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So, you’re interviewing for that great new job. You got past the initial HR review, and now you’re scheduled for the dreaded peer interview. What are peer interview questions? How should you answer them? Our guide features expert tips and example questions along with answers to help you prepare a response.
Congratulations! Securing a peer interview means that you’ve passed the first stage of the hiring process and made a great first impression. But, now what do you do? You have to prepare for a peer interview just like you would for any job interview.
Peer interviews are conducted by your potential coworkers or colleagues, so while you may receive a few typical job interview questions, the majority will be focused on teamwork and workplace interactions. Knowing what questions to expect is half the battle. You also have to know how to answer the questions in a way that will make you stand out to your potential peers.
In this article, we’ll explore:
How to prepare for a peer interview
12 peer interview questions with example answers
Questions to ask at a peer interview
The interview process is getting longer, so it’s vital to be prepared! Experts noted a significant rise in the number of job seekers experiencing an extended interview process. Average time-to-hire rates increased across all industries at the start of 2023 to an average of 44 days.
In the same way you prepare your resume for each job opportunity, you need to do your research and gather as much information about the role, team, and organization as you can. Studying the company website, online platforms, and tapping into your network should give you vital information.
Use all the information you’ve gathered to craft answers to the most common peer interview questions. Even if you’re asked different questions, many of the answers you’ve prepared will apply. You might need to ad-lib, but you will be far better off than if you go into the interview with little or no preparation.
Treat the peer interviewers with equal importance as the hiring manager. While this may feel like a casual interview, it’s a critical step in the hiring process. Your potential coworkers will be respected, trusted members of the hiring manager’s team, so focus on building rapport as their opinions will carry significant weight.
When you’re answering peer interview questions, it’s important to show that you have the knowledge for the role and that you’re the best fit for the team and company culture. Here’s 12 examples of peer interview questions you may encounter, and some sample answers:
This is one of those ubiquitous questions that almost every interviewer asks. Your potential peers may only have been given the basics on your capabilities from the hiring manager, so this gives them the chance to learn more about you. Focus on communicating your skills that align with the job, while allowing your personality to shine through.
"I've worked in tech support for five years, initially helping to reconfigure laptops for the sales and marketing departments, but eventually moving into the server engineering team. I love technology. In my last job, I created an automated provisioning process that involved working with intricate operating systems and applications to successfully streamline workflow. I'm looking to move into a role where I can sink my teeth into more detail-oriented work like that, which is why I was so thrilled to see the opening for this role.”
When preparing your answer, remember to stay positive. No matter how bad your previous (or current) job was, don’t criticize your former employer or coworkers. This will make a very bad impression. Instead, talk about your need for change and career progression.
“I’ve been in my current role for over five years now, and I feel I’m ready for new challenges. My knowledge and skills have reached a plateau with my employer and role, so I feel the time is right to move up in my career. Your company caught my attention because of your commitment to cutting edge technology and innovation, as well as your dedication to empowering employees to excel.”
Dealing with conflict is inevitable in any job. A potential colleague is looking for a response that shows you can deal with issues in a cool, professional, and logical manner.
“I always respect different opinions and value constructive feedback. If I’m at fault, I would immediately apologize and seek to rectify the situation. If I feel in conflict with a colleague, then I will talk to them privately and face-to-face. I would express my desire to resolve any issues and seek their advice on how to avoid future conflicts.”
Problem solving is an important skill, but so is being able to ask for help. By asking this question, your interviewer is trying to find out how you use teamwork to resolve problems and collaborate with others.
“If I’m unable to research and solve the problem myself, then my first choice is to reach out to my colleagues to see if they have encountered the issue before. This method has been able to solve the majority of problems. It’s also a great way to build positive relationships with teammates and learn better methods to approach and resolve issues.”
Your peer interviewers will assess whether you’ll be a good fit for their team and company culture. Use your research to find aspects of company values and culture that resonate with you, and include this into your answer (but don’t lie).
“I value a culture that encourages employees to learn and where they are free to openly express their ideas. I feel people thrive and grow the most in a culture that is flexible and allows people to freely communicate across all departments and levels.”
The good news about this question is that there really are no wrong answers. Obviously, you don’t want to bring up anything that is blatantly objectionable. On the other hand, use examples that are somewhat interesting or unique.
“In my free time, I like to play team sports, write my tech blog, and develop new computer applications. My love for coding is one of the main motivations that made me apply to Company Name. I really want to work in a field that closely matches one of my favorite activities.”
Team members will want to know that you have their back, so the best option is to always say that you’ll help your coworker if needed. You can also mention that you’d assess the situation first and factor in your own workload so you can prioritize wisely.
“Helping team members is very important to me. I’ll always do whatever I can to make the team successful. If I can assist a colleague that needs help or show them how to get their task done, then I will. I’d also assess the situation and wisely prioritize to ensure that I don’t miss any of my own critical deadlines.”
When answering this question, the best strategy is to pick a skill you’re not only good at, but one that aligns with the job description and demonstrates that you’re a strong team player.
“I’m a strong communicator. I think this is a skill you need to be effective in a team environment. It’s important to communicate clearly and concisely, actively listen, and provide, as well as receive, feedback in order to work collaboratively.”
This question is trying to determine your flexibility, adaptability, and handling of stress. Construct your answer to show how you deal with unforeseen circumstances. Think of an example where you had to deal with a specific change in your workplace as this will present an authentic answer.
“Dealing with change is always challenging. I view change as an opportunity and I’m always ready to address things quickly. For example, recently a client abruptly made a requirement change on a development project I was leading. I immediately convened a meeting with my team to inform them of the change and we brainstormed to successfully minimize the impact to deliverables and schedules.”
This is a common peer interview question, where the interviewer is looking to find out whether you’re a leader, follower, or mediator. Great teams have a blend of these personalities, so if you shift between these roles, then that’s fine too.
“I’d say I was a blend of a leader and a mediator in a team setting. I’m not afraid to take the lead on projects which lean into my areas of expertise, such as E-commerce. I’m also good at mediating. On a recent project, two team members disagreed on our distribution and fulfillment plan, so I facilitated a collaborative meeting where we worked through the areas of concern and agreed on a final solution.”
The answer to this question will tell the peer interviewer whether you’re a team player or a lone wolf. Obviously, this depends on the job opening too. For example, if you’re working in project management, then a major part of your role will involve collaboration. Conversely, if you’re a technical writer, you’ll be spending more time solo as you create written content.
“I’ve been recognised as a strong team player and team builder in my career to date. I think this is because I enjoy collaborating on projects in terms of sharing ideas and opinions as I feel this leads to achieving great things. I’m extremely self-motivated too, so I’m capable of staying focused and being productive if I need to work independently.”
Your peer interviewer wants to find out whether you have empathy and will support other team members. They are looking to hear about your caring side and team-focused approach.
“I always try to develop strong and supportive relationships with my team members. If I saw that someone was visibly upset, I’d offer to help and support them without being intrusive.”
Any good interviewer is going to give you the chance to ask questions at the end of an interview. Use this opportunity to make a good impression and gain valuable information about your potential new team and company.
The number of questions you can ask the hiring manager will very much depend on how long the interview lasts. Typically, you would aim to ask between three to five questions, but this could be more or less depending on the time the interviewer has available.
Here’s a few examples of questions you can ask your potential peers:
When did you join the company, and why did you stay?
What do you most enjoy about working here?
How does the company support the team’s professional development?
What advice would you give a new hire?
Where do you think the company is headed in the next few years?
If you’re looking for support for your next job interview, then check out Career.io’s Interview Preparation tool to ensure you’re fully prepared for your next career move.
Peer interviews involve your potential coworkers and colleagues taking on the role of interviewer, giving both parties the opportunity to see if you’ll work well together.
As with any interview, being prepared is key to success. Research the team, company culture, values, team activities posted on social media, and tap into your network to see if you have any mutual connections with the company.
The majority of questions you’ll receive will be focused on teamwork and workplace interactions, so factor this into your answers to peer interview questions.
Prepare some questions to ask your potential colleagues and coworkers, and view this as a great opportunity to build some relationships with your potential new team.
Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.