Popular teamwork competency questions to prepare for
Competency-based questions are asked during an interview to find out how you can demonstrate a specific skill required for the role in which you are applying. They are amongst some of the most common types of questions asked, and therefore it’s really important to know how to prepare for them well. You will often need to provide an example as part of your answer, showing the practical application of the skill.
During most interviews, it’s highly likely you will be asked a question, or possibly several, that focuses on teamwork. Having the ability to work on your own is really important, but employers will be keen that you can work well with others to achieve a common goal too. They will also be looking at how you could both fit in with, and compliment, the skills of the existing team.
It’s worth noting that questions around teamwork can sit in two camps, and be described as a behavioural type question as well as a competency type. This is because employers may also wish to find out how you might approach a certain task, or how you might react in certain situations, which are typically placed more within the behavioural questions camp.
Here are some examples of a few Team Work interview questions and answers to give you an idea.
- When you’re in a team situation, what role do you usually play?
My natural position when in a team situation is to take on the role of organising and coordinating people and tasks.
In my last organisation, I joined the team responsible for putting on our annual colleague conference. There were eight of us in total and we all had our own tasks to deliver. I created a project plan for us to follow and set deadlines. I also organised regular meetings for the team to catch up and track progress. This worked really well as it helped the team to deliver on time and we were able to see any issues in advance.
I do also enjoy the opportunity to lead smaller groups of people, which has helped to build my confidence in this area.
- If a team member was disengaged, what would you do to motivate them?
I will always talk to a team member privately to understand the reason and offer support and guidance to move forward. I always ask them about what they would like to happen and any challenges they see so that they feel involved in the solution.
In my last role, I managed a small team of four. I was new to this particular team and I noticed that one of the more long-standing members was really demotivated. I talked to her about this sensitively at her 1:1 and it turned out that she had been asking to progress in her role for some time and not had any support. I therefore delegated some of my tasks to her so that she could gain some additional experience and we agreed that she would research some formal learning ready to submit as part of her annual appraisal. It did take a little while for the team member to re-engage as she had been demotivated for so long, but after getting stuck into her new tasks she was so much happier at work. Her learning had just been approved before I left, which she was thrilled about.
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your manager. How did you handle it?
With any disagreement at work, I remain calm and show understanding for the other person’s perspective. I listen to their point of view without interrupting.
A disagreement I had with my current manager was in relation to resolving an issue for a customer. The customer was dissatisfied with the service they received from an engineer of ours. After speaking to the engineer involved, it became clear to me that we were at fault, but my manager felt the opposite. After a discussion with my manager, and me further explaining my point of view, he agreed that we should compensate the customer so that they felt appreciated by us and would use our services again in the future.
Structuring your answer
A useful way to structure your answers is to use the STAR method. Firstly, think about an example to share as part of your answer, then use the steps below to help you respond clearly and fully.
S – Situation
In this section, talk about the situation itself. Describe the context in which you were working or the challenge you were facing.
T – Task
This section talks about the tasks which needed to be completed in order to resolve or address the situation. What were you asked to do, or what did you decide to do?
A – Action
In this section talk about what your responsibility was in completing the tasks. Focus on the part you played specifically and how you contributed, rather than what your team or colleagues did.
R – Result
In this section, talk about what the outcome was, and what you achieved.
Some people also add an additional “R” at the end for Reflection. Here, you could talk about what you felt went well, and if there would be anything you would change next time.
For more information on the STAR method, please see our blog.