How to Spot a Team Player: A guide for people that work with teams 


Team player skills  are important for a team’s success. It is a no brainer that it is also essential to find team members with such skills or develop them  as part of building and developing a team.

But how can you assess if someone has team player skills?

Team players can be identified by their behaviour when work together with others. You can also use targeted questions to reveal them also during the hiring process. Let us take a closer look at the most important aspects and questions that can help you to assess if someone has a team player skills. 

What is a Team Player? 

A team player is an individual who prioritises collective team goals over personal success. 

Team player: “a member of a group who tries to do what is good for the group rather than what is good for just himself or herself” 

Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary 

Team players are aware of their environment, conscious of their actions impact and have empathy both for themselves and for their team members. Team players actively contribute to the team’s success. They demonstrate self-management skills, take responsibility for their tasks and show commitment to the team’s goals. They listen to different opinions, help others when needed and communicate effectively to promote a positive team environment. 

team development celebration

How to Assess Team Player Skills 

Teal player skills during daily work

Observation: Observe how individuals interact within the team.

  • Do they collaborate?
  • Do they share credit?
  • Do they support their team members?

Project Work: Assign tasks or projects that require collaboration.

  • How well do they work with others?
  • Do they contribute to the team’s success?

Feedback from Peers: Collect feedback from other team members.

  • How well do they work together?
  • Do they support other team members? 

Self-Assessment: Encourage team members to self-assess using a questionnaire. Measure qualities such as awareness, consciousness, empathy, responsibility, commitment etc. 


Spot team player skills during interviews / hiring process

Here are some key questions to assess if someone probably has team player skills.

Sensitivity to others needs

    • Include questions exploring their sensitivity to others’ needs and their commitment to contributing to the success of their peers

Sample Questions: Describe a situation where you actively supported a team member facing challenges. How did you approach the situation, and what was the outcome? 

Listen in for:  Empathy, feeling the needs, hopes and even the struggles of their colleagues. Desire to support and contribute to collective success. Investing time for others.

Sense of commitment to the team

  • Ask questions that test their sense of ownership and commitment to their own role in the team

Sample Question: Tell me about the time you had to balance your personal and team goals. How was it ?

Listen in: Authenticity: Awareness of the interconnected nature of their work for success and the emotional investment to eventually prioritise team over personal goals.

Evaluate how committed team members are to achieving common goals and how well they adapt to changing circumstances. 

Sample question: Describe an experience where you had to adapt to unexpected changes in a project with your team. How did you manage to adapt (or not)? What was your contribution?

Listen in for: Adaptability and collaborative problem-solving together as a team. Feeling the shared sense of purpose and a strong sense of commitment to the team’s overall goals, despite the challenges. Potentially facilitating, harmonising or even challenging but always with the team benefit in focus.

    • Ask questions that test how open they are to change and how willing they are to adjust their approach to help the team

Sample question: Share an experience where you adapted to a change in the team (e.g. new boss, re-org, new team member or somebody left).  How did you feel and how did you handle it? 

Wish to hear from them ideally: Talking about the team and not only herself. E.g.  the solution was found in the team by talking to each other ; ideally awareness about the interconnection of people in a team environment and the impact on everyone when there is a change in the team members.  

Respect of  diversity and inclusion awareness

  • Develop questions that explore their communication style and ability to consider different points of view. 

Sample question: Describe a situation in which you considered a team member’s opinion, even if it was different from your own.  What was the impact on you?

Wish to hear from them ideally: Inclusive spirit, awareness of the importance of different viewpoints, commitment and eagerness to promote diversity and inclusion, respect for different voices within the team. 

Growth mindset

  • Include questions that assess their ability to collectively address challenges and find solutions

Sample question: Describe a situation where you collaborated to overcome a significant challenge together.  What was difficult? What was easy?

Wish to hear from them ideally: Addresses challenges or problems as an opportunity to grow or learn as a team and not only individually. 

Perception of team identity

  • Last but not least one of the most important aspects and fun parts of an interview could be to check how somebody perceives team identity.

Sample Questions: What was the biggest strength of your team? (Not of the person)

If your team was a film or a series on Netflix which one would it be and why?

Listen in for: Positive energy, engagement and creativity. Bringing a touch of fun and insight to the team’s spirit and identity.

Summary – Team player skills assessment

A team player is an individual prioritizing collective goals over personal success, exhibiting self-management, responsibility, and commitment. This requires certain team player skills. The methods for assessing team players include daily work observations, collaborative project assignments, peer feedback, and self-assessment questionnaires. During the hiring process, we suggest questions to gauge sensitivity to others’ needs, commitment to the team, adaptability to change, awareness about diversity and inclusion, and a growth mindset. This is not a complete list but a good starting point. 

team development celebration

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash