Do you know how to answer communication style interview questions?

Every interviewer from every company across the globe will ask some type of question that will evaluate and test your communication skills. In fact, you'll usually encounter more than one in a single interview, and your response will be judged by what you say and what you don't say. 

Communication skills are important in all industries

From an early age, we are taught how to communicate effectively, how to mind your tone of voice, and how to listen. 

From the moment you are introduced to the hiring manager, those communication skills are being evaluated. In addition to listening to how you answer their questions, they're watching your body language and facial expressions — they want to see your whole communicative style. 

Position yourself for interview communication skills success

Don't let all of that stress you out, however. Demonstrating solid communications skills is a thing you can learn, practice, and perfect. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say,” so use these four steps to ensure your non-verbal communication isn't drowning out your verbal communication: 

  1. Angle the chair you sit in so that you're face-to-face with the interviewer. 

  2. Sit upright and lean towards the interviewer to signal interest. 

  3. Maintain good eye contact using the 50/70 rule

  4. Finally — by all means — relax. You are good at what you do; you've already won the interview. The hiring manager just wants to get to know you now. 

Verbal and written communication

As an employee of the company to which you're applying, you will have to communicate with clients, colleagues, and management. Before you can be allowed to represent the company, the hiring manager has to know that you can clearly articulate what needs to be said. To do this, they need to figure out these things: 

  • Will you answer questions confidently? 

  • Are you a dominant speaker? 

  • Do you ramble or speak clearly? 

  • If you're answering questions that have been emailed to you, can you write out the answers concisely?

  • Are you empathetic?

Use the STAR method when answering questions

By asking questions that require you to draw on past experiences with communicating, the interviewer can get a real feel for how you respond to situations and articulate outcomes. The best method for answering these kinds of questions is the STAR method. 

  • S (Situation): Describe a situation you faced in the past.

  • T (Task): Describe the task that needed to be completed.

  • A (Action): Describe the action you took to improve the situation or task.

  • R (Result): Describe the result or outcome of your actions.

This method helps you provide quality answers to demonstrate expert communication skills. 

Here are a few example questions and answers

  1. What is your greatest accomplishment?

  2. Tell me about a time that you received negative feedback.

  3. What happened the last time you dealt with an upset customer?

What is your greatest accomplishment? 

I was able to convince a previous manager to transition to a paperless environment. He was hesitant because he had lost a lot of documents and photos that were saved on a stolen computer. At that point, he adopted the idea that paper in a folder meant information couldn't be lost. 

Yet, no one had ever taken the time to teach him about backing up his files. I showed him about cloud-based storage and demonstrated that he would be able to access files no matter which computer he used. 

Once that lightbulb came on for him, he consented to the idea of a paperless office. I knew it wouldn't matter how good paperless is for the environment, all he was concerned about was losing his files. Rather than trying to pound my idea into his head, I solved his problem and changed his mind. 

Tell me about a time that you received negative feedback 

In my last role, I headed up a project for a client. With the idea of keeping the project on track, I held weekly meetings to keep the team updated on changes and get feedback on problems. 

A few weeks into the project, one of the managers told me that I needed to get better at following up on the resolution of those problems. The comment stung a little because I thought I was doing a great job. 

After thinking about it, I realized that all I had been doing was giving ideas on how to fix the issues, but never following up to find out if everything actually got fixed. I simply assumed my ideas were helping. After that, I updated my meeting agenda to address the prior week's issues to make sure they were resolved. 

What happened the last time you dealt with an upset customer? 

A customer came to me completely dissatisfied with the way she'd been treated by a previous representative. She said that she was bullied into buying a peripheral device that she didn't need. 

As it turned out, the peripheral device was part of a package buy. There was a deal being offered to customers that allowed them to get the main item at a steep discount if they purchased the peripheral. 

Since the customer didn't understand that when she made the purchase, I explained the program and gave her some options. She ended up keeping the peripheral because it made better financial sense, turning this into a win-win situation for both the customer and our company. 

Wrapping it all up

Your goal during the interview is to show the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job using your non-verbal and verbal communication, and showcasing your previous communication skills . As long as your body language and words match their culture and demonstrate your ability to perform the job in alignment with the job description, you're in a position to win. 

Are you effectively communicating during your interviews? Our coaches can help you figure that out.

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