5 Vital Teamwork Skills and How to Test Them

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5 Vital Teamwork Skills and How to Test Them

All employers out there are looking for candidates with excellent teamwork skills. For established employees, organizations build entire teambuilding programs, decided to grow team-oriented members. On the other hand, being a good team player and acing communication are crucial skills to put on resume for all candidates, no matter the jobs they apply for in any industry. As recruiters, however, we may have a bit of a hard job when assessing team skills. What are they? How can we assess them? We know all organizations want team players, but what are the roles people play in teams? And aren’t teamwork skills overlapping other soft skills we need to test? Let’s answer all these questions today!

What Are Teamwork Skills?

The broad teamwork skills definition states that these complementary soft skills allow individuals to work better in groups. Moreover, team players manage all working relationships with colleagues, managers, clients, stakeholders, etc. Of all employability aptitudes we hire for, teamwork is by far one of the most crucial ones.

Studies and business research show that over 70% of all organizations who hire for and support the development of teamwork skills achieve better results in the following organizational areas:

  • Productivity;
  • Profitability;
  • Employee retention/low personnel turnover;
  • High quality of products and services;
  • Improved customer engagement & relationships.

From our daily recruiting experience, observations, and interactions with employees, we know that good teamwork skills include excellent communication, collaboration, listening, willingness to help, proactivity, etc. As professionals, we cannot leave things entirely to chance and candidates’ resumes. We need to understand teamwork skills to assess them better and hire talented applicants that will match group roles and company culture. So let’s get deeper into the matter, shall we?

What Teamwork Skills Are Essential to the Workplace?

what are teamwork skills

A team-oriented employee is an asset to any group and organization. Recruiters get tens of resumes listing “teamwork” somewhere in the “other skills” section. We need to break things down, identify all the desirable team skills we need to fit the company’s profile/culture, and assess them directly or indirectly. We achieve these goals with the help of pre-employment assessment batteries. Here are the most crucial teamwork skills to test as most employers are looking for them actively.

1. Communication

 Good communication is the foundation of performing teamwork. As you know, we evaluate communication skills for a handful of jobs, roles, and positions. We need people who can communicate verbally, non-verbally, in writing, over the phone, via email, and through communication software. Regardless of the medium, the exchanges have to be flawless to nurture collaboration, respect, trustworthiness, etc. A crucial interpersonal skill, communication is an umbrella-type of aptitude, hosting active listening, negotiation skills, assertiveness, and empathy, among others.

Some recruiters and organizations might consider top communication skills necessary only for leadership or project management roles. When it comes to the roles played within a team/group, communication is the top skill you need to evaluate across all job profiles and industries.

How to Test Communication Skills

Find below a few ideas and suggestions of assessment methods and instruments to use to get a good idea of how candidates would communicate and engage with other team members, managers, customers, etc.:

  • Use an introvert/extrovert test to understand the preferred methods of communication of your applicants. Remember that just because an individual is an introvert, it does not mean she/he will not make a good team player. Extroverts might find it hard to fit in certain team and group roles, so use these tests wisely and in correlation with other tests.
  • Apply personality and behavioral assessment tools – they have a good reputation of offering information regarding the subtleties of communication;
  • Use cognitive tests with a focus on verbal reasoning, general cognitive ability, people skills, etc.;
  • If the candidates show results compliant with the job profile and organizational culture, you can organize simulations and interviews to highlight their communication skills;

2. Conflict Management and Resolution

Being a team player means more than being able to stand by coworkers throughout the day. One of the greatest assets an organization can have is the individuals who don’t falter under pressure. In a team, the debate is a healthy way of boosting critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving, as long as nobody turns argumentation into conflict.

Conflict management and resolution are the prerogatives of leaders and managers – and we test such aptitudes thoroughly. But team conflicts are part of our everyday working environment, and we all have to deal with them at some point.

How to Test Conflict Management Skills

As we said before, conflict management and negotiation are skills we teach in high-level institutions and seek the workforce market. Such aptitudes are symbiotic with communication (especially voice tone, body posture, choice of words, etc.). They are also in a close interdependent relationship with other soft skills and personal traits (tact, support, positive attitudes, patience, etc.). So here is how to get a good idea of your candidates’ “power” to calm things and people down and help everybody cooperate with no resentments.

Conflict resolution implies negotiation skills, sharp logic and reasoning, creative thinking, empathy, problem solving, coaching & mediation, listening, flexibility, and integrity. You can test all these soft, subtle skills and traits with customized inventories and batteries. We recommend using an integrity test for all job roles and positions you recruit for, as you need such characteristics across the board.

3. Reliability

We all know and have reliable people around us. But how do we assess reliability in the pre-employment assessment phase? And what does it mean?

Being reliable at work means that your coworkers trust that person with company information, duties, time-sensitive tasks, personal issues, and more. Keeping up with the deadlines, being “there” for the entire team, respecting others – all these and much more make a reliable and esteemed colleague.

How to Test Reliability

It is more than a measurable aptitude but a set of traits and behaviors. They include commitment, honesty, participation, helpfulness, dependability, and much more. It is difficult to test such fine traits, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible. Here are some pointers:

  • Use a time management test to see how your candidates manage time-sensitive tasks and responsibilities;
  • You can use our Leadership Predictor Profile for an in-depth cognitive analysis and niche leadership skills that correlate with reliability and working in teams;
  • Use our Sales, People, and Logic Test to assess candidates’ emotional intelligence, group adaptability, leadership traits, and other cognitive skills.

Reliability, integrity, accountability go hand in hand. If you don’t want to rely solely on test results, you can create an interviewing framework for the candidates and pair the results with your direct observations from simulations.

4. Creative Problem-Solving Skills

Some people know how to solve the current tasks, and they do it flawlessly every time. They are efficient. And, while we all need such team members no matter where we work, we need creative problem solvers. It is difficult to manage a new and unseen-before issue only with individuals that work as if they were perfect machines. A lack of cognitive flexibility and creative thinking can throw off their game entire teams if they don’t have many creatives in their midst.

As teamwork skills go, creative problem solving has everything to do with creative thinking, critical thinking, proactivity, risk-taking, and a mindset focused on results instead of obstacles. Creative problem-solvers are the ones making the difference between good teams and great teams. They can find alternative solutions when problems arise, stay calm in the face of adversity, and help others innovatively solve the issues. They may also take some risks – which are welcome in some projects.  

Such an approach to teamwork helps organizations see the roadblocks ahead or the issues affecting the team’s overall success and productivity.

How to Test Creative Problem Solving Skills

Luckily, we have plenty of instruments to help us select our creative problem solvers. For one, an in-depth cognitive assessment gives you insights into candidates’ mental flexibility, creative power, adaptability, etc. Such skills are not only excellent job-performance predictors but crucial traits to look for when you hire team players.

5. The Skill to Motivate Others

Another leadership or project management prerogative, the ability to motivate others to collaborate for the greater good, is a skill we should be looking for in all candidates. After all, veritable team players are the ones we recommend further for employee development programs and managing positions. Any team member is just as valuable as the entire team.

Every single individual in a group has to have the ability to help others find their way through the darkness when darkness falls. If we solely relied on managers to keep our motivation at an optimal level, our organizations would not travel too far, would they?

How to Test the Ability to Motivate Others

Some people do it naturally, especially when they love their jobs, respect their work, and are fond of their coworkers. Lack of motivation is an issue plaguing all organizations, big or small, at different levels. Instinctively, we always turn to those people who seem unaffected by surrounding problems to help us find our way back.

Testing this skill is difficult, and we do not have plenty of objective and standardized instruments. What we have are different batteries and inventories that can help us extract information and make correlations. Here are some mileposts to consider for this journey:

  • The Big 5 Personality Inventory. It is a test we recommend you use for all your pre-employment assessments. It offers you quantifiable results related to teamwork in general, personality traits and types, behaviors, etc.
  • Mixed tests used to measure interpersonal skills.
  • Standard and behavioral interviews. We recommend you use our Candidate Scorecard to create an objective interviewing framework for all applicants.

When looking for a team-oriented employee, you want more than just the ability to answer coworkers’ emails correctly and on time. If we were to follow classic literature’s teachings, team members must be “all for one and one for all.” Motivating others is, therefore, vital to the good functioning of any team.

Good Teamwork Skills: Bottom Line

We are sure you have your own experience and examples of teamwork in the workplace, and we’d love to hear what you think! What team skills are you testing in the pre-employment assessment phase? Do you use specific tests and inventories to evaluate the teamwork skills relevant to your organization? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts, suggestions, and stories!

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