For a business to be successful, it usually requires a team of individuals who work in unison and who have the same objective in mind. When there’s selfishness or a lack of cohesion, it tends to inhibit productivity; so spotting a team player is important when sifting through job candidates.

In terms of a formal definition, a team player is “someone who puts aside his personal goals and works well with others, doing what he needs to do to strive for a common goal.” Let’s review some interview questions that will demonstrate teamwork skills in an employee.

Do you prefer to work alone or in a team?

Perhaps the best way to cut straight to the chase is to see what type of working style a candidate prefers. Some people thrive in an independent setting, and others flourish in a team. While an independent-minded person who prefers to work alone might be a solid employee, it could be problematic if their working style gets in the way of overarching company goals. That’s why it’s ideal to find those who enjoy working in a team setting and give them heavy consideration. 

What traits do you think make a good team player? 

Asking this question will usually give you a sense of a candidate’s teamwork skills. A person may list a wide range of traits, but here are some that you’ll want to look for:

  • Reliability and dependability
  • Communication skills
  • Active participation
  • Commitment
  • Good listening skills
  • Adaptability

What was a successful team project you’ve been part of?

Next, it’s nice to get a concrete example of a project a candidate has been part of in the past. Ideally, they’ll be able to give you specific information on how they participated in a project, how they overcame obstacles and ultimately completed the project. You should also ask how they combined their unique skills and talents with other team members to make the project a success.

How have you collaborated with others to achieve a common goal?

Another aspect of teamwork skills to analyze is how a candidate interacts with other team members and if they pull their weight. Asking about the different ways that a person has collaborated should give you an idea of the strengths they could bring to your team and how much of an impact they would have.

You can also get a sense of how versatile they are and whether or not they would fit in with your existing employees. A team player will be an active participant and be effective at communicating with others to ensure that a project is completely on time.

Keeping your company running efficiently and maximizing productivity is largely contingent upon assembling a tight knit team. By knowing which questions to ask, you stand a good chance of finding employees who are legitimate team players and who will do their part in making your business thrive.

For more information on talent acquisition and other HR topics, please check out our resources section.

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