Cross-functional team interviews are a critical part of the interview process and here is why…

by Apr 16, 2021Employment Resources, Interviewing

DEBBIE JOHNSON
Beauty Industry Recruiter and Talent Acquisition Guru

Ever had an interview scheduled with potential team members from other departments? Do you feel like you made the most of that conversation or just went with the flow because you weren’t 100% sure how to navigate through the interview since it was with a different department? 

In many cases, cross-functional team members may not directly influence the decision to hire you but their feedback will impact your candidacy during the interview process. Your goal at this stage is to build a rapport, qualify yourself with specific examples relating to that department, and ask questions to understand the potential working relationship. Meeting cross-functional team members can provide critical details about the job functions, team dynamics, company culture, communication structure between departments, and potential challenges you would need to overcome to be successful.

We have outlined 3 topics that should be covered in a cross-functional interview and examples of questions you should ask so you can make the most of your conversation:

  1. Stand out by speaking their language and relating your expertise in partnering with their cross-functional department. While they may not be the subject matter expert of your (potential) department’s needs, they do know the current hurdles in place between the teams and may have insight into what would be helpful for a successful partnership. Ask questions about the dynamics between departments, then qualify yourself by sharing work examples that demonstrate successful cross-functional partnerships that align with that same department. 

Can you share the current insight into your expectations on the work functions between this _____ department and your team?

Are there any projects forecasted for the next 6 months to 1 year that I would partner with you directly on and can you share your expectations?

  1. Gather info on the challenges this role will face. Cross-functional team members can provide insight into the work structure, communication, and overall workflow that highlights critical details about the opportunity, ownership of functions, and if there is alignment across departments/leadership.

Tell me about how your team collaborates with this ____ department and what you would like to see change?

What are the gaps or challenges on the current team in your perspective?

  1. Gather insights on the company culture and team dynamics. Meeting with potential teammates or cross-functional leaders will provide insight into the personalities, work style, and culture which is an important factor to ensure you will enjoy the work environment.

How would you describe the work environment and what has kept you loyal to this company?

How has the company adapted to the pandemic and how did this impact the current work structure?

This stage is critical for all parties involved to truly understand the ownership of functions, team dynamics, and overall work environment. By highlighting the 3 topics above both parties can capitalize on the conversation with the goal to have a better understanding of the overall fit and most importantly ensure the opportunity is a long-term match for you. 

Good luck with your next cross-functional interview! 

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