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10 Common Peer Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

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Unlike interviews with employers or managers, peer reviews are conducted with potential colleagues or coworkers.

Companies design such interviews to assess how well potential hires will work with other members of the team.

Peer interview questions are crucial for a wide variety of careers, so you need to be well-prepared to answer them.

This interview guide will help you decode the most common peer interview questions, come up with appropriate answers, and avoid mistakes in your responses.

10 Common Peer Interview Questions

  1. How would you describe your teamwork skills?
  2. What would your ideal role within a team setting involve?
  3. What traits do you look for in a coworker?
  4. How can you ensure effective communication with your coworkers?
  5. What sort of work environment do you perform best in?
  6. What would you do if you got stuck on a task?
  7. How would you resolve a conflict with a coworker without escalating it to your supervisor?
  8. What would you do if a coworker asked for your help while you were busy?
  9. How would change in the workplace affect you?
  10. How would you react if your coworker is upset or disengaged?

In addition to these common peer interview questions, remember to prepare for other important types of interview questions.

For example, an interviewer may hit you with diversity interview questions to get a better idea of your views regarding topics such as tolerance, equality, and inclusion.

Some interviewers may also ask collaboration interview questions to evaluate how you communicate with coworkers, cooperate to achieve goals, and implement feedback.

What Should I Say in a Peer Interview?

Going into a peer interview, two things should be on your mind: “I need to think about the question carefully” and “I need to sound calm and collected”.

You don’t want to rush into an answer that sounds too sloppy or rehearsed, nor do you want to take too much time to respond that you come off as hesitant or unconfident.

What Skills Are Peer Interviewers Looking For in a Candidate?

The grand goal of peer interviews is to choose a job candidate who both fulfills job qualifications and contributes to a smoother company culture.

Certain skills and abilities can show your healthy inclination toward teamwork more than others.

As such, peer interviewers are likely to be looking for candidates possessing the following traits:

  • Communication: teamwork means constantly interacting with colleagues. To ensure an efficient workflow and minimize problems, members need to have good communication skills.
  • Patience: working with people requires a considerable level of patience. Not everyone thinks the same way or has the same level of skill.
  • Flexibility: working with others towards a common goal needs a good degree of flexibility to enable you to help colleagues when necessary, fill in for them, and possibly perform tasks not directly related to your position.
  • Leadership: good leaders promote collaboration; a valuable skill for bringing team members together and helping them grow.
  • Problem-solving: when issues or challenges arise, the ability to think outside the box allows problem solvers to stay calm and guide the team toward coming up with effective solutions.

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

Some traits are cues that a person doesn’t play well in a team setting.

Peer interviewers know this, so if you roll with any of the following qualities, you need to get them in check.

  • Rudeness: a bad teammate relies on offensive language to get their point across to other members. They blatantly reject suggestions and belittle the effort of coworkers.
  • Apathy: being passive means you’ll make no effort to contribute to the resolution of a problem or the success of a task.
  • Domination: if you always need to be in control, you’re a poor teammate. You don’t listen or seek input, which results in wasted potential.

Sample Peer Interview Questions and Answers

The best method of preparing for whatever question your peer interviewer throws at you is to go through some sample questions.

This way, you can get an idea of the proper responses to give.

Here are the most common examples of peer interview questions and what you need to know about them.

1. How Would You Describe Your Teamwork Skills?

Why This Question is Asked

The question is meant to gauge how team-oriented you are as an employee.

It also gives the peer interviewer insight into how critical you are of your own skills.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your response should highlight that you consider teamwork to be vital for project/company success.

Make sure you mention traits that support efficient collaboration and emphasize your desire of working within a team setting.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t talk about traits that ultimately make you come off as someone who prefers working independently.

For instance, saying that you prefer to curb schedule conflict by adopting a “just getting it done myself” attitude.

Example Answer

I’d say my teamwork skills are very strong, particularly when it comes to dependability. I’m also a great listener and verbal communicator.

I believe teamwork is pivotal  and that every member should have an input.

2. What Would Your Ideal Role Within a Team Setting Involve?

Why This Question is Asked

Interviewers ask this question to assess how you behave when working in a team setting.

It helps them identify the role that you take on in a collaboration; are you the type of employee who leads, challenges, follows, or mediates?

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your response should highlight the role you prefer to take on, but also let the interviewer know you’re flexible enough to shift your position depending on the situation.

This gives the message that you can work in whatever position that’s potentially available.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Try not to come off as “exclusive” to a specific role. In a team, members must have a certain level of “give”.

Example Answer

I’d say I tend to take on a leader-type role within a team environment. I believe I can read people well, which helps me efficiently assign tasks and motivate coworkers.

I also often serve as a mediator thanks to my ability to reach compromises.

3. What Traits Do You Look For in a Coworker?

Why This Question is Asked

Interviewers use this question to learn more about your expectations regarding the professional environment.

It helps them determine if you and the company’s work culture will make a good match.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your response should mention the type of personalities, traits, and skills you prefer coworkers to possess.

Also, you should explain the reason behind your choices — how do these traits contribute to the improvement of your performance individually and as a unit?

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t just recite a long list of traits or only focus on a single skill. Also, don’t forget to elaborate on your choices.

Example Answer

I look for teammates who are good communicators and proactive. I want coworkers who are eager to participate in the action and can voice their ideas directly.

Ideally, I also want coworkers who are optimistic and empathetic. This helps promote a positive attitude throughout our work environment and builds a sense of belonging to the company.

4. How Can You Ensure Effective Communication With Your Coworkers?

Why This Question is Asked

Good communication among team members allows them to express ideas clearly, talk about responsibilities/expectations openly, and discuss deadlines honestly.

With this question, interviewers want to make sure you see the value of establishing effective communication and how you’d go about ensuring it.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

To provide a noteworthy answer, you should talk about the most important aspects of communication in your opinion and then discuss a strong strategy for implementing them.

A real-world example of how your tactics work would be the cherry on top.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t respond with some big words and fail to deliver an adequate explanation. Stating your communication tactics is only admirable if you show how they make a difference.

Example Answer

I believe that active listening and feedback are pillars of effective communication.

In my previous job, I adopted active listening techniques and managed to get my coworkers ‘X’ times more involved in our decision-making process.

I also scheduled monthly feedback sessions which significantly improved employee morale and performance.

5. What Sort of Work Culture Do You Perform Best In?

Why This Question is Asked

Every company stands behind a certain set of cultural values that they emphasize throughout their work environment.

The purpose of this question is to better reveal whether or not your professional values align with the company culture.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

For a memorable response, make sure you visit the company’s website before you go into the interview. You’re likely to find this sort of information on the “About” page.

From there, tailor your answer to give a similar message to that of the company’s cultural values.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t copy the company’s website word for word. You’re not there to answer on behalf of the company, so keep it personalized but incorporate an overlap of views.

Example Answer

I like working in a place where employees are heard and appreciated, both as workers and people. I thrive in a company culture that promotes communication and feedback with an emphasis on honesty and transparency.

I also love to feel part of a community. I read on your website that your company regularly plans group activities, so I’m very excited about experiencing that.

6. What Would You Do if You Got Stuck on a Task?

Why This Question is Asked

Peer interviewers almost always ask a question along these lines.

The goal is to see how you balance working individually versus working with others when it comes to solving problems.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your answer should reflect your ability to resolve issues on your own, but also your willingness to rely on others and ask for help for the best results.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Never say that you’ll work alone on the problem until you find a solution.

This only shows that you don’t know when help is beneficial, which is a trait of poor team players.

Example Answer

I always set a time limit for myself to resolve any issue. When I get stuck on a task for longer, I know that a fresh perspective can really make a difference so I turn to a colleague for consultation.

Usually, this ends up in them helping me find and correct the error quicker and with less effort.

7. How Would You Resolve a Conflict With a Coworker Without Escalating It to Your Supervisor?

Why This Question is Asked

There are multiple purposes for asking this question.

The interviewer uses it to evaluate your communication and conflict management skills, as well as get a sense of how long it takes you to involve management if there’s a problem.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

An ideal response here shows your determination to settle matters without turning to authority, as well as your desire for preventing similar conflicts from happening again in the future.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t say that you prefer a “professional” approach where management handles all and every conflict.

This only proves your unwillingness/inability to communicate and compromise with teammates.

Example Answer

First, I’d ask my coworker for a private, face-to-face talk so we can both address what’s bothering us and acknowledge our wrong-doings.

Then, I’d stress my wanting to work through the issue together and invite them to make suggestions about how I can prevent this situation from repeating later on.

8. What Would You Do if a Coworker Asked For Your Help While You Were Busy?

Why This Question is Asked

The interviewer wants to see if you know that questions/requests for help are bound to pop up within team projects and gauge your dependability when the need for helping others arises.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your response must convey that you’ll always lend a hand and that you can put the needs of teammates before your own.

The answer should highlight your flexibility, patience, and ability to prioritize.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Responses along the line of “I’ll help whenever I’m done with my own work” aren’t ideal. It shows hints of a lack of empathy and indifference toward others’ problems.

It’s better to say you’ll assess the urgency of the situation to see if immediate aid is required or if it can wait until you reach a logical stopping point.

Example Answer

I believe that one of my responsibilities within the team is to support my teammates. So unless they come to me with an urgent problem that needs my immediate attention, I’d get to a pause point with my current work and then help them until they’re back on track.

9. How Would Change in the Workplace Affect You?

Why This Question is Asked

Any workplace is subject to changes, be it in management, colleagues, or policies.

With this question, the interviewer is trying to evaluate how well you’d adapt to such shifts.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

In your response, be sure to highlight your flexibility and ability to embrace new situations.

Also, include an example of how you’d take an initiative to smoothly integrate the change into the workplace.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t say that you’ll just accept the change without adding some empathy to your answer.

Otherwise, you’ll only seem detached from the team.

Example Answer

I believe that change is always difficult, but I do my best to look at it as an opportunity for a new experience and always try to embrace it.

For example, my previous job had another department merge with my own, so I had some new teammates to work with.

I made a point to take them for coffee to get to know them and establish the same kind of relationship I shared with my older coworkers.” 

10. How Would You React if Your Coworker Is Upset or Disengaged?

Why This Question is Asked

With this question, the interviewer wants to determine your level of empathy and make sure you can help get the ball rolling again if a coworker is facing an issue.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Provide an example of how you’d handle the situation using proactive support strategies.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t say “I won’t get involved because their issue may be personal.”

You’re basically saying you won’t even try to help.

Example Answer

I’d ask them to go for a coffee during lunch break or after work but tell them they don’t have to talk about the issue if they’re not comfortable enough.

I’d let them know I got their back and am happy to help any way I could.

Other Common Interview Questions You Could Be Asked

Peer interview questions may not be exclusive to inquiries regarding your teamwork performance and skills like the ones discussed above.

Here are some popular questions interviewers like to ask.

1. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?

Why This Question is Asked

The point of this question is for the interviewer to understand how you go about organizing your daily assignments as well as evaluate your ability to juggle various tasks, manage time, and meet deadlines.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

To formulate an impressive answer, focus on describing your workday schedule and explaining the strategies that help you manage your daily workload.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Try to refrain from painting an unrealistic picture of your workday.

Saying you’ll work as long as it takes to complete your daily tasks is an exaggeration that’ll put you in a sticky situation.

Not to mention, the interviewer will call your bluff.

Example Answer

Once I arrive at work, I start by creating a to-do list for the day, prioritizing the tasks with sooner due dates.

This way, I end up with an organized system for managing my assignments and establishing a smooth workflow that boosts my use of time.

2. How Well Do You Work Under Stress?

Why This Question is Asked

Most fields nowadays involve some sort of working under pressure.

This question may come up in a peer interview question to evaluate your tendency to stay calm and think clearly throughout stressful situations.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

If you’re naturally good at handling stress, say so, and be sure to highlight your ability to use logic to solve problems under pressure.

If not, emphasize that you’re aware of this fact and actively working on improving it.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

First and foremost, you should avoid lying in this aspect. If you’re not good at managing stress, that’s okay to admit.

However, don’t complain about having to work under pressure.

Example Answer

I believe I do a great job of handling stress and working under pressure. I’m usually able to remain calm and collected for the sake of the work and to help my coworkers cope with the stress as well.

3. What Makes You Unique?

Why This Question is Asked

This question is meant to test your ability to self-assess on the spot. It also gives the interviewer insight into how you fit the role better than other candidates.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

This is a chance for you to highlight certain traits and skills that are part of the job description.

Your answer should be compelling and reflective of what you can do. Show how your unique abilities can contribute to the company’s success.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t mention strange habits or odd hobbies. This question is about what makes you unique professionally.

Also, stay away from “I’m a hard worker” and other generic answers like that.

Example Answer

I’m a people person and have always found it’s easy for me to relate to others and work in team settings.

4. Why Do You Want This Job?

Why This Question is Asked

With this question, the interviewer is trying to see how much you know about the position and the company.

They also want to learn more about how the job fits your career path and how it’ll help you develop.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your response should show your enthusiasm about the positions and about joining the company.

It should also focus on the job itself and how your skills/passion align with it.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t talk about the money, whether saying you need it or it’s better than your previous job.

This comes off as materialistic and makes you seem like you’re only here for a paycheck.

Also, don’t simply state that you’re qualified. It’s more than likely that the other candidates are also qualified.

You need to prove that you can add value to the company.

Example Answer

I want this job because I enjoy [specific task(s)]. I believe I have the skills to help me achieve impressive results and this position gives me room to get even better.

5. What Are You Passionate About?

Why This Question is Asked

The interviewer wants candidates who are excited about life and work; those who bring uplifting energy and have interests that match the type of job they’re hiring you for.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Your response should add to your value as an employee, so pick topics/aspects that both interest you and tie back to the position at hand.

This can be the field itself (software, medicine, fashion, etc.) or a skill that helps you do the job (interacting with people, a time-oriented sport, and so on)

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

Don’t mention many things that you’re “passionate” about, otherwise, you’re devaluing the concept of passion.

Keep it simple with a single area of interest.

Example Answer

One area that I’m passionate about is self-development, both in my personal and professional life. I love learning new things, whether a new recipe or a new computer skill!”

Additional Tips for Peer Interviews

To ensure that you come up with great answers, keep in mind the following tips for landing a great interview.

How Do You Prepare for a Peer  Interview?

Practicing common peer interview questions along with familiarizing yourself with proper interview etiquette is crucial for a successful interview.

Additionally, don’t forget to research the company and its cultural values.

What Should You Wear to a Peer Interview?

Proper attire for interviews typically involves a smart casual or semi-formal outfit with simple patterns and neutral colors.

Avoid wearing anything too flashy, unkempt, or casual.

How Should You Introduce Yourself In a Peer Interview?

Introduce yourself using your name while standing up, maintaining eye contact, and offering a polite smile.

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

A peer interview isn’t just for them to get to know you, but also for you to learn more about your coworkers and the work environment.

1. Can You Tell Me the Most Challenging Part of this Position?

This question helps you build a realistic expectation of the job and prepare for the worst possible scenario.

It also gives you insight into aspects that employees in the company find hard to manage.

2. Does the Company Support You in Development?

If you’re worried about employee development, ask about that.

This also shows you’re looking for opportunities to grow professionally.

3. Will We Be Working Together Directly?

This establishes a base for familiarity later on and shows you’re already excited to work together as a team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you go into your next interview, wrap up your preparation process by looking at the following questions for additional details.

How Do You Know a Peer Interview Went Well?

If the interview felt more like a conversation between colleagues, lasted a bit longer than expected, and included a thorough description of your role’s responsibilities, then it probably was a success.

What is the Disadvantage of Peer Interviews?

The biggest disadvantage is that the interviewer might feel threatened as an employee by the potential new hire, so they end up making a hiring decision based on their insecurity.

Wrapping Up

Coming up with answers to peer interview questions on the spot can be overwhelming.

But you can expect many of the 10 questions we discussed today to pop up across different companies.

Preparation is key to acing peer interviews, so be sure to go through each question so you can understand the most important points to cover in your responses.

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