teamwork skills are highly prized by today's employers, so it is vital to know how to answer interview questions that focus on those abilities. Hopefully, this insight can help you to properly prepare your own responses to the most common teamwork interview questions and show that you're the best candidate for the job!

Make sure you're prepared for your next interview by booking a session with one of our interview coaches today!

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