15 Common Peer Interview Questions (Examples Included)

By Mike Simpson

During a job search, most candidates prepare to interview with hiring managers. The thing is, peer interviews are incredibly common, and you can’t rely on the same strategy during these meetings. Why? Because peer interview questions don’t reflect the same priorities as those asked by hiring managers.

In a peer interview, you’re not meeting with a hiring manager. Instead, it’s an employee. And since that person is in the trenches with you, what matters to them is different.

Fortunately, getting ready to answer peer interview questions isn’t challenging. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Peer Interview?

Alright, before we hop into the common peer interview questions, let’s talk about what peer interviews are and how they work.

As mentioned above, peer interviews (not to be confused with a panel interview or group interview) aren’t conducted by hiring managers. Instead, you’re meeting with another employee, usually one that holds either the same or a similar position as the one you’re after or is at least on the team you’d join if hired.

Now, a peer interviewer might want to make sure that you have the right knowledge to handle the role. However, making sure you’ll fit into the team and company culture is a much bigger priority. Remember, they’re working with you directly, so they’re going to focus on your personality, work ethic, and mindset much more.

And managers care what peer interviewers have to say about that. Culture fit has a positive impact on success. Since finding candidates that fit into a company’s culture is very important in the eyes of 90 percent of employers, it shouldn’t be a surprise that peer interviews are increasingly common.

But that doesn’t mean peer interviews don’t work in your favor, too. You get to speak with an employee who’s on a similar level, which can make it less intimidating. Plus, it’ll make it easier to decide if the team culture is the right fit for you. After all, you’re getting to engage with a potential colleague first-hand, giving you insights into their personality and how they view the culture. That’s a big deal.

Are there potential drawbacks? Sure, there are. Peer interviewers might not be as comfortable meeting with candidates as a manager, so they may struggle to stay on target or participate in the conversations. Additionally, they may not know or learn as much about your technical capabilities before or during the meeting, so your credentials might not help you shine here.

Still, the pros usually outweigh the cons. Plus, if it’s part of the interview process, it’s not like the meeting is optional. Instead, you’ll just want to prepare by learning about common peer interview questions, ensuring you’re ready for this somewhat unique experience.

Common Peer Interview Mistakes

As with all kinds of interviews, missteps can happen during meetings with peers. Luckily, by finding out about common peer interview mistakes, you can avoid most of them with ease.

One of the biggest is being too casual. Yes, the interviewer is a peer, but that doesn’t mean you should treat them like a long-time friend. Instead, remain professional and poised, ensuring you make a great first impression.

Second, while you can definitely discuss your achievements during a peer interview, you need to keep your tone in check. Make sure you aren’t being overly competitive with the interviewer. Similarly, avoid being too comparative. It isn’t about showing them up; it’s about showcasing why you’re a great addition to the team, so keep that in mind.

15 Peer Interview Questions

Here are 15 peer interview questions you may encounter, as well as some insights regarding why they’re popular and how to nail them.

1. Can you tell me about yourself?

This classic icebreaker question is almost guaranteed to come up during the peer interview. For one, it lets the interviewer get some insights into what you bring to the table and how you present yourself. For another, there’s a chance that the hiring manager only gave them the basics when it came to your capabilities.

Usually, a solid elevator-pitch-style response should be your go-to. Focus on your professional life, but let your personality shine through.

2. Why do you think you’re a great coworker?

With this question, the peer interviewer wants to find out about how you engage with teammates and how you view your traits. It lets them envision how you may fit in among the other personalities, helping them decide if you’re a solid fit.

Ultimately, you want to focus on characteristics that showcase you as a capable coworker. Accountability and reliability are good traits to share, as well as anything that shows you are a team player who’s also capable of handling their fair share of the work independently.

3. What do you look for in a coworker?

When it comes to gauging culture fit, this is one of the most common peer interview questions you’ll encounter. It lets the interviewer find out about your preferred working environment, specifically when it comes to the personalities, traits, and capabilities of team members.

Don’t just offer a laundry list of traits. Instead, talk about how various characteristics help you thrive and how what you bring to the table supports different kinds of personalities. That way, it makes it easier to see how you could fit into the equation.

4. How would you describe your teamwork skills?

Since your teamwork skills directly impact your coworkers, this peer interview question almost always makes an appearance. Make sure you provide a clear example that supports anything you share. That way, you’re showing the interview that you excel when it comes to teamwork and not just telling them.

5. Describe the most challenging teamwork situation you’ve encountered during your career.

With this prompt, the interviewer learns about a time when working as part of a team was challenging. The goal is to find out what occurred, as well as how you navigate these kinds of difficulties. Ideally, you want to share an example where your skills helped you achieve a positive outcome even when things went awry.

6. How do you ensure good communication with your coworkers?

High-quality communication is essential if a team is going to excel. As a result, your peer interview may want to ensure you have a strong strategy in place.

As with most interview questions, you want to provide clear examples that highlight how you ensure your communication is top-notch. For instance, don’t just say you use active listening; highlight a situation where your active listening skills made a difference.

7. What role do you perform in a team environment?

Teams usually have people who perform certain roles within the group. For example, some members may be leaders, while others are followers or mediators. A solid team usually has a mix of personalities, so any position is potentially valuable. It’s also normal for people to shift between roles depending on the circumstances.

Outline the role you usually fill, providing an example to show how it’s beneficial. If you shift positions depending on the situation, you can discuss that as well, ensuring the interviewer knows how you adapt to various circumstances.

8. How do you navigate disagreements with team members?

This question is trying to assess two points. First, the interviewer wants to learn about your conflict management skills. Second, they’re trying to figure out how quickly you turn to management if there’s an issue.

In your answer, make it clear that you try to settle things without turning to a supervisor first. Then, share an example where you took that route.

9. If a coworker was disengaged, how would you motivate them?

Engagement isn’t just the concern of a manager; teammates worry about it, too. Knowing that you can help motivate others is a priority for many peer interviewers, giving them peace of mind that you’ll be part of the solution if an issue arises.

Discuss an example where you helped a coworker overcome a mental or emotional hurdle and ensured they got back on track. Whether they were fully disengaged or simply on their way doesn’t matter as much as the strategies you used to assist, so make that the focus.

10. What would your last team say is your best quality? What about your worst?

Here, the peer interviewer is trying to determine how others view you. Their goal is to find out what they can potentially look forward to, as well as possible challenges.

This question is a bit tricky, as you have to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Additionally, you have to discuss a positive and a negative, making it harder.

Only provide traits that your past colleagues would back up, particularly if you listed any of them as a reference. Additionally, when you discuss your worst quality, make sure to pivot. Talk about how you’re actively working to overcome the issue and turn a weakness into a strength. That way, you’re demonstrating a willingness to learn and grow and your desire to become a better team member.

11. How do you adapt to changing priorities or targets?

Many projects morph as they move forward. With this peer interview question, the interviewer wants to know how you’ll adapt when changes are inevitably required.

Acknowledge that change is always part of the equation, showing that you’re not afraid of it. Then, provide an example that shows how you’ve navigated changes successfully in the past.

12. If a coworker asked for your help while you were busy, how would you respond?

Team members want to know you’re there to help when the need arises. That’s why the peer interview is practically guaranteed to ask this question.

In most cases, your best bet is always to say you’ll lend a hand. However, it’s okay to state that you’d assess whether the situation is urgent first, requiring your immediate assistance, or if you can get to a logical pause point with your own task before providing support. That way, it shows that you understand the importance of prioritization while still ensuring you’ll lend a hand when needed.

13. Do you prefer working independently or collaboratively?

This question is a favorite for assessing culture fit. It lets the peer interviewer know if your preference works in their environment.

While most people are comfortable with a bit of both, explain when you prefer one option over the other, providing examples to support your answer. That way, the interviewer sees how you adjust to various situations or how you work best.

14. How do you handle failure?

The interviewer wants to know that if something goes wrong, you won’t be hard to manage. That matters with team projects. If you fall apart, it makes things harder on your coworkers, so the interview wants to make sure that bringing you onboard doesn’t come with an unexpected challenge.

Again, you’ll want to share an example. Discuss a failure and how you overcame it, highlighting strategies that ensure you grow from the experience and move forward efficiently.

15. Why do you want to work here?

This question lets the peer interviewer learn more about your motivations. In most cases, they’re hoping that aspects of the company’s mission, values, or culture are what encouraged you to apply, so make sure to highlight that if that’s the case.

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Peer Interview

At the end of your peer interview, you’ll usually get a chance to ask some questions, too. It’s a big opportunity to learn more about the team and company cultures, so take advantage of the moment by having a few options in your back pocket.

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are five good questions to ask at the end of a peer interview:

    1. How long have you been a part of this team, and why do you choose to stay?
    2. What’s your favorite thing about working here? What about your least favorite?
    3. Is there something the team is missing that you hope the new hire can bring to the table?
    4. What does the company do to support the team’s professional development?
    5. Can you tell me about the last person who held this position? Why did they leave, and what skills or traits helped them flourish in the role or held them back?

Putting It All Together

In the end, peer interviews aren’t wholly unlike any other interview. Just make sure you review the common peer interview questions above to get ready. That way, you’ll be able to show yourself in the best light.

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.