Checking if a candidates fits your team is important, apart from seeing their professional qualifications. However, sympathy is not enough if the candidate fails to effectively work together with your team. So, the earlier you find out whether they bring the necessary teamwork skills, the better! Today, I’d like to show you which questions to ask to properly assess their fit!
Through the biographical approach, or with help from the Critical Incident Technique, you can construct interview questions to assess certain aspects of expected behaviours in a team. Let me give an example of each.
In the biographical approach, you ask your candidate about past situations in which they have worked in a team (either in a work environment or during their studies).
For example: “Please describe a situation in which you worked in a team and the task was initially unclear. What did you do to help make sure all team members found a ‘common ground’?”
The aim of this question is to evaluate the aspect of goal clarity.
Critical Incident Technique
Here you will take situations, which are particularly critical in regards to the success of a team, as a basis for questions. This could be, for example, that a project is delayed because not all team members are keeping each other up to date.
Example question: “Imagine you are working on a team project for XY (eg. The development of a wooden screw) and have the feeling that the client’s requirements may have changed. How would you make sure you get the right information?”
The answer: “I don’t care, they would have already told me if something changed”, can in this case be rather suboptimal, whereas, “In the next project meeting I will ask whether there is an update from the client”, saves a lot of unnecessary work, without stepping on anyone’s toes.
I recommend my article on Critical Incident Technique for more info on these types of questions.
What about with virtual team members?
A particular challenge facing virtual teams is not only the physical, but also that of time. For example, if a project employee is in China, one in Brazil and another in Stuttgart. Here, along with teamwork skills, you need not only the classic team player, but someone with persistence and creativity, who can interact efficiently through alternative channels of communication. They must also be independent and trustworthy.
Recognise team players early on
You shouldn’t wait until time-consuming personal interviews to test your candidates on their teamwork skills, then find out they’re unsuitable. In preselection, you can already apply these types of questions, eg. In asynchronous video interviews.
Find out how this new interviewing method works by downloading our white paper on “video technology for recruitment” (it’s free).