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10 Collaboration Interview Questions [With Sample Answers]

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If you’re planning to apply to a company that fosters a collaborative culture, expect to be asked questions about your ability to work with others.

To help you prepare, we listed some of the most common collaboration interview questions that interviewers ask, including how and how not to answer them with flying colors.

10 Common Collaboration Interview Questions

Despite the rise of remote work, teamwork in the workspace is as strong as ever.

In fact, research suggests that employees now spend about 50% of their time engaged purely in collaborative work.

Because of this, teamwork, and the ability to work well with others in general, have been among the most desired traits in employees.

If the company you’re applying for is strongly team oriented, these collaborative interview questions will likely appear in conversation:

  • When a colleague is struggling or performing poorly, how do you provide feedback?
  • Have you ever had to work with a colleague you didn’t get along with? If so, how did you handle it?
  • In your opinion, what qualities make an effective team?
  • How do collaboration skills help in the workplace?
  • What collaboration skills do you possess?
  • What are the disadvantages of collaboration in the workplace, if any?
  • Do you think remote collaboration is as effective as working together face-to-face?
  • What role do you usually play in a team?
  • How would you describe a collaborative workspace?
  • How do you organize your team projects?

Alongside these questions, you may also encounter peer interview questions and culture interview questions.

These questions shed light on your teamwork abilities as well as your views in a culture-focused work environment.

What Should I Say in a Collaboration Interview?

According to a global survey, 75% of employers consider teamwork and collaboration as “very important.”

 Individual success and performance make for an attractive employee, but not as much as his or her ability to collaborate with others in a workspace.

In a collaboration interview, take the opportunity to describe your collaboration skills and what makes them so effective in a workspace.

Try to add them as naturally as you can when introducing yourself.

If executed well, the interviewers will understand why you’re the best candidate for the job.

What Skills Are Collaboration Interviewers Looking For in a Candidate?

In an age of shared ideas and collaboration, workspaces have started valuing teamwork more than individuality.

Here are some of the key skills that interviewers are looking for in a candidate:

Strong Communication Skills

Strong communication skills are a saving grace when working collaboratively.

These skills not only help you do your work more effectively but also smoothen your relationships with your colleagues, resulting in better teamwork.

Organizational Skills

Organizational skills increase the productivity and operational efficiency of a company, making them a fundamental aspect of its growth and development.

Employees with strong organizational skills can keep track of tasks, deadlines, and meetings.

They can also manage multiple team projects simultaneously with minimal or without error.

Adaptability

When working with a team, unforeseen events that result in delays and shifts in priorities are common occurrences.

Adaptability showcases your resourcefulness, leadership skills, and flexibility when new and challenging work situations arise.

Conflict resolution

In a collaborative workspace, conflict is inevitable.

Employers prefer candidates that not only avoid conflict but also have proper conflict resolution skills to help a team move past misunderstandings.

Reliability

Reliability fosters trust, support, and seamless collaboration.

With this skill, you’re letting your employers know that you can be trusted to do your part of the work in a team even without supervision.

What Traits Are Collaboration Interviewers Looking to Avoid in a Candidate?

Take note of these negative traits that interviewers mark as undesirable from the get-go:

  • Lack of Time Management: Employers want to get their money’s worth out of their employees, so displaying a lack of time management is a near-instant turn-off to interviewers. No one wants to hire someone who’s unreliable.
  • Arrogance: There’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Candidates that come off as smug or arrogant send a message to interviewers that they aren’t agreeable or humble, which can be damaging to a collaborative work environment.
  • Close-Mindedness: Collaborative workspaces are often diverse, with employees hailing from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities. Candidates that display a close-minded personality are an instant no-go for interviewers.

Sample Collaboration Interview Questions and Answers

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of collaborative interviews, let’s let into the meat of the topic: the interview questions!

Here are common questions to expect:

1. How would you describe a collaborative workspace?

Why This Question Is Asked

In this question, interviewers gauge your idea of a successful collaborative workspace.

It’s also asked to make sure you understand the basic concept of collaboration and how it can help your team succeed.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Explain the definition of collaboration and why it’s important.

Use this opportunity to discuss how it’s helped you grow and improve in the workplace.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Describe a successful collaborative workspace in your own words.

Try not to sound as if you’re reading the definition of collaboration from a dictionary.

Give examples of positive team experiences to add authenticity to your answer.

Example Answer

“In my opinion, a collaborative workspace consists of three key elements: communication, trust, and organization.

These elements are used to solve problems and achieve a common goal.

As a team leader at my previous organization, I actively encouraged my team members to voice their opinions and thoughts about our current project.

This led to countless successful ideas that would’ve otherwise been swept under the rug if not for the collaborative culture we had.”

2. When a colleague is struggling or performing poorly, how do you provide feedback?

Why This Question Is Asked

With this question, interviewers gauge your communication skills and ability to provide productive feedback to your team members.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on your conflict resolution and communication skills.

Think of ways to approach shortcomings with constructive feedback without being overly critical or harsh.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid common mistakes such as making feedback too personal or impersonal, playing armchair psychologist or a “know-it-all” superior, or “sandwich-ing” negative feedback to somehow cushion the blow.

Example Answer

“In the last place I worked, one of my team members started coming in late.

I approached him with this concern and asked if there was a reason for the change in his usual punctuality.

I told him that I wasn’t there to criticize his work and only wanted to understand what was going on.

Eventually, he started opening up. He said that the reason for his tardiness is due to a family situation.

With that, we discussed the ways in which we could adjust his schedule for a few days a week to help with his personal circumstances.”

3. Have you ever had to work with a colleague you didn’t get along with? If so, how did you handle it?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers ask this question to assess how you work with difficult colleagues.

It’s also used to ascertain if you have conflicts with certain people and/or personality types.  

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on your communication and conflict-resolution skills.

Employers like hiring individuals who work well with others and remain civil in the face of personal conflict.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

The worse way to answer this question is somewhere along the lines of “I just ignore them” or “I try to avoid them as much as possible.”

Inaction or avoidance can worsen the already-stained relationship with a colleague.

Example Answer

“I used to work with a colleague that wasn’t open to feedback or discussing his work, making him difficult to collaborate with.

Ignoring the issue won’t do, so I approached him and explained that if we were to create a successful project, we had to set aside whatever personal feelings we had and ensure we were on the same page.

By clarifying my intentions, our work ethic dramatically improved.

The project ended up a success, and my colleague and I stayed on professional terms throughout my stay.”

4. In your opinion, what qualities make an effective team?

Why This Question Is Asked

By asking this question, your interviewer is trying to find out if you possess the qualities they’re looking for to create a successful team.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Enumerate the key characteristics of high-performing teams.

Efficient and productive teams must have a shared purpose, collective values, measurable objectives, and a desire for growth and development.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid the “me-first” mentality when answering this question.

In a team, all members must consistently work together towards a common goal.

Discuss the qualities of the whole team rather than focusing on your own.

Example Answer

“Whenever I’m working with a team, I witness the best results when we openly communicate our goals, make decisions together, and offer each other’s support.

I found these qualities crucial to building a sense of camaraderie between members.”

5. How do collaboration skills help in the workplace?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviews ask this question to see how much you value collaboration in a workplace.

It also gives interviewers a general look at how you’ll fit into their company culture.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on the values and habits that boost teamwork efficiency and success.

Place importance on communication, open discussion, common goals, and trust among members of the team.

Explain how they’ve helped you achieve or learn new things in the workplace.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t undervalue or show doubt in workplace collaboration, as it may send the wrong message to your interviewers.

Be honest with your opinion, but always go back to the importance of teamwork in the success of a business.

Example Answer

“Collaboration skills help us problem-solve, increase company productivity, and create a positive workplace atmosphere.

They also allow us to share ideas with others and receive genuine feedback, resulting in improved work ethics and efficiency.”  

6. What collaboration skills do you possess?

Why This Question Is Asked

This question gives interviewers an insight into the collaborative skills you possess to evaluate the role you’ll potentially take with the company.

It’ll help interviewers understand what kind of team environment suits you best if you were to be accepted.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Think of the collaborative qualities you have and explain what makes them effective.

Provide examples of using said skills in a previous role.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t list collaboration skills that you don’t possess.

Honestly is key, here.

If you list collaboration skills at random, your interviewer will think that you’re just reading off a script.

Example Answer

“I’m a social person, which is why I work well with others. I’m always willing to listen to my team members’ ideas, even if they’re what some would deem unconventional.

In my last position, my colleague and I had a disagreement on the approach to a client’s business proposal.

Instead of disagreeing with her suggestions, we evaluated the pros and cons of each idea.

Eventually, we met halfway and submitted a combination of ideas to our client.

I’m proud to say that the meeting concluded successfully and we sealed the deal with the client.”

7. What are the disadvantages of collaboration in the workplace, if any?

Why This Question Is Asked

With this question, interviewers test your abilities in recognizing the disadvantages of collaboration.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Focus on the disadvantages of collaboration and explain why they can potentially hinder workplace dynamics.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

As with most workplace cultures, there are potential risks in collaborative working.

Don’t dismiss or minimize these risks.

Example Answer

“During my years working in a collaborative environment, I’ve witnessed several disadvantages worth noting.

For one, a collaborative group may sometimes end up with too many faux leaders and not enough members willing to take on the follower role.

It can also result in conflicting working styles, lack of accountability, and possible rift among team members, mainly due to the lack of trust.”

8. Do you think remote collaboration is as effective as working together face-to-face?

Why This Question Is Asked

Interviewers ask this question to assess your opinion on remote collaboration.

Companies that work off-site value employees that can work together and communicate effectively regardless of the location.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of remote collaboration, and how to create effective communications even when you’re miles away from your team members.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

When answering this question, don’t show an obvious disinterest in remote collaboration.

The company you’re applying for might be hiring individuals that work well outside office buildings.

You can mention any reservations you might have, but it’s always best to keep an open mind.

Employers are looking for employees that are willing to adapt to any situation.

Example Answer

“I believe that remote collaboration can be just as effective as face-to-face collaboration if communication tools and skills are properly utilized.

Before the pandemic, the company that I previously worked with struggled with remote collaboration.

It didn’t have the necessary tools to create prompt, two-way communication between employees, making conversation and sharing ideas challenging.

However, we quickly adapted to the change and invested in proper video conferencing systems, allowing us to share information seamlessly with each other.”  

9. What role do you usually play in a team?

Why This Question Is Asked

When interviewers ask this question, they’re assessing what role you can potentially fill in their team.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Answer the question honestly and sincerely.

Provide examples as to why you best fit this role.

Focus on your qualities as an employee and the value you’ll bring to the team.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

When answering this question, don’t be vague or say that you fit in whatever role they want you to take.

Each team member has a role, and this is your chance to secure a role that you actually want.

Example Answer

“In my previous company, I often took on the role of the leader.

However, I’m not one to force myself onto that position.

After all, leadership should be given to the most deserving.

If there’s someone with more experience or direction than me, then I don’t mind stepping back and giving the mantle to someone else.”

10. How do you organize your team projects?

Why This Question Is Asked

This question helps interviewers understand your thought process when given a team project.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Discuss how you prioritize your tasks and divide workflow between members.

Focus on the “team” aspect of the project and set clear, easy-to-follow objectives with your team members.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

When discussing your organizational process, try not to make it seem that you’re taking on more work than your team members.

The work should be divided evenly among the team so everyone can work together to achieve the project’s goal.

Example Answer

“When it comes to team projects, I usually list down all the project’s parameters.

This includes budgets, deadlines, desired goals, and anything else that’s relevant to the project.

Then, I approach my team and discuss the project in detail.

During this discussion, I’d ask my team for opinions, ideas, strategies, and any reservations they may have.

Finally, I’d divide the tasks between my team members according to their experience, capabilities, and personalities.”

Other Common Interview Questions You Could Be Asked

Here are some other interview questions you might encounter:

1. Why are you a great match for this role?

Why This Question Is Asked

In this question, interviewers determine your understanding of the role and gauge if you are a good fit for it.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

When answering this question, keep your answer concise but detailed.

Focus on the value you have to offer and emphasize the skill set you’re proud of.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t be a “pick-me” candidate.

Don’t criticize or minimize other people’s achievements and skill sets, as this will make you sound arrogant and smug.

Example Answer

“My communication and leadership skills make me a great candidate for this role.

In my previous job, I took on the responsibility of overseeing a team of 20 employees and dividing projects as per their skill sets.

I’ve also created a new communication system that increased my old company’s productivity by 30%.

I’m confident that I can do the same in this position.”

2. What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Why This Question Is Asked

This question helps interviewers identify your self-awareness.

They want to know if you can take on the responsibilities of the position regardless of your weaknesses.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Mention the strengths and skills required for the role you’re interviewing for.

As for the weaknesses, select those that won’t prevent you from succeeding in the role.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Be honest but not too honest.

For a job that requires a lot of collaboration, for example, don’t mention “unable to work with others” as one of your weaknesses.

Example Answer

“One of my biggest strengths is my ability to get along and collaborate with people.

I’ve always enjoyed working with teams as it allows me to share my ideas and listen to the opinions of others.

As for my weakness, perhaps the biggest is my self-criticism.

I can be extremely critical of myself, which can lead to negative self-talk and self-doubt.

This is why I value collaboration so much; it helps me refocus my thoughts and get the feedback I need from my team.”

3. What Do You Like to Do For Fun?

Why This Question Is Asked

This question helps interviewers determine how well you fit in the company culture and get a sense of who you are as a person.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Identify one or more hobbies you’re really passionate about and find ways to tie them back to the job.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t answer the question with, “I don’t have any hobbies,” as this indicates that you don’t have a proper work-life balance.

Don’t bring up anything illegal and political, either.

Example Answer

“I love to cook. I always experiment with new recipes and ingredients.

I’m not afraid to try odd combinations and complicated cooking methods. In fact, I look forward to the challenge!

And when I make something, I never stop until I reach perfection in both taste and practical experience.”

4. What Can You Bring to the Company?

Why This Question Is Asked

Your answer shows interviews why you’re worth hiring for the job.

Your response can either put you on top of the selection list or at the very bottom.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Think of how you’ll fit into the job you’re applying for.

Name specific job-related skills rather than a list of generic soft skills.

Share accomplishments from your previous company to show interviewers how you apply your skills in real time.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Avoid giving a generic response.

Your answer should set you apart from other candidates.

Example Answer

“In my last job, I was responsible for identifying and contacting new clients. This is one of my greatest strengths, and something I’ve been doing for the past three years.

Before I left, I managed to close 40 deals in the span of six months, securing over $10 million worth of services. I’m confident that I can do the same in this position.”  

5. Tell Me About a Time You Failed

Why This Question Is Asked

This question sheds light on how you dealt with failure and how you’ve accepted defeat and moved on.

What to Focus on When Answering This Question

Start by describing the situation and why it was challenging.

Then go into detail about what happened and how you took responsibility for your failures.

Be honest about your mistake and show how you’ve learned from it.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t minimize the mistake and put the blame on anyone but yourself.

Take accountability for your actions and acknowledge that you could’ve done something better or differently.  

Example Answer

“I was managing a project for one of our biggest clients.

I wanted to make a good impression on the client, so I promised that my team and I would complete the project in two weeks’ time.

Unfortunately, the project ended up taking an extra week due to events that I should’ve foreseen.

The client wasn’t happy and neither was my supervisor.

After this mistake, I made sure to plan out future projects carefully to ensure I don’t miss the deadline again.”

Additional Tips for Collaboration Interviews

To leave a lasting impression on your interviewers, follow these tips:  

How Do You Prepare for a Collaboration Interview?

When preparing for an interview, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Voice your thoughts out loud, even if they’re disjointed or incomplete.
  • Spend a few hours researching the company you’re applying for.  
  • Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. If you find it difficult, take a strengths finder quiz.
  • Identify your selling points. List skills, accomplishments, and abilities that resonate with interviewers most.

What Should You Wear to a Collaboration Interview?

When dressing for an interview, details matter.

Your clothes should be neat, clean, and pressed.

Avoid scuffed shoes, old sweaters, and clothes with signs of wear and tear.

Don’t wear too many accessories, either. Keep it simple but let your personality shine.

How Should You Introduce Yourself In a Collaboration Interview?

When introducing yourself, smile and be confident.

Maintain eye contact with the interviewers when speaking to show your interest.

Then, prepare a short greeting and introduction of yourself.

It can be as simple as, “Hi, my name is Jane Watson. I’m here for a three pm job interview for the program manager role.”

Smile and give the interviewer a firm handshake when you’ve been acknowledged.

What Questions Should You Ask at the End of a Collaboration Interview?

To end your interview on a good note, here are some questions to ask during the interview:

  • How would you describe the company’s culture?
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
  • What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
  • If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn more about collaboration interviews?

Check out these FAQs:

What is the difference between situational and behavioral collaboration?

Situational collaboration interviews focus on the future and the hypothetical, while behavioral interviews look at the past.

“Tell me about a time you took a leadership role,” is a behavioral interview question, whereas “What would you do if the work of an employee you managed didn’t meet expectations?” is a situational question.

What are the three types of collaboration?

Collaboration is divided into three types: communication, response, and location.

Collaboration based on communication includes digital and in-person collaboration, while response includes synchronous collaboration and asynchronous collaboration.

As for location, it comprises co-located collaboration and remote collaboration.

Wrap Up

We hope this article on collaboration interview questions helped you prepare for your future interview!

When answering questions, focus on the value of working with a team.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings, but make sure your answers are headed in a positive direction.

Good luck!

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