How do you cooperate and communicate with a team to effectively work through a problem?

When you’re applying for a job, you must prepare yourself to answer different kinds of interview questions. Not only should you be able to discuss your skills and how they match with the job requirements, but you should also be able to discuss your work behavior and how you approach work situations. Teamwork skills and effective communication skills are essential in the workplace, and you can expect these questions during your interview.

Interviewers are interested in how you approach situations and how you handle challenging work situations. This specific question regards how you deal with teamwork situations and how you streamline processes. This is, for instance, a question that you can expect for managerial, coordinator, or project manager positions. However, interviewers can use this question, in general, to test your growth potential by hypothetically asking how you would handle situations.

In this article, we discuss why the interviewer is asking you about your effective communication skills and how you should answer them. Furthermore, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Why are interviewers interested in your teamwork and communication skills?

Being able to function within a team and clear communication skills are crucial in the workplace. Employers want to assess whether or not you possess these skills by asking you behavioral interview questions such as: ‘Can you tell me about a time you had to cooperate and communicate with a team to effectively work through a problem?’ The interviewer expects you to give an answer that includes a real-life work situation that you encountered in the past. The way you answer such questions give the interviewer more information about how you communicate and how you go about your work in common work situations. By asking you behavioral interview questions, the interviewer tries to assess your suitability for the job.

Effective communication and the ability to work together to get to a result are regarded as essential skills by employers. In the workplace, a lot of processes rely on sharing information with the right people. Therefore, strong communication skills are needed to deliver and understand the information in an accurate and quick way. Poor communication skills and not being able to work together can impact business processes in a negative way and can lead to misunderstandings, frustration between team members or coworkers, or even failures. As you can imagine, employers try to avoid such situations at all costs. This starts by hiring the right people for the job by asking them the right interview questions to assess their abilities and behavior in the workplace.

Tips for answering job interview question regarding team coordination and communication

Provide the interviewer with a concise and to-the-point answer in the form of a logically structured answer. Behavioral questions such as Can you tell me about a time you had to cooperate and communicate with a team to effectively work through a problem?’ require you to provide the interviewer with an example of work experience from the past. The best way to structure your answer is by using the STAR interview technique. STAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. By structuring your answer by the STAR method, you can provide logically structured answers that directly answer the behavioral question of the interviewer.

Below we break the STAR method down in steps to make sure you understand how it works.

Situation

Start your answer by telling the interviewer about a specific event, project, or challenge that you were facing in a situation.

Task

Next, explain what your tasks, assignments, and responsibilities were in that particular situation.

Action

After describing your task, describe the steps or procedures that you followed to address or rectify the situation that you were in.

Result

Finish your answer strong by telling the results that you got from the actions you took. You can also include what you learned from the situation. Always prepare to answer the question ‘What would you have done differently if you would encounter this situation again?’, which is commonly asked as a follow-up question by interviewers.

Sample answers to demonstrate effective communication

Effective communication example answer 1:

‘I genuinely believe that a team is made up of ‘us’ and not individual entities. Everyone has a different view, and as a team, I believe that every team member should be treated with equal opportunity to discuss their thoughts and speak their minds. Clear communication is, therefore, key to achieving success. If everyone on the team is aware of their strengths and responsibilities within a project, you get the best results. Everyone’s input holds value and should be considered when encountering challenging situations.

There’s always a possibility that differences in opinion occur, especially in challenging situations, but these are the moments where clear communication is key to avoid misunderstanding. Each member needs to respect each other’s view and work efficient and effective towards a solution.’

Effective communication example answer 2:

‘In my previous job as a project manager, my team and I were assigned an important project with a tight deadline. Just like every project, we started by making a plan of action in which we created a well-outlined plan for our brand’s next product launch event. All members on the team were assigned tasks and responsibilities. However, due to an unfortunate turn of events, two team members left our company just weeks before the deadline. The deadline was too close to start looking for new members to add the team, and the remaining members on the team were already under pressure due to the tight deadline.

We organized a brainstorm session with the team to discuss the situation. All members on the team were asked to pitch their ideas on how they thought we should approach and handle this situation. The idea behind this was to reach consensus on the way to go about it because we all understood what it meant working overtime and additional responsibilities for every one of us. By involving every team member in the decision process, getting everybody on the same page, and agreeing on the new plan of action, everybody would be more motivated to take on this challenge.

Every day we would start with a standup meeting in which each team member would discuss their tasks for the day and any challenges they were facing. This way, everybody would be up to date, and we could help each other out where and when needed. Even though it was an unexpected and difficult challenge, the team managed well and delivered everything within the deadline.’

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic