employees recruiting for collaboration skillsCandidates Who Know How to Collaborate with Others are in DEMAND!

As work becomes more complex and workers more diverse,  our clients have been asking us to find candidates who work well in a team setting.  As employers get more tuned into optimizing team rather than just individual performance, identifying candidates who know how to collaborate with others is fast becoming one of the most important talents a candidate can bring to the hiring table.


Here’s why…..

No wonder great collaborators are in such high demand!

For hiring managers looking to create or maintain a more collaborative work environment, the ability to assess where a job candidate lies on the “collaboration scale” is critically important to hiring success.

When evaluating a candidate based on their collaboration skills, we use a series of assumptions about what good collaborative behavior looks like and why some candidates are great at collaboration and others not so much.      

Assumption 1 – Good collaborators enjoy presenting their own ideas but they are also genuinely curious to learn more about the ideas of others.

“Think about a time when your team had a complex problem to solve and had a meeting to get everyone’s thoughts.  What did you like and dislike about that meeting?” 

Follow up with…

“How do you normally prepare for these kinds of meetings?

“How do you think you contribute best in these kinds of meetings?”

We look for a balanced approach to the collaborative process – the give and take of offering up ideas and listening to the ideas of others.

Assumption 2 – Good collaborators find ways to work with all kinds of people – even the difficult ones.

“Give me an example of a situation where you had to work with someone who you experienced as difficult.  Describe the person and what you did to work with them.”

Follow up with…

“Why was this person difficult for you?” 

“What did you change about your approach that seemed to work best with this person?” 

“What did you learn from this experience?” 

We look for candidates who have approached the “difficult to work with” co worker with an open, non judgemental attitude.  Did they spend time figuring out how they could change themselves to be more effective, or were they more interested in getting the other person to change? How successful were their efforts? What did they learn?

Assumption 3 – Good collaborators know how to adjust how they communicate to stay relevant to their listeners.”  

“Describe a situation where you thought you were communicating clearly, but you noticed people didn’t understand what you were saying. How did you fix that situation?”

Follow Up with..

“How did you know you weren’t getting through?”

“How successful were you in fixing the problem?”

“How often do you find yourself misunderstood?  Do you know why?”  

We look for signs that the candidate takes charge of the communication process and holds themselves responsible to make sure their messages are received as intended.  They notice and take corrective action when there are misunderstandings.  They know how to spot and fix disconnnects.

Assumption #4 – Good collaborators enjoy all kinds of conversations – even the difficult ones! 

“Describe the best team you have ever worked on and tell me what you think made them successful.”

Follow Up with…

“How often did they communicate with one another and in what ways?”

“What challenges did they have to overcome and how did they do that?”

We look for candidates who have personally experienced the link between great communications and great teamwork.   They show an appreciation for a team that is communicating well.

Assumption #5 – Great collaborators know when its time to talk, and when its time to take action! 

Describe a work situation where you thought there was actually too much communication and not enough results.  How did you react to that situation? ”  

Follow Up with…

“What did you do to try to influence that environment?  Did you try to change it or did you adjust to it?”

“What adjustments did you make and did those adjustments work for you?  Did they work for the team?”

We look for signs that a candidate has boundaries around when and how often they need to communicate.  We make sure that whatever boundaries they have set for themselves are in sync with the boundaries set by the team they are about to join.

The PACE team regularly uses these and other behavioral interview questions in our “fit finding” process – especially when  evaluating a candidate for environments where we know collaboration is an important component  of placement success.  If you’re a hiring manager who puts “collaborative” skills at the top of our selection list, give these questions a try.  We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy will be for you to see which candidates are and which candidates are not a good fit for how your team works together.    


PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 4 decades.

A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction and our ability to find and screen candidates for “fit”.

PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.

To learn more about how partnering with PACE will make a difference to how you find and hire employees,  contact our Partner Services and Solutions team at 425-637-3312, email us or visit our website

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