All About Recruiting for Collaboration Skills

All About Recruiting for Collaboration Skills

by Jeanne Knutzen | April 15, 2021

0 Author-Jeanne, Behavioral Interview Questions, Blog, Hiring.Best Practices, INFO AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS get connected

employees recruiting for collaboration skillsEmployees with great collaboration skills are in high demand. Recruiting for collaboration skills is more important than ever!

As work becomes more complex and workers more diverse, we’re frequently recruiting for collaboration skills and asked by our clients to find job candidates who have the ability to be good collaborators. The ability to collaborate is fast becoming one of the most important talents a candidate can bring to the hiring table. Employers are very tuned in to the value a strong collaborator can bring to a team’s performance – their productivity, their morale, their confidence to take on new challenges.

  • Good collaborators know when and how to engage with others in order to solve important business challenges.
  • They know when and what questions to ask to get the job done.
  • They know how to gather up the facts needed to better understand problems.
  • They find ways to create great working relationships along the way.

In short, great collaborators are being recognized as the members of the team who keep the entire team on top of their game. No wonder they are in such high demand!

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

When recruiting for collaboration skills, we use a series of behavioral interview questions to help our clients make that assessment based on certain assumptions about it means to be a good collaborator.    

Assumption 1 – Good collaborators enjoy presenting their own ideas while staying genuinely curious 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?”

When recruiting for collaboration skills, we look for a balanced approach to the collaborative process – the give and take of what it means to work with others with perspectives different than your own.  The ideal response for most work environment is to demonstrate balance – enough confidence to offer up your own ideas as well as listen 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?” 

When recruiting for collaboration skills, we look for how the candidate has approached the “difficult to work with” co worker challenge. 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 adjust how they communicate with others to make sure their message is relevant to their receiver.”

“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?”  

When recruiting for collaboration skills, we look for signs that the candidate holds themselves, not others,   accountable to fix a communication challenge by first noticing when others don’t understand something that has been said, and secondly looking for a remedy. How do they clarify communications? What techniques they did they use to fix communication challenges in the past?

Assumption #4 – Good collaborators enjoy conversations – even difficult conversations! 

“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?”

When recruiting for collaboration skills, we look at how the candidate descries a successful team environments and their assessment of how that team communicated with one another. How important do they view the communication process when things are going well?  not so well?

Assumption #5 – Good collaborators know the difference between talking and 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 information a candidate reveals about their reaction to a situation where collaboration was over used…and what they did about it.

The PACE team regularly uses these and other behavioral interview questions in our “fit finding” process – especially when  recruiting for collaboration skills for our clients specific work environments.  Give them a try……you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the range of answers you get and how easy it is to spot candidates who will or will not be 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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