12 Communication Skills Interview Questions With Tips and Example Answers
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated July 21, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021
Updated July 21, 2022
Published June 21, 2021
Communication skills are valuable in nearly every job. Interviewers typically ask communication interview questions indirectly, making them important to prepare for. In this article, we discuss communication interview questions and provide skills interviewers look for. We also list common questions related to communication and example answers to use as a guide.
Why do interviewers ask communication interview questions?
Interviewers ask communication interview questions to identify candidates with basic language comprehension who can express themselves effectively. These questions also help them spot candidates who can do the following:
Communicate verbally and nonverbally with different people in different situations and work as part of a team
Handle unsatisfied customers professionally and in an empathetic manner
Represent a brand successfully
Positively impact the workplace
Preparing for these interview questions can show you're a good fit for the position. Interviewers look for various communication skills in candidates, such as:
Active listening skills
Written communication skills
Verbal communication skills
12 communication interview questions
Here are common communication questions to expect during an interview:
1. Do you prefer to talk to someone in person or email them?
Interviewers ask this question to understand your preferred communication method and how you work. While there are no wrong answers, your response should align with the company's working style to show you're a good fit for its culture. Be honest when answering and explain your reasoning.
Example: "I prefer talking to people in person instead of emailing them. I feel I'd get a faster response if I walked over to their workstation. I also find it a lot easier to express my tone when speaking to someone in person instead of conveying it in an email. Moreover, I get to read nonverbal cues when I meet with people. I'd be happy to send an email if I knew someone preferred emailing."
2. Describe how well you work with other people.
This question helps an interviewer determine whether you're capable of working alongside others. Working as part of a team requires excellent communication skills to express your thoughts and share ideas with others.
Example: "My strong communication skills have helped me succeed in this position. Working with my current teammates and listening to their ideas keeps me motivated and encourages me to improve my performance. I also enjoy sharing my ideas on how to approach problems. In my experience, communicating each decision I make with others helps to foster team-building, and I enjoy participating in team-building games."
3. What's your greatest accomplishment?
Interviewers ask this question to understand your work ethic and core values. It's an opportunity to explain an example of your work and what value you can add to their company.
Example: "In my most recent position, I coordinated my company's training programs as the training manager. From my analysis, participants didn't engage with the program's content, and approximately 30% of new hires completed the training. We also received poor feedback on evaluation forms. After speaking to upper management about the issue, I decided to rework the program to make it more engaging and relevant to participants. Today, 86% of employees complete the training and give positive feedback about its content. The upper management team asked me to coordinate its parent company's training seminar after seeing my strong work ethic."
4. Describe a challenge you faced and how you addressed it.
This question helps your interviewer get insights into how you handle challenges and work under pressure. Focus on using your communication skills to explain the problem.
Example: "I once supervised an employee who would often skip work without informing me. This meant her teammates often had to extend their work shifts and attend to more customers. After noticing the situation, I reached out to this employee to determine why they were often absent from work. We discussed the issue in a private meeting and came up with a solution that was convenient for everyone."
5. Do you proofread the emails you send?
The goal of this communication interview question is to assess your written communication skills. Describe how you proofread emails thoroughly and mention a situation where proofreading helped you submit quality work.
Example: "I always make sure I go over emails before sending them. In my previous role as an employee relations officer, my primary duty was to communicate with employees and resolve any relations problems. I once accidentally added the wrong meeting time, which could have affected production schedules. Luckily, saving the email as a draft and double-checking it helped me spot the error."
6. Can you describe how you gave a recent presentation?
Questions about how you present information help an interviewer assess your verbal communication skills. When answering, explain how you planned and executed the presentation, including what you learned from the experience.
Example: "Three years ago, I worked on a whitepaper on a new product and presented it to investors. I outlined my key talking points and practiced in front of friends. I decided to make the presentation more interactive by using analogies I knew the investors could relate to. In my experience, presentations aren't monologues. They require you to engage your target audience and adapt your presentation to them."
7. How would you convince someone about an idea?
Interviewers ask this question to get a sense of your verbal communication skills and persuasiveness. Reference an example to emphasize your ability to persuade others and respect their decisions.
Example: "In my last position, I often spoke to customers to persuade them to buy my company's products. I made sure I clearly explained the product's benefits and features. I also asked what reservations they had and addressed them appropriately. While I believe I'm good at persuading people, I also understand when to respect their decisions."
8. How would you describe yourself?
This communication interview question enables you to express your ability to function in a particular position and communicate your abilities effectively. Whenever possible, connect your skills and qualities to the position.
Example: "I'd describe myself as a team player. I enjoy working in a collaborative environment and using my communication and interpersonal skills to add value to my workplace. My leadership work experience helps me lead teams effectively and motivate my teammates whenever they feel frustrated. I'm dedicated to my job and passionate about helping others."
Read More: How to Describe Yourself in an Interview
9. Have you ever worked with someone you felt wasn't good at communicating? How did you handle the situation?
By asking this question, an interviewer can understand how you relate to different personalities at work. Use an example to express your communication skills and ability to adapt to a colleague's working style.
Example: "I've worked with a colleague that wasn't good at communicating. I'd leave her messages, but she wouldn't respond. I felt she was shy about sharing her ideas, so I made sure everyone actively listened whenever she spoke. I realized she also wasn't good at listening, so I made sure I was clear and direct about her assignments."
10. How would you rate your communication skills on a scale of one to ten?
This direct question enables an interviewer to evaluate your communication skills. Consider giving an example to demonstrate why your rating is accurate.
Example: "I feel I'm an excellent communicator, so I'd give myself nine out of ten. I'm happy to cold-call customers and try to persuade them to accept special offers. I'm also good at starting conversations and actively listening when someone is speaking. Practicing open-body language helps me convey positive nonverbal cues, and I have experience expressing myself clearly and concisely in reports."
11. Tell me about a time you gave negative feedback to a colleague or client.
This question enables an interviewer to find out more about your ability to communicate clearly, directly, and in an empathic manner.
Example: "At my last job, an employee I supervised was underperforming. I first ensured my emotions were under control before calling the employee into a private setting. I gave constructive feedback centred on their behaviour and not the employee as a person. I made sure I stayed calm, kept my feedback specific, and allowed the employee to respond. Then, we developed an action plan on how they can meet performance goals."
12. Have you written instructions for someone to follow before?
Clearly written instructions can help to make work easier for the person who needs to follow them. Interviewers ask this question to test your written communication skills.
Example: "Last year, I took a two-week leave to recover from an illness. Before my break began, I left instructions on how to use one of our systems. I made sure I explained each step and included screenshots of the required process to follow. Two days later, I received an appreciative message from my assistant for simplifying the process with my instructions."
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