Being prepared for the most common peer interview questions is essential if you want to leave a great impression. Peer interviews are unfamiliar to many job-seekers, so it’s important to do what you can to be confident and ready!
This list of peer interview questions will help you ace this interview and increase your chance of getting a job offer.
1. What appeals to you about working at this company?
The goal of this peer interview question is multipurpose. On the one hand, it can provide more insight into why you chose to apply for a job at this company over a competitor. But more importantly, it gauges your understanding of the organization, its operations, and more.
It always pays to do your due diligence and learn as much about a company as possible. In a peer interview, the best way to respond is to lean on company culture. Focus on aspects of the work environment you’re most excited about being a part of if hired.
2. How do you make sure you’re communicating effectively with your coworkers?
Communication is a big deal in any work environment. If you’re doing a peer interview, you can assume that it’s even more crucial at the organization you’re trying to get a job at.
To provide a memorable response, talk about what you do to ensure that you adopt high-quality communication practices. For example, you might go to great lengths to clarify misunderstandings, use active listening techniques, etc.
Don’t just list off a few buzzwords. Provide real-world examples and show everyone how those tactics make a difference.
3. What would your previous coworkers say is your best trait?
Here’s a peer interview question that comes up quite often. The person you’re speaking with will likely interact with you daily if hired. They want to know what you’re like in a real-world setting outside of a structured interview.
Think back about your relationship with your coworkers and discuss some of your interactions. Be honest and think hard about this response.
A question like this also highlights your self-awareness. It’s better to be honest, so look inward and try to respond truthfully while keeping your answer flattering.
4. Why are you searching for a new job?
Queries about your motivations and why you’re looking for a job always come up. This question often comes from hiring managers, but you may hear it from peers as well.
Of course, honesty is the best policy. You don’t have to get into personal details or go in-depth about why you’re changing jobs. But it would be best if you didn’t lie or skirt the truth.
It’s important to avoid bad-mouthing your previous company, managers, or colleagues in your answer. Doing so will only come back to bite you, making you look like a less-than-ideal team player.
5. Do you like working by yourself or in a team?
This peer interview question is all about culture fit! The entire point of a peer interview is to ensure that you’ll integrate seamlessly into the existing team. But companies usually provide opportunities to work both independently and collaboratively.
Try not to lean too heavily toward one side unless you know that the organization clearly prefers one particular way. Explain your preference and provide real-world examples. If the company prefers both work styles, form your answer to make it clear that you’re not opposed to either style.
6. How do you deal with failure?
Here’s a heavy question that’s often used during a peer interview. It seems simple, but how you respond says a lot about who you are and what type of person you’ll be in the office.
No one likes to deal with coworkers who break down when things don’t go their way. This question aims to ensure that you can keep things together, improve, and move on.
Provide real-world examples of past failures. Talk about what you did to keep moving and how you addressed the situation. Then, discuss what you learned from it and how you avoided repeats.
7. What traits does a good coworker have?
This is one of the more common peer interview questions. It’s a good summation of what this interview strategy unveils. It’s about detailing your preferred work environment and the types of personalities you can mesh with best.
Work culture is a big deal, and your response to this question can provide insight into how you fit into the existing work environment.
Instead of providing a laundry list of personality traits, go into detail about why you like them. Talk about how those personality traits help you thrive and the difference they make to your success.
The dreaded “Tell us about yourself” question! You’ll probably hear this one a few times throughout the hiring process, so it’s a good idea to think long and hard about your response. In most cases, this peer interview question is an ice-breaker that opens the doors of communication.
Think of your response as an elevator pitch. In about 60 seconds, you can clearly explain why you deserve a job offer. Highlight recent work accomplishments, qualifications, and other details the hiring manager might not see on your resume.
Your motivations might be primarily monetary, but that’s not what you should talk about when responding to this question! Companies want people who work for more than money. Showing a true passion for the job indicates that you’ll work hard and have natural motivations to succeed.
Create an answer that focuses on the aspects of the job you like most. For example, you could touch on your love of challenges, the perks of working as part of a team, or the joys of contributing to your industry.
10. What was your role at your previous job?
During a peer interview, questions about your previous job will arise. The goal of your answer shouldn’t be to go over your overarching role. It’s about telling the interviewer about your day-to-day and what role you played as part of your team.
Be prepared to share finer details about what a typical workday looks like at your old job. You can discuss your part in the team, talk about who you reported to, how you collaborated, and other relevant details a future colleague might want to hear.
11. How do you manage conflict with other coworkers?
Conflicts are bound to happen in the workplace, and how you respond to those issues makes a big difference. A question like this tells the peer interviewer two things. First, it highlights your conflict management skills.
Good conflict management is critical to smooth collaborative work. Without it, problems can arise frequently, and drama can ensue.
The second point of this question is to highlight how quickly you handle the conflict before going to a supervisor. Involving management in simple workplace spats is unnecessary, and interviewers want to know that you put in the work to resolve issues before escalating the matter to higher-ups.
12. What are your teamwork skills?
If you hear a question about teamwork in a peer interview, you can assume that collaborative projects are a big part of how this organization does things. The goal is to see how well you work as part of a team.
Not everyone enjoys collaborative work, and some people don’t have the skills to be a part of a successful team.
When responding, the best thing you can do is highlight how vital teamwork is to you. Talk about past projects and emphasize your desire to be part of an efficient team.
13. How do you handle stress at work?
Even in relaxed work environments, stress can arise. It’s a part of the job; you must know how to manage stress levels to stay healthy and productive.
That’s what this peer interview question unveils. It tells the interviewer how you cope and provides them with peace of mind that you don’t let it affect any other aspect of the job. No one enjoys working with people who bring down the entire office.
Try talking about your coping techniques, and don’t hesitate to bring up real-world examples as proof.
14. Can you share the most challenging moment of your career and how you got through it?
Everyone has a workplace disaster story that is etched into their memory. These situations stick out not only because they are tough, but because they teach us valuable lessons. Now is your opportunity to talk about it.
The interviewer wants to know how you handle tough situations. Challenges occur all the time. Are you the one who rises to the occasion or the one who retreats and fails?
Discuss a real-life situation that occurred in your past. Talk about how you overcame the challenge and what lessons you learned.
15. What is your ideal role in a team?
When you hear this peer interview question, please take it as a deep dive into what role you would fit into best. In a team environment, everyone has unique duties and functions. Some are leaders, while others are busy workers.
Where do you fit into the equation?
During your response, bring up the roles you prefer to play and how they can be beneficial. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a leader or follower. You could say that you’re a problem-solver, conflict remediator, etc.
Lean on why it’s crucial to the bigger picture and why you fit into that role effortlessly.
16. How do you handle a coworker asking for help when you’re busy?
Working as part of a collaborative team means going to other people for help. You should expect others to come to you and vice versa, but there will be moments when you’re just too busy to lend a helping hand.
Interviewers want to know you’re a team player. Usually, the best response is that you’ll find time to help. But it would help if you thought logically about how you do that.
For example, you might talk about how you prioritize what’s most important, wait for a practical pausing point in your own work, or assess the urgency of the coworker’s request. Those responses show that you know how to prioritize and stay organized.
17. What makes you a great coworker?
In a peer interviewer, the person you’re conversing with is trying to get a better picture of what it’s like working with you. They will interact with you daily, so they want to know that you’ll fit into the environment without issues.
Your answer can help paint that picture, giving them the tools to decide if you’re someone they can work with daily.
Lean on the characteristics that make you a good coworker. Talk about the traits that people like, such as reliability, trustworthiness, etc. Think about what type of person people want to be around and think about how your personality traits connect.
18. How do you deal with change in the workplace?
Change is a natural part of the job. You may work several months on one project before the organization restructures and you work on something else. It’s pretty standard, and your work environment now might not be the same next year.
How you respond to change is important. Can you adapt?
When forming your answer, the goal is to show that you have the flexibility to adapt on the fly. No matter how the work environment evolves, you’re ready to take the challenge and maintain high levels of work efficiency.
19. What is your ideal company culture?
The point of this peer interview question is obvious. Interviewers want to know that you would enjoy and thrive in the work environment of the organization you’re applying to.
Every workplace is different, and every employee has unique needs and preferences. Finding the perfect fit is about getting people who can easily fit into the work culture. It doesn’t matter if you’re highly qualified.
If you prefer a strict environment, you won’t do well in an open and loud office where everyone’s having fun.
Do your research beforehand. While you should remain truthful in your preferences, you can learn more about this company’s culture and use the information to mold your answer.
20. What do you do for fun?
Here’s a good peer interview question that sometimes comes out of left field. The good news is that it’s hard to get wrong.
This question aims to break the ice and learn more about you beyond your resume and qualifications. It’s your chance to show off your personality and cement your status as a good company culture fit.
There aren’t a whole lot of tips to remember when answering this question. Simply provide some detail about a couple of activities you enjoy, be passionate, and talk about what you love!
21. What work environment do you thrive in?
This peer interview question is similar to the one we included about company culture. However, it has more to do with the physical environment and workplace vibes.
Again, it’s all about ensuring you’re the right match. Some people prefer to work in quiet, private offices. Throwing those people into a lively startup’s fast-paced and rowdy environment might not be the best course of action.
Talk about what you prefer. If possible, link it back to what the organization offers. Cementing the connection could help land you a job offer!
Here’s a commonly asked peer interview question where the interviewer might toss things back on you.
It’s always a good idea to come up with one or two questions to ask. It leaves a good impression and shows that you care about this opportunity. Think about what you want to know.
You’re talking to a potential future colleague. They can provide insight into what it’s like working for the organization and will often be more honest than hiring managers.
Consider asking about their personal experience with the company, what skills or attributes they think are critical to success in the role, and any other advice they might have.
23. How did you find out about this position?
This is another fairly standard interview question that’s surprisingly more insightful than it comes off. How you respond shows how serious you are about this particular job and that it means something to you. Think back and lock it away in your memory. It’s better than saying, “I don’t remember.”
If you struggle answering this question, it’s an obvious indication that you’re likely applying for many jobs. While that’s quite normal and nothing to be ashamed of, it won’t help you give an impressive answer.
What is a Peer Interview?
Peer interviews are a unique part of the hiring process. Despite what many people think, these meetings are not the same as panel-style or group interviews. Instead, they’re usually one-on-one, as you’d expect from a traditional hiring process.
But instead of meeting with a hiring manager or human resources specialist, you have a conversation with an existing employee at the company. Usually, they hold a similar position to the one you’re trying to get or are part of the team you’ll work with if hired.
The goal of peer interviews is to ensure a good cultural fit. While unorthodox, these interviews can be less stressful and provide better insight into what it’s like to work for the organization. They’re becoming increasingly common as more companies lean on the importance of the work environment and corporate culture.
If you’re preparing for a peer interview, this list of questions will help make the process easy. While it can seem a bit strange at first, peer interviews are a fantastic opportunity to make a great impression.
Practice answering these questions and you’ll be ready to go!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.