Asking the Right Interpersonal Communication Interview Questions to Assess Candidates

As interviewers, it’s important to see how well a candidate can handle complicated relationships, work with others, and talk to people politely.

To find out how good a candidate really is in these areas, it’s important to ask the right interpersonal skills interview questions.

This article will look at some of the best interpersonal skills interview questions that can help you find the best employees, make teams that work well together, and create a positive work environment.

Interpersonal communication skills are becoming increasingly important for success in today’s collaborative work environments. When hiring, it’s essential to evaluate how well candidates communicate, build relationships, resolve conflicts, and influence others Asking the right interview questions can help assess interpersonal capabilities and reveal red flags.

In this article, we’ll explore examples of effective interpersonal communication interview questions to ask candidates and explain why evaluating these skills matters

Why Assessing Interpersonal Communication Skills is Crucial

Interpersonal communication involves sending and receiving information between two or more people. It encompasses both verbal and nonverbal cues like body language and tone of voice.

Strong interpersonal communication skills lead to

  • Better collaboration and teamwork
  • Increased sales and client relationships
  • Higher employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Reduced conflicts and enhanced problem-solving

Without these capabilities, organizations face risks like:

  • Poor information sharing and opaque communications
  • Breakdowns in collaboration and team cohesion
  • Weakened client and stakeholder relationships
  • Increased conflicts and tense work environments

Evaluating interpersonal skills during interviews helps determine whether candidates possess the relationship-building and influencing capabilities needed to thrive in their roles. It’s particularly important for positions that involve leading teams, managing clients, collaborating cross-functionally, or persuading others.

Sample Interpersonal Communication Interview Questions

Here are some sample questions to evaluate candidates’ interpersonal communication competencies:

Conflict Management

  • Tell me about a time you had to resolve a disagreement with an angry or upset coworker or client. How did you handle this delicate situation?

  • Describe a work conflict you had with another employee. What tactics did you use to resolve the issue professionally?

  • Give me an example of when you had to soothe tempers during a heated conflict between coworkers or team members. How did you turn this negative situation around?

Persuasion and Influence

  • Tell me about a time when you had to convince a skeptical manager or client to adopt your idea or approach. How did you persuasively communicate your perspective?

  • Describe a situation where you had to influence a resistant colleague or teammate to get on board with an important project or initiative. How did you gain their buy-in?

  • Share an example of when you converted an angry or dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one. How did you tactfully persuade them?

Teamwork and Collaboration

  • Tell me about a time when you faced communication issues on a team project. How did you work to increase transparency and collaboration among team members?

  • Describe a situation where you had to coordinate with various departments or teams to achieve an important goal. How did you bridge communication gaps?

  • Give me an example of when you stepped up to improve morale and engagement on a struggling team. How did you bring people together?

Relationship Building

  • Share a time when you had to strengthen a strained relationship with a difficult coworker or client. What interpersonal communication tactics did you use?

  • Tell me about when you had to connect with a detached or disengaged employee. What steps did you take to open up lines of communication?

  • Describe a situation where you turned an adversarial relationship with a colleague into a friendly, productive one. How did you accomplish this change?

Active Listening

  • Give me an example of when active listening helped you better understand an upset customer or client. How did you demonstrate your complete attention through your communication style?

  • Tell me about a time when you picked up on unspoken cues during a conversation with an employee or coworker. How did you tune into their nonverbal signals?

  • Describe a situation where paraphrasing back key points helped improve your communications with a manager or team member. How did you leverage this active listening technique?

Why Ask Follow-Up Questions

Asking thorough, thought-provoking behavioral interview questions is crucial. But the key to truly assessing candidates’ interpersonal skills is asking good follow-up questions, such as:

  • What was the outcome in that situation?
  • How did the other person respond to your approach?
  • How did you know your communication tactics were effective?
  • What did you learn from that experience?

These types of probing follow-up questions reveal important details about candidates’ thought processes, emotional intelligence, and communication self-awareness.

Sample follow-up questions include:

  • You mentioned needing to influence a resistant client. What tactics did you use to gain their buy-in? How did you know you had won them over?

  • You shared an example of resolving a team communication issue. What changes did you implement to improve transparency? How did this increase collaboration?

  • You described converting an angry customer into a satisfied one. What unspoken signals tipped you off about their dissatisfaction? How did you turn the interaction around?

Red Flags to Watch For

Pay close attention to potential red flags in candidates’ responses like:

  • Unable to provide specific examples
  • Blames others for communication breakdowns
  • Takes credit rather than focusing on the team
  • Seems insensitive to unspoken needs or emotions
  • Communicates aggressively or arrogantly

While no candidate will be perfect, serious deficiencies in areas like self-awareness, empathy, or emotional regulation indicate larger risks in interpersonal effectiveness.

Align Questions to Role Needs

Tailor your interview questions to assess the interpersonal capabilities needed for the open position.

For client-facing roles, prioritize conflict resolution, relationship building, and persuasive communication.

For managers, emphasize team leadership, collaboration, and coaching communication skills.

And for positions requiring large-scale influence without authority, focus on examples of driving change through verbal and written communication.

Assess Communication Skills Objectively

While interviews provide insights into candidates’ interpersonal abilities, adding formal assessments introduces more objectivity into the process.

Structured behavioral simulations that test communication, conflict management, and influencing skills can highlight competency gaps and development areas concealed in resumes or interviews.

Foster a Collaborative Culture Through Hiring

Communication issues drain productivity, foster conflicts, and damage work culture. That’s why assessing interpersonal skills during hiring is a business-critical practice.

Asking the right interview questions and conducting formal assessments ensures candidates possess the relationship-building, influencing, and collaborative communication capabilities essential for organizational success.

Making interpersonal effectiveness a priority in your hiring ultimately helps build more positive and productive work environments.

Tell me about a time when you helped a colleague or team member who was struggling. How did you approach the situation, and what was the outcome?

Empathy and willingness to help others are key attributes of a good team player. This question aims to assess the candidates ability and willingness to support their colleagues in times of difficulty.

The candidates answer can reveal their level of emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, and sense of team responsibility. It can also show if they can handle their own work duties while also helping others, which is an important skill for keeping a supportive and collaborative work environment.

Tell me about a time when you had to work as part of a team to accomplish a goal. What was your role, and how did you contribute to the team’s success?

Many businesses are built around teams, and each person’s ability to work well with others is very important.

This question helps you figure out if a candidate can get along with others, what their roles and responsibilities are on a team, and how well they can work with a variety of people.

It also provides insights into their communication style and how they handle disagreements or differing viewpoints.

TOP 7 INTERPERSONAL SKILLS Interview Questions & Answers!


What are the 4 types of interpersonal communication examples?

What Are the 4 Types of Interpersonal Communication and Interpersonal Skills? When it comes to basic elements of interpersonal communication, the various types of possible communication will cluster under four basic categories: verbal, listening, written and nonverbal communication.

What are the 4 most important interpersonal skills?

Most interpersonal skills can be grouped under one of four main forms of communication: verbal, listening, written and non-verbal communication. Some skills such as recognition of stress and attitude are important to all forms of interpersonal communication.

Do you need a sample answer to interpersonal skills interview questions?

If you have developed interpersonal skills and want to learn how to highlight them in interviews, it may be beneficial to view sample answers to questions about these types of skills. In this article, we provide examples of interpersonal skills interview questions that an employer may ask along with sample answers and tips for your next interview.

What are interpersonal skills in a job interview?

During a job interview, you are likely to field questions about your interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills, also known as “people skills,” are those related to how you interact with others. Most employers consider interpersonal skills to be very important for employees.

What interview questions cover interpersonal skills?

Here are interview questions covering interpersonal skills with example answers: 1. Describe a situation where you and a co-worker didn’t get along. How did you handle this? The aim of this question is to assess your ability to resolve conflict and collaborate with co-workers despite differences you may have.

Why should you ask a candidate interpersonal skills interview question?

Having good interpersonal skills means that you can recognize your own needs, as well as the needs of those around you. By asking your candidate interpersonal skills interview questions that refer to their communication style, you can gauge how in tune they are with their needs and whether their preferences fit in with your organization’s style.

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