For all of my web/software development career, I have worked alone and with a very small team. I have just interviewed with a larger company. There were several interviews - technical and behavioral.
The behavioral part asked me some questions on how I deal with stress, conflict, and personal/professional development. As usual, I gave accounts on listening, reaching out to my colleagues, and my willingness and efforts to solve problems with colleagues, supervisors, and clients. I think that those kinds of accounts should cover the topic of "collaborative tone".
In the technical interviews, the questions were focused on knowledge of software architecture, data structures and algorithms, and other technical matters. There were also some coding exercises where they posed a problem, and they watched me code and talk through my process of solving it.
Long story short - I did not get the position. The recruiter offered to discuss the decision with me in greater detail than in that rejection email, so I took it. They told me that while I demonstrated solid programming skills and solved the problems, I lacked the "collaborative tone" in those technical interviews, which was actually a huge factor. They said that the fact that I have been working alone most of my career showed that I have little to no team experience (fair enough). They said that I did not mention or discuss certain things that they were looking for that demonstrated the "collaborative tone". When I asked about that specifically, the recruiter told me that they do not have further details for legal reasons.
So, my question is, what exactly is "collaborative tone" in software development? What kinds of things should I have said while working through the programming exercises and speaking with the engineers who could have been my colleagues? What kinds of questions should have I asked? I did ask about what it was like working in a team in their environment, but apparently, that wasn't enough.