If you’re wondering what questions are asked at a peer interview and how to answer them, then keep reading.
In a peer interview, the interviewer is an employee at the same or similar level to you.
They’ll be looking mainly for cultural fit and team fit. They’ll ask questions designed to uncover your personality, interests, work ethic, and more.
Coming up, I’ll share the specific peer interview questions that every candidate should prepare for, and some common mistakes to avoid.
Keep reading for the most common peer interview questions and answer examples.
You can expect an interviewer to ask, “Tell me about yourself” in any interview, including a peer interview.
This question is often asked to break the ice and get the process started, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free question or a question where you can’t go wrong.
To answer, plan on sharing your recent professional work if you have any, highlighting key points that will be relevant to this employer’s job description and needs, and also telling the interviewer what you’re looking for now and why you thought to apply to this company.
Keep your answer to 60-90 seconds. It’s a mistake to give an overly complicated answer here. Be concise and get to the point quickly and you’ll be more impressive throughout your peer interviews.
The employer may also ask, “Can you walk me through your resume?” However, you’re more likely to hear that question when being interviewed by a recruiter or hiring manager.
Still, it can’t hurt to be ready and be familiar with your resume before beginning the interview.
Next, they may ask how you’d describe yourself in general.
With this question, interviewers want to know whether you’d fit with the company and team and whether you seem sure of yourself and confident in general, too.
To answer, pick a couple of positive traits related to this job and then explain why you chose those traits. For example, you could say:
“I’d describe myself as someone who’s detail-oriented and clear in communication. I also enjoy working as part of a team. That’s one reason I’m looking for a change right now. My current role involves mostly individual work, and I’m fine with that, but in the future, I’d like to be involved in more teamwork and collaboration, and I saw on your job description that your company seems to have a more collaborative environment with more interaction between employees. I’d love a situation like that.”
Next, the interviewer may want to know whether their company’s work environment is suitable for each of the candidates they’re interviewing.
Maybe they have a fast-paced, stressful environment and want to make sure you have the skills to handle it.
Maybe the workplace is slow-paced and features individual work for the most part, so they want to ensure you’ll be okay working on your own with very little interaction.
Your best bet when answering is to say you prefer the type of environment that this employer features.
If you’re unsure of the environment (for example, if you’re on a phone interview or video interview and haven’t been to the company’s office) then you can say you’ve worked well in a wide range of environments and don’t have a preference.
For word-for-word example answers, read this article.
Along with asking about work environment, peer interviewers might ask candidates what sort of company culture they like.
Research the company beforehand and determine what cultural values they emphasize. You can usually find information about company culture on the company’s website. Start with their “About” page and begin looking from there.
Then, when answering, you want to share similar value to what they offer. You don’t have to exactly mirror what their website says, but the idea is that you should show some overlap in your answer.
For example, imagine a company’s website has a section about employee values, and they mention collaboration and teamwork, open communication, honesty, and community involvement.
You could respond to this interview question by saying:
“I like a company culture where people feel free to communicate and voice their opinions. I’ve been in companies where it was a more closed-off process where people didn’t feel free to give feedback to others, and the company ended up going out of business and I was laid off. So I’d say that if your company values honesty and strong communication skills, then it’s a good fit for me in terms of culture. I also saw on your website that you mention community involvement. I love volunteering in the local community and have spent a couple of weekends helping out at <charity organization’s name>. Can you tell me more about what this company does in the community?”
This is a straightforward interview question asked by both hiring managers and potential peers in the hiring process.
You can almost always answer truthfully and honestly when asked this in your peer interviews. Discuss what type of research you’ve done to identify suitable positions, how you came across this particular job opening, and why it stood out to you.
The one answer you want to avoid here is saying, “I really don’t remember.” This suggests you’re applying to far too many positions without paying attention to whether they’re a good fit.
In your interview, employers want to see that you’re being careful and thoughtful in your job search, not just applying to every online job you can find.
You may be asked peer interview questions about your current or recent responsibilities.
Be ready to share what your typical day/week looked like, and to impress further, talk about specific accomplishments in your last role, such as:
These are all great topics to discuss when asked any interview questions about what you’ve done in past roles.
If you’re having an interview with a second or third person in the process (or more) you can expect a question about what you discussed with the last person you interviewed with.
This isn’t a trick interview question; your future coworker just wants to pick up the conversation in an appropriate place and not discuss all of the same topics as the person before them.
So don’t panic if you hear this question early in your peer interview, but do be ready to quickly recap what you discussed in your other interviews with the company.
Here’s an example answer to this question:
“I spoke to Ian about how this group fits into the broader business, what my typical day-to-day schedule would involve, and some of the expectations in the first year with the organization. He also shared a bit about what my future would look like here in years two and three. Finally, we talked about how my performance would be measured and how I’d be interacting with my manager and colleagues to make sure I’m learning the job well in my first few months.”
This is more likely to be asked by a hiring manager, but you could also hear it in a peer interview, so be prepared to explain why you’re looking for a new job.
If you’re unemployed now, the interviewer will want to know the reason you left your last job.
If you’re interviewing when you have a job, then your potential coworker will want to know your motivation for seeking a change.
Avoid sharing negative stories or badmouthing past companies, which can scare employers off. This question is not an invitation to complain about past companies, team members, etc.
Instead, focus on sharing positive aspects you hope to gain from a move, and why you think it’s time to change positions to continue your success and career growth.
Next, your potential colleagues may ask what motivates you as a professional.
We all come to work for the paycheck, but they’d ideally like to hear that there’s something else you enjoy about working and the career you’ve chosen.
If you’re like most office workers, you only get paid once every two weeks, and managers/interviewers want to know that you’ll be able to stay motivated, especially through challenges, every other day on the job.
Be prepared to discuss some aspect of the work that you enjoy, whether it’s solving challenges, working as part of a team, being a leader in the workplace, etc.
Every job involves at least some stress, so interviewers may ask a question like, “How do you handle stress?”
Employers want to hire someone who can stay calm, think clearly, and use logic to solve problems.
So you ideally want to sound like you have a system that you follow, and that you’ve been through stressful situations successfully.
Here’s an example of what you might say when interviewing:
“I’ve had a couple of high-paced, stressful jobs in the past and I’m pretty accustomed to dealing with stress. When faced with stress, I pause, take a deep breath, and approach the situation logically. I analyze the different options available to me, and I even consult with peers or team members when needed and if there is time. This helps me reduce stress and also make better decisions.”
This is another of the common peer interview questions related to your personal life and interests that you can expect.
There are very few “wrong” answers here, but be ready to share one or two interests or activities you enjoy outside of work.
When interviewing with any team member, you can expect a chance to ask questions of your own.
And you’re always going to leave a poor final impression if you don’t ask questions.
Saying, “So-and-so answered all of my questions already” is not a good look, either, even if it’s a third or fourth interview of the day.
Never do that.
Prepare at least two questions for each of your future peers that you’ll be interviewing with. This will boost the chances that the company will hire you because you’ll seem more interested in their job and more engaged in your job search in general.
Ask questions like, “What are one or two skills that you feel are most important to success in this job?”
Or, “Why did you join the organization, and how have you found the work environment since coming here?”
Or, “What advice do you have for someone starting in this role that would help them be successful?”
You can also ask questions about the interview process like, “Who will be in touch with feedback, and when can I expect to hear about the next steps?”
This is a good way to set your expectations and know when to follow up if you don’t hear back after an interview.
Knowing the company’s timeline will help reduce your stress while waiting, too.
Here are 27 unique interview questions to ask the employer if you want more ideas.
If you read everything above, you know the mindset of your peer interviewer and how to answer peer interview questions to impress them.
If you practice giving answers like the examples provided, you’ll build confidence and be ready to win the job offer in your next interview.
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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