Situational judgement tests for teamwork
In our individualistic time, the ability to productively work in a team is what most employers need and seek for. And most applicants are sure to note in the resume that they are great at teamwork. In this article, we will describe what teamwork is and how employers assess teamwork with candidates using situational judgement tests and personality questionnaires.
What is teamwork?
A team is a group of like-minded people collaborating to achieve the intended common goals. As a result of this interaction becomes possible in a fairly short time to achieve much better results than working one by one. In a well-functioning team, all responsibilities are clear distributed among colleagues: some generate ideas for further development, others are developing expansion, others establish contacts with potential partners or clients, the fourth inspire workers to “deeds”. This way, complementing each other, people create a single balanced team in which everyone does what they can do best, and skill deficiencies are compensated by collegial efforts.
By many authors teamwork includes the following skills:
- quickly adapt to team needs and fulfil your part of the work to meet teams’ deadlines;
- establish a constructive dialogue with almost any person;
- reasonably communicate and convince colleagues;
- admit your mistakes and accept someone else’s point of view;
- delegate authority;
- both lead and obey, depending on the team aims;
- restrain personal ambitions and come to the aid of colleagues;
- manage your emotions and abstract from personal likes/dislikes.
The ability to work in a team is one of the main competencies of a successful employee. And a job seeker claiming a managerial position must be able not only to competently manage the colleagues but also to be part of the team, not to be authoritarian and do not make hasty decisions.
Elements of teamwork
Teamwork consists of several elements and situational judgement tests used by employers and assessment companies check them all. These are:
- Team orientation is closely related to the willingness to collaborate, creativity, ability to interact, emotional intelligence and adaptability.
- Collaborative creativity involves a combination of communication skills and the ability to create together. It includes the willingness to sacrifice part of one’s freedom and your plan for the sake of a common cause, ability to work in different cultures and environments, knowledge of languages for understanding a different environment and culture from within, willingness to work with people from others areas of activity moving along a different trajectory.
- The ability to interact requires a willingness to work with people in the context of human interaction and artificial intelligence, combining the efforts of humans and robots. Coordination and organization skills.
- Emotional intellect. Empathy. Ability to maintain a positive attitude, overcome negative emotions, inspire others. Support your motivation and motivation of others. Emotional maturity is the ability to take responsibility for yourself and the ability to manage your emotions. Emotional flexibility – the ability to change how you approach your own emotions and those of others. Peacekeeping and conflict resolution, the ability to efficiently resolve conflicts at any level, overcome contradictions, find ways to coexist for people with different positions and different points of view.
- Adaptability implies the ability to respond effectively to any changes in the working environment. Change management. Adapt to new conditions, as well as organically involve others in process of change. Openness to new things, readiness to change and learn.
What employers seek in candidates regarding teamwork?
First of all, employers need professionals, who have certain skills and experience. For many jobs, hard skills still matter much more than soft skills and teamwork. But still working in a team is vital for jobs that imply a lot of communication. For jobs in sales and marketing, teamwork is especially important, as well as for many managerial jobs.
Thus, using situational judgement tests, personality questionnaires, assessment days and job interviews employers try to determine the type of a candidate according to the personality type. Teamwork personality types can be following:
This is a disciplined and very reliable person. He/she is conscientious in interpersonal obligations through constant internal control. He/she is practical, trusting and tolerant towards colleagues, conservative and conflict-free. Works for the team without focusing on his goals. Acts on the principle: “work is a moral duty.” It is the “worker bees” who turn the decisions and strategies of teamwork into specific tasks – sort the goals and build the logic of their achievement. But teams consisting entirely of “worker bees” rarely achieve results above average, because they lack new ideas and they are not flexible. They get stumped when changes are needed.
He/she is an emotionally stable, calm and self-confident person. Has strategic vision, integrates and coordinates the efforts of the team to achieve the goals. Able to find for everyone the appropriate role in the team. He/she can listen without prejudice, consider and evaluate the merits of all offers, as a result of which the opinion of the whole group is formed. Instead of thinking creatively, he/she has a strong character. He/she is highly motivated to achieve a result. Sees the strengths and weaknesses of others well, is a good communicator, knows how to listen. As his/her shortcomings, it can be noted that he/she is prone to fall under the influence of other people or can be inflexible. Usually, he/she does not know how to infect with enthusiasm and effectively leads only in stable conditions.
This is a very energetic person. He/she doesn’t get along very well with managers, and when he/she gets bored it often leads to conflicts with management. He/she is restless, prone to dominance, dynamic, has the pressure and courage to overcome obstacles. For him or her, life is a challenge. If a manager is a social leader of teamwork, then a “motivator” is a target leader who is responsible for a separate project. He or she quickly assimilates information, is devoid of shyness and timidity, and is prone to disappointment. Among the shortcomings, one can note his/her irritability, impatience, and a tendency to discontent.
Generator of ideas
He/she is a creative person, gifted with a rich imagination and capable of solving complex problems. He/she is more concerned with the whole image than with its details. In charge of organizing the development of new projects, but the ways of implementing these projects will be developed by others. Such people are gullible and unprotected from the attacks of society. They can make stupid mistakes because they devote a lot of time to creative energy, ideas, but do not take into account the needs of the group or do not contribute at all to the achievement of the team’s goals. They often need leadership support. If the “idea generator” is criticized, he/she may refuse to cooperate altogether. This is their drawback – they don’t care too much about organizing effective cooperation.
This is a person who monitors and analyzes what is happening. For him or her, the correct organization of work is more important, the task is more important than people. Critics are very reasonable. They predict the situation well. Their criticism does not offend people, since it is built on the principle of “nothing personal”. They are strategically thinking and insightful, consider all options and make correct conclusions. Their main function is to evaluate ideas.
Takes into account all factors and leads the team to make the right decision. His/her shortcomings are that he/she pays little attention to people and is not able to motivate, lacks warmth and cordiality. Due to the increased attention to detail, it can lose its strategic focus. “Analysts” do not show themselves brightly, so they should not be brought together. They interact best with the “leader”, with the “motivator” and with the “generator of ideas”, so the organization of their work should go exactly in this direction.
This person is the “soul of the company”, a team player. Responsive, calm, receptive, diplomatic, able to listen to others. He/she prevents friction, regulates conflict, calms – in general, provides good morale for the team. He or she can have a delicate impact on the conflicting people, find common ground for the disputants, give the team additional strength in times of crisis. It is easy for all team members to interact with an inspirer because “inspirers” themselves attribute any problems to the costs of work. As for disadvantages, it can be noted that ” inspirers ” are indecisive, poorly capable of actions and subject to the influence of other people. For them, the task is nothing, the main thing is the team. Not able to lead, work best with a motivator.
This is a closer, a “finisher” of projects. He or she is organized, conscientious, disciplined, caring about the result. He/she knows how to bring any business to completion. The “controller” is capable of strenuous and efficient work over a long period. It is bad if his/her activity is accompanied by perfectionism – then the completion can be postponed for a long time. The “controller” can be picky about others. He/she is reluctant to delegate authority. Works well with suppliers, idea generators, and motivators — they come up with ideas and controllers to bring them to life. They have respect from the “worker bees”. The worst interactions are with “analysts”.
This is a team member with rare knowledge and skills. An expert in any narrow professional field. Needed by a team for a very specialized task. It is perceived critically by others because seems boring. He/she can get carried away with small details to the detriment of the main goal.
All this classification does not mean that all nine types of team workers must be represented on the team. But depending on the task, employers need a certain set of roles, which will avoid competition between similar roles and achieve results with minimal costs.
The team manager plays a special role among employees. A competent manager, in addition to management, planning and control, must organize and motivate the team for joint teamwork, as well as develop self-government in it. Due to the peculiarities of the human factor, this is often more difficult than performing other duties: a machine works as long as it is programmed, and a person always works differently.
The most important criterion when choosing a manager is his/her clear understanding of the organization of the teamwork. The main mechanism of influence is negative and positive feedback. In addition, a manager represents the team in interaction with others and removes external obstacles. A good manager and leader is someone whose work as a team member is not obvious to others.
Below you can see an example of a situational judgement test for managers.
How employers assess teamwork in candidates?
As we said above employers use situational judgement tests, personality questionnaires, assessments and job interviews to find teamwork competence in candidates. The first stage of assessment that eliminates sometimes up to 80% of candidates are situational judgement tests. Let’s discuss them further.
Tasks in situational judgement tests depict realistic situations and conflicts that may arise in the workplace, and provide 4-5 options for answering these situations. You are to choose the most effective or range the options by effectiveness.
Situational judgement tests on teamwork are aimed to assess if you fit the employers’ needs about working with others and performing the required role in teamwork. SJTs provide you with a realistic scenario, involving you in the situation and provoking your spontaneous response. But we always recommend keeping your help calm and thinking about what a certain answer can tell the employer about you.
Teamwork competencies to be assessed with situational judgement tests and personality tests are the following:
- Ability to understand needs of other team members;
- Support other team members;
- Ability to work to achieve common goals;
- Collaboration skills at all levels of working relationships.
A few other competencies are closely related to teamwork. These are emotional intelligence, communication skills, leadership and others but the ones above are critical.
See below an example of a situational judgement test for office and manufacturing staff.
Strategy to answer situational judgement tests for teamwork
A common strategy to answer any situational judgement tests includes the following steps:
Consideration of context
The first step in the process of answering a situational judgement test is to consider the context situation. Information of the scenario should be considered according to the following parameters: what tasks need to be done? What are the requirements for your team, leader or manager? Which are your obligations to complete the tasks presented? What is your position and what are your goals? You must also consider the limitations of your powers as a manager, an office secretary or a newly hired employee.
Understanding the competence to be assessed
The second step in answering a situational judgement test is to determine which competencies are assessed in the scenario and answer options. Usually, scenarios describe a work conflict or difficult situation. Try to note for yourself the content of the conflict and the reaction of each of the parties. Considering the answers, try to think about what competencies each answer demonstrates. For example: “does this answer reflect good communication skills and teamwork, or, conversely, demonstrates lack of one of the competencies?”
Picking the answer option
When working on an SJT on teamwork or any other competence, first read the scenario and try to extract all the available information. What competencies does the proposed scenario evaluate? What are the specific conditions? Who are the parties in the scenario and what are their needs and goals? What is your position?
After exploring the scenario using the first two steps, you should study all the suggested answer options in the same way. Sometimes the script is very short and not provides a lot of information. In such cases, the answer options themselves are the main source of information. Consider what each answer provides in terms of demonstrating competence, and how it affects the development of the conflict and all the people involved.
The more you practice situational judgement tests, the easier these steps will be for you. Note that you need to use sound meaning by answering SJT questions. Try combining competency and context analysis the question of how this situation can unfold in the real world. For example, you should ask yourself, “What will my teammates think if I leave early without completing this task?” or “How would my manager feel if I spoke to him with critics?”
On Aptitude-Tests-Practice you can find about 300 situational judgement tests for managers, office staff, sales and customer support jobs. If you have your aptitude test soon, waste no time – start now and practice as many aptitude tests and situational judgment tests as you can.