5 Communication Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 7 January 2023
Published 25 October 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Effective communication is essential for success in a wide variety of jobs. Potential employers will assess candidates' ability to communicate in different situations by asking specific communication interview questions during the hiring process. Regardless of the role you're applying for, hiring managers may assess your communication skills during the interview. So, to help you prepare for a job interview, it's important to consider what interviewers may ask about communication in the workplace. In this article, we discuss what communication interview questions are, explain what interviewers may look for in an answer and share example responses to help you prepare for your interview.
What are communication interview questions?
Hiring managers ask communication interview questions during a job interview to gauge whether an interviewee is an effective communicator. These types of questions focus on a candidate's ability to communicate in various settings and may include behavioural questions, which refer to candidates' experience in the workplace. Here are some things an interviewer may evaluate to assess your communication skills during an interview:
Active listening: Being able to listen attentively to others, asking questions when you need clarification and considering others' points of view before responding are important attributes that help you become an effective communicator.
Body language: Non-verbal cues, such as posture, facial expressions and hand gestures, can reveal more about an individual than just the words they say. For example, you can evaluate a person's attitude, mood and personality from their body language.
Tone of voice: Your tone of voice influences how others perceive you. For example, if you have a monotone or disinterested way of speaking, you may lose the attention of your audience.
Focus: In the workplace, clear and concise communication is essential. Being able to relay long or complex information in a focused manner is essential, particularly when collaborating with other teams or departments that are not as familiar with your area of expertise.
While communication skills are important in most professions, they're essential for those who work as part of a team or in customer-facing roles. When you start to prepare for a job interview, the job description provided will help you identify which communication skills the hiring manager is looking for and you can then be prepared to answer questions relating to those skills.
Why do interviewers ask communication interview questions?
Having competent communication skills helps professionals collaborate with colleagues and teammates, build successful relationships with clients and contribute to the overall success of the company. It's important for interviewers to assess a candidate's communication skills to determine whether they're a good fit for the position and if they will be able to excel. When interviewers ask communication skill questions during the interview process it helps them to:
Determine if a candidate can work well within the team
Gauge a person's ability to communicate with different people, such as colleagues, clients and suppliers
Confirm if a candidate can successfully represent their brand and positively spread brand awareness
Assess a candidate's communication, negotiation and public speaking skills
5 common communication interview questions with sample answers
The following questions can help to assess a person's communication skills during an interview and are commonly asked by interviewers:
1. How would you describe your communication style?
Interviewers ask this question to understand how you communicate with others in the workplace. Certain communication styles may suit certain roles more than others, and interviewers are trying to establish whether the way you communicate is suitable for the position. To answer this question, you may explain your preferred communication style and how this helps you to collaborate effectively.
Example: "I am quite a direct person and prefer to express my thoughts and needs to others clearly and concisely. Equally, I prefer to receive frequent, honest feedback from my peers and manager so that I can implement improvements to my workflow as needed. While I am direct in my communication with others, I am an empathetic person and try to be considerate of others' feelings."
2. Can you tell me about a time you experienced conflict in the workplace? What did you do to overcome it?
Interviewers may ask this behavioural question to understand how you overcome conflict in the workplace. While conflict can be a negative thing, when handled correctly, resolving conflict can lead to better relationships and more effective communication in the workplace. Communication skills are essential for resolving or de-escalating conflict situations, so try to include detailed examples of how you have demonstrated conflict resolution skills in the workplace.
Example: "When I started a new job as a member of the complaints resolution team at a large online retailer, we would have weekly meetings to share insights and discuss common issues. During my first meeting, I found one of my colleagues, Taylor, would often interrupt when I was speaking. I initially thought this may be a mistake, but after I noticed that it continued to happen in future meetings, I decided to address the issue with Taylor.
I asked Taylor for a private conversation and expressed that I was finding it difficult to express my ideas in meetings fully. Taylor was very understanding and explained that she enjoys collaborating and contributing to discussions, but would be mindful to avoid interrupting in the future. Since then, Taylor has been kind enough to ask if she can add to my points once I've finished speaking in meetings. This has further encouraged collaboration amongst the team."
Read more: How to Handle Interpersonal Conflict at Work (With Examples)
3. How do you build a positive working relationship with your colleagues?
Developing harmonious working relationships in the workplace can lead to greater productivity and improve collaboration. It can also create a culture of support and understanding. As such, interviewers look for candidates with excellent interpersonal skills and an understanding of how to establish a rapport with colleagues. In your answer, explain how you nurture relationships at work.
Example: "Early in my career, I realised that there are times when I may ask for a favour from a colleague. It can be difficult to ask for help from others when you don't know them very well, so I always introduce myself to colleagues when I join a new team, and I warmly welcome new starters as they join. I also try to offer help when I see a co-worker struggling or looking stressed, even if they're within a different department which may not be my area of expertise, I try to offer advice and support where I can."
4. Do you work well with other people?
This question is important as it gives interviewers an indication of whether a candidate works well in teams or alongside others. Working with others requires strong communication skills, so those that enjoy teamwork are likely to have good interpersonal skills. Most careers require individuals to collaborate and work with other people, so hiring managers may ask this question at interviews for many job roles.
Example: "My ability to work well with others has played a large role in my success as a social media manager. I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with other team members and listening to feedback from colleagues. These positive working relationships help me better understand my team so that I can motivate them and improve overall performance. While I'm also comfortable completing tasks independently, spending time brainstorming and collaborating with others always helps to ensure we complete projects to a high standard."
5. Can you tell me about a time you've worked as part of a team to complete an important project? Were there any challenges you faced?
This question not only assesses your communication and teamwork skills but can also tell interviewers the role you typically play during teamwork or collaborative projects. Being a great team player is essential for many roles that require collaboration, and interviewers may assess how compatible you are with the rest of the team based on the way you work with others.
Example: "I pride myself on my organisational skills, so in a recent team project I took the initiative to plan the tasks we needed to complete, how long they would take and when they needed to be completed. After bringing this plan with me to our first team meeting, my colleagues were keen for me to take on a leadership role. While I am confident in my project management skills, I am quite a shy person and my colleague Jay is a stronger public speaker and people manager.
After discussing this privately with Jay, he was happy to take on the role of lead and I continued to assist with organisational aspects of the project. Thanks to the team taking on tasks they're most suited to, we delivered a successful business pitch and secured a new client for our department."
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