17 Essential Collaboration Interview Questions for Candidates

Collaboration isn't just a buzzword—it's a crucial skill.

If you’re looking to put together a high-performing team that works well together to get stuff done, recruiters and hiring managers need to identify candidates who excel in collaboration.

In this article, we'll explore some carefully crafted interview questions designed to help you discover candidates with exceptional collaboration skills. These questions can be especially useful for you if you’re looking for anyone tasked with bringing your team together, this article is for you. 👀

Skip to:

  • <a href="#general">General interview questions about collaboration</a>
  • <a href="#relationship-building">Relationship-building interview questions</a>
  • <a href="#influence">Influence interview questions</a>
  • <a href="#adaptability">Adaptability interview questions</a>
  • <a href="#qualities">Qualities to look for in a collaborative team member</a>

<div id="general">General interview questions about collaboration 🤝</div>

Collaboration is the name of the game in today's workplaces — that’s especially true for small startups and scaleups. To ensure you're bringing on the right team players in your job interview process, let's dive into some general interview questions about collaboration. These questions will help you get a sense of how candidates tackle teamwork.

1. Can you tell me about your experience working in teams of various sizes?

What to listen for: How they speak about their experience and how varied that experience is. Their response should give you a more complete picture of how they work within teams big and small, and their preferences.

2. Can you describe a project where you had to collaborate with a diverse group of people? What was your role, and how did you make sure healthy collaboration was a priority?

What to listen for: Their ability to work with a variety of personalities and backgrounds, how they navigated potential challenges and their contribution to the team's success and wins.

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3. Share an example of a time when there was a disagreement within your team. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?

What to listen for: Their conflict resolution skills, how they communicate under pressure and their commitment to finding solutions that benefit the team. Disagreements are bound to arise on any team — what matters most is how your candidate handles those disagreements and how they would aim to bring harmony to your team.

4. What would you say are the most important factors for successful collaboration? And how do you promote them within a team?

What to listen for: Their understanding of some of collaboration's key elements, like trust and communication, and their ability to nurture these factors among team members.

5. Tell me about a time you set aside your own work or priorities to help someone else on your team.

What to listen for: The ideal candidate will have a willingness to prioritize team needs over individual tasks. Pay attention for signs of empathy and teamwork as they describe the situation, highlighting how they provide support when their colleagues need it most.

<div id="relationship-building">Relationship-building interview questions 🧱</div>

Building strong relationships is a fundamental aspect of collaboration. In this section, we'll dig into interview questions focused on finding out how well candidates can connect with their peers and how they navigate those sometimes tricky team dynamics.

6. Can you share an example of how you've built a strong professional relationship with a team member? What steps did you take?

What to listen for: Their ability to establish trust, effective communication and how they maintain positive relationships over time. You’ll want someone who values their work relationships and sees them as opportunities to get the best work done possible.

7. Describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict between team members. How did you approach it, and what was the outcome?

What to listen for: Conflict resolution skills, impartiality and their commitment to maintaining a harmonious team atmosphere. Emotional intelligence interview questions can also come in handy here.

8. How do you handle differences in opinion or work styles when collaborating with others? Can you provide an example of a time when this was challenging for you?

What to listen for: Keep your ears open for an answer that demonstrates their flexibility and adaptability, as well as their ability to find common ground. The right candidate for your team will be able to work effectively with diverse perspectives — after all, diversity is our strength in the workplace.

9. Share an instance when you had to collaborate with remote team members. How did you overcome the challenges of distance?

What to listen for: How the candidate approaches creating strong connections in virtual teams, their communication skills in remote settings and how they create a sense of unity among team members, no matter where they may be located. Remote hiring is a whole different ball game!

📣 Check out these remote interview questions while you’re at it

<div id="influence">Influence interview questions to assess collaboration skills 🎩</div>

Influence – and we’re not talking about Instagram – is a pretty important skill when it comes to getting everyone on a team on the same page. These interview questions will help you figure out if candidates have what it takes to persuade others when necessary and to guide teams effectively (and respectfully). You may not need to ask all of these questions, so pick and choose the ones that would work best for your job interview process.

10. Describe a situation where you had to influence a team's decision or direction.

What to listen for: Your candidate’s ability to articulate their influence strategies, their persuasive communication skills and their impact on the team's decisions. When it comes to teamwork, sometimes being able to move the needle one way or another is necessary to make progress.

11. How do you handle resistance from team members when introducing new ideas or changes? Can you share an example?

What to listen for: Pay attention to their resilience in the face of resistance, their ability to effectively address concerns from their teammates and their track record of putting positive changes into action.

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12. Tell me about a time when you successfully motivated your team to achieve a challenging goal. What did you do and what was the result?

What to listen for: How they discuss their motivational skills, how they inspire others and their ability to drive collective efforts toward ambitious goals and objectives. This collaboration interview question is especially useful if you’re hiring for a manager or a more senior position, where you’re looking for someone to really take charge in their role.

13. Can you share an experience where you had to mediate a disagreement between two team members who had opposing viewpoints?

What to listen for: Your candidate’s ability to navigate conflicting interests and how they promote collaboration and compromise. Disagreements at work are inevitable, so it’s important to know you’re hiring someone who can handle them professionally.

14. How do you ensure everyone’s voice is heard on a team and what strategies would you use to guide your team effectively?

What to listen for: How your candidate approaches leadership, their inclusive communication skills and their ability to make use of the strengths of everyone on the team for the greater good (like your business’ success!).

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<div id="adaptability">Adaptability interview questions 🤸</div>

Being adaptable in the workplace is a must, especially when it comes to collaboration. being adaptable is a must, especially when it comes to collaboration. So, let's explore some interview questions that'll help you gauge how candidates handle change, stay resilient and seamlessly fit into collaborative teams.

15. Can you describe a project where unexpected changes or obstacles arose? How did you adapt, and what impact did it have on the project's success?

What to listen for: Their adaptability under challenging circumstances, problem-solving skills and how they keep teams on track amid unexpected shifts.

16. What strategies do you use to keep up with rapidly evolving industry trends and technologies, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your collaborative efforts?

What to listen for: Pay attention to their commitment to continuous learning, their ability to apply new knowledge and how they contribute to innovation within teams.

17. Tell me about a time when you had to step into a different role or collaborate with a new team on short notice. How did you handle the transition, and what was the result?

What to listen for: Flexibility and ability to quickly integrate into new teams or roles, as well as their impact on achieving team goals during transitions.

<div id="qualities">What are the qualities to look for in a collaborative team member?</div>

When evaluating candidates throughout the job interview process for their collaborative potential, keep an eye out for some key qualities:

🗣️ Strong communication skills

Collaborators should be excellent communicators, expressing their ideas clearly and actively listening to others. Look for candidates who can articulate their thoughts effectively and open up healthy conversations within the team.

🫶 Empathy

Empathy is the secret sauce of collaboration and it always helps to understand teammates’ perspectives and feelings. Seek out a candidate who demonstrates empathy — they should be able to build trust and rapport, resolve conflicts and provide support to other team members when needed.

🛳️ Conflict resolution skills

Collaborative team members should have the ability to handle conflicts constructively. Find candidates who can mediate disagreements, find common ground and steer the ship toward resolutions that keep the team sailing smoothly.

⚽️ Team player mentality

If you want a harmonious team, you need candidates who love being part of a team. Look for those who genuinely like teamwork and are willing to roll up their sleeves, even if it means stepping out of their comfort zone or their usual job description.

🤳 Responsiveness and accountability

In a collaborative setting, responsiveness and accountability are non-negotiable. Be on the lookout for candidates who not only talk the talk but walk the walk. They follow through on commitments, meet deadlines and hold themselves responsible for their contributions.

🙏 Respect for diverse perspectives

Encourage a culture of diversity and inclusion by looking for candidates who respect and value different viewpoints. Those who appreciate the richness of diverse perspectives are more likely to contribute to a thriving collaborative environment.

🌞 Positive attitude

A little optimism goes a long way, especially when things get tough. Look for candidates who are likely to bring sunshine to your team, even on the cloudiest of days. Their positive vibes can work wonders, inspiring and lifting the spirits of everyone around them.

Wrapping up your interview

Finding the right collaborative team members can transform an ordinary group of individuals into an extraordinary, high-performing team. These interview questions will help you spot the candidates who not only have the skills for the job but also have the qualities that create a culture of success and cooperation.

By asking these questions and paying close attention to candidates' responses, you'll be well on your way to building teams that not only work well together but truly excel together. 🚀

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Alessia Musso
Alessia is a Content Writer at Homerun based in London. She’s been writing B2B content for small and medium-sized businesses for the last seven years and is passionate about helping people feel more confident in their jobs. When she’s not researching all the ways growing teams can improve their hiring, she’s probably thinking about pasta, books, craft beer, and the importance of the Oxford comma.

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