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Profile Garland Brewster

Garland Brewster

Top 9 peer interview questions: examples with answers!


Top 9 peer interview questions: examples with answers!

Artwork by: Tal Yavin

  • How do you prepare for a peer interview? 
  • 9 Sample peer interview questions and examples of answers
  • What questions should I ask at the end of a peer interview?
  • Key takeaways

So, you’re interviewing for that great new job. You got past the initial HR review, and now you are scheduled for the dreaded peer interview. What are peer interview questions? And how should I answer them? We’ll tell you!

Getting a peer interview means that you have at least passed the initial review step in the hiring process. Congratulations. But now what do you do? You have to prepare for a peer interview just like you would for any job interview. Research, document, and practice.

Peer interview questions are very similar to job interview questions, but they can be more varied and are often more focused on your 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 as the best candidate for the job.

This article will briefly cover the following:

  • How to prepare for a peer interview

  • Peer interview questions with example answers

  • What questions should I ask at the end of a peer interview?

  • Key Takeaways

How do you prepare for a peer interview? 

Just like when you are putting your resume or application together for a new job, you must do your research and gather as much information about the role and the organization as you can. Study the company website for information about the culture, focus, and strategies. 

Knowing what the job entails is obviously important, but also try and find out as much as you can about the staff, the people that you will be working with. This may be more difficult if your potential new colleagues are not executives in the company. You may need to search harder to find out more about them. If you know anyone at the company, then leverage them.

Use all the information you have gathered to craft answers to the most common peer interview questions. This will give you a good, solid inventory of responses to provide. Even if they ask you different questions, many of the things you have come up with for answers to the common questions will apply. You may have to ad-lib some, but you will be far better off than if you go into the interview without this level of preparation.

Statistical Insight

Some statistics about interviews:

How many candidates make it to the final interview? 3 (2% or less) candidates on average make it to the final interview

What are the chances of getting a job after the second interview? 25% to 50%

How many interviews does it take to get a job? Most recruiters say it takes an average of 3 interviews to get a job

What is the average interview length? 45 minutes. The average time it takes to hear back from an employer is five days.

Source: Zippia

9 Sample peer interview questions and examples of answers

1. Tell me about yourself

This is one of those ubiquitous questions that almost every interviewer will ask you. You’ll definitely need a prepared answer for this one. Keep it relatively short. Your answer should not take longer than a minute or two, at most. 

Focus on communicating your skills that most closely align with the job. This is where your research on the position is critical. You need to wow the interviewer with how you are a perfect fit for the role.

Example answer: "Certainly. I've worked in tech support for five years, initially helping to reconfigure laptop builds for the sales and marketing departments, but eventually moving into the server engineering team. I love working on technology. In my last job, I created an automated server provisioning process. I found problem-solving for the intricacies of operating systems and applications really rewarding. 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.”

2. Why did you apply for this position?

This is another question that is bound to come up in most interviews. Luckily, it is also easy to prepare for because there are so many good reasons, and most of them are good answers. The main thing to remember is to keep your answer positive. No matter how bad your previous (or current) job was, don’t criticize your former employer, boss, or coworkers. This will make a very bad impression. Instead, talk about your need for change and career progress.

Example answer: “I have been in my current role for over five years now, and I feel I am ready for new challenges. My knowledge and skills have reached a plateau with my employer and role. I am looking to move up in my career and the position at your company intrigued me and seems to be a perfect fit for my skill set and career goals.”

3. How do you deal with conflicts in the workplace?

Dealing with conflict is inevitable in any job. A potential employer is looking for a response that shows you can deal with issues in a cool, professional, and logical manner. They are measuring your interpersonal skills.

Example answer: “I always respect different opinions and value constructive feedback. If I am 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.”

4. What do you do when you encounter a problem that you cannot resolve yourself?

Problem-solving is an important skill. Employers not only seek people that know how to solve issues themselves, but they also want people who are able to leverage other resources (information and people) to get things done. This also indicates how you use teamwork to resolve problems and collaborate with others.

Example answer: “If I am 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 and know the answer. This method has been able to solve the majority of problems. It is also a great way to build positive relationships with teammates and learn better methods to approach and resolve issues.”

5. Peer interview question: describe the best type of work culture for you

This is a standard interview question used to assess your fit with the company’s corporate culture. HR and hiring managers always want to ensure you will be compatible with the company’s values and the current staff. Use your research to provide an answer that matches the organization, but don’t lie. Find aspects about the company that you can work into your answer.

Example answer: “I value a culture that encourages employees to learn and where they are free to openly express their ideas. It is very motivating to work in an environment that has diversity and people are not afraid to express their opinions. 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.”

6. What do you like to do outside of work?

This is another very common generic question that comes up in most interviews. The good news about this question is that there are really no wrong answers. Obviously, you do not want to bring up anything that is blatantly objectionable. On the other hand, try and use examples that are somewhat interesting or unique. 

Example answer: “In my free time, I like to read, play computer games, and develop new computer applications, mostly utilities. My love for coding is one of the main motivations that made me apply to a technology company like yours. I really want to work in a field that closely matches one of my favorite activities.”

7. How would you deal with a coworker that needs help, when you are very busy?

This question is used to gauge your teamwork and work prioritization. An interviewer will also be looking for your ability to empathize with your coworker and how you would handle coaching and mentoring. Always answer positively, but stress that you understand the priorities of your tasks.

Example answer: “Helping team members is very important to me. I will always do whatever I can to make the team successful, and that means making every single person on the team successful. If I can assist that colleague or show them how to get their task done, then I will. However, I would also ensure that it will not negatively impact my own work quality or cause me to miss deadlines. Collaboration is key to the success of any business or team.”

8. What do you think your best skill is and why?

This is another easy question because you can select just about any skill and not be wrong. However, you need to justify your choice up with the “why” part. It is a good strategy to pick a skill you are not only good at, but one that also matches the job description you are applying for.

Example answer: “I am a highly effective communicator. This is a key skill because to be the most productive in a team environment it is very important to be able to communicate clearly and listen actively. I am very empathic, which allows me to assess reactions and adjust my communications appropriately to best express thoughts and ideas. This also gives me the ability to avoid misunderstandings.”

9. How do you handle changes with projects, the company, or your team?

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 and use that.

Example answer: “Dealing with changes is always challenging. I approach any change as an opportunity. I try to get ahead of any changes as much as I possibly can, so I can prepare for them. In cases where the change is completely unplanned, I am always ready to address things quickly. For example, a client abruptly made a requirement change on a development project I was leading. I immediately convened a meeting with my team to let them know of the change and brainstorm on how we could minimize the impacts to deliverables and schedules.”

What questions should I ask at the end of a peer interview?

Any good hiring manager or interviewer is going to give you the chance to ask questions. This is usually at the end of the interview, but many people encourage questions throughout the interview. Don’t blow this opportunity to make a good impression and gain valuable information about your potential new job. 

You should always have several questions, based on your company research, ready. The interviewer may answer some of your preplanned questions as you are going through the interview. This is why is it good to have a list of several questions prepared. 

A few examples of questions that you could ask:

  • What do you most enjoy about the company and your team specifically?

  • How would you describe the company and team culture here?

  • What type of training is available? 

  • What advice would you give a new hire?

There are many different questions that can come up in a peer interview. These are just some of the more common questions. If you prepare answers for these and study them, you will be much better prepared to answer any other questions they may ask. For even more preparation, search for more types of questions, or think about your own experiences, and come up with questions yourself. The more questions and answers you study, the better.

Key takeaways

  1. Peer interviews can be stressful, but they don’t have to be, as long as you are well-prepared.

  2. Research the company and the new job role carefully. Craft your answers to best fit the job description and make yourself knowledgeable about the organization.

  3. Study example questions and come up with your best answers.

  4. Practice with a colleague, family member, or friend. Don’t just recite memorized answers. You do not want to come across as stiff or unfriendly.

  5. Be ready for anything. Your solid preparation and research will equip you for any questions that may come up.

Profile Garland Brewster

Garland Brewster

Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.

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