Mastering Verbal Communication Interview Questions

Strong communication skills, whether in writing or in person, can help a candidate stand out from other top candidates. Thus, it’s not a surprise that communication skills are one of the most important traits that recruiters and hiring teams look for in job applicants. In fact, studies show that 73% of employers seek candidates with top-notch communication skills.

But how can you determine a candidate’s ability to communicate well? By asking the right interview questions.

In this article, you’ll find 27 interview questions to help you gauge a candidate’s communication skills. Along with general communication questions, you’ll also find questions for related competencies, including empathy and attention to detail.

Read on to uncover all of the communication skills interview questions. Download our Interview Question Finder

Verbal communication is a critical skill for almost any job. During an interview, your verbal communication abilities will be closely evaluated through the questions you’re asked and the way you respond. Doing well on verbal communication interview questions can make the difference between getting hired or passed over.

In this comprehensive guide we’ll explore what verbal communication is why it’s so important, and how to effectively demonstrate your verbal skills during an interview. You’ll learn strategies to provide winning answers as well as examples and tips to impress interviewers. Let’s get started mastering verbal communication interview questions!

What is Verbal Communication and Why is it Important?

Verbal communication refers to the exchange of information, thoughts, and ideas using spoken words. It involves not just speech but also factors like tone, pace, volume, and clarity of voice. Strong verbal communication skills include:

  • Articulating thoughts clearly and concisely
  • Employing active listening techniques
  • Adjusting communication style based on context
  • Conveying ideas in a compelling, confident manner

Verbal communication is important for almost every job since it’s the primary way we share information, collaborate with colleagues, pitch ideas, and interface with customers. Employees with excellent verbal abilities are able to explain complex matters simply, resolve conflicts diplomatically, motivate and persuade others, and foster strong relationships.

During interviews, your verbal communication skills will be assessed through your responses to questions, how you present yourself, and your ability to actively listen and have an engaging discussion. Doing well on verbal interview questions illustrates important qualities like confidence, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

Common Verbal Communication Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Let’s explore some of the most frequent verbal communication interview questions along with strong sample responses

Q Tell me about a time when you had to explain a complex concept or technical issue to someone without expertise in your field, How did you ensure they understood?

A: In my last role, I often had to explain intricate engineering processes to clients without technical backgrounds. For example, a client once asked me to outline our testing parameters for a new product design. Rather than dive into the minutiae, I used a simple analogy to describe our step-by-step validation method by comparing it to theediting process for a book. I explained how our “editor” (the testing software) thoroughly checks each “page” (component) using “red ink” (simulations) to mark “typos” (defects). This analogy helped the client grasp the essence of our testing in terms they could easily visualize. I always watched carefully for signs of confusion, inviting the client to ask clarifying questions. This ensured they were comfortable with the concepts before moving onto new information.

Q: Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in how you communicated a message. What steps did you take?

A: When it became clear we needed to restructure several underperforming teams, I knew the change would be difficult for many long-term employees. I arranged in-person meetings well in advance to announce the changes, as impersonal memos could come across cold. I prepared talking points to explain the business reasons behind the decision with empathy and optimism. I focused on listening to concerns, providing reassurance where possible, and reframing the message as an exciting opportunity for growth rather than just cuts. My communication strategy aimed to deliver the difficult news while maintaining morale and engagement. The candid yet strategic approach proved effective, as demonstrated by the teams’ constructive response and successful transition period that followed.

Q: Describe a time when you misunderstood an important communication and how you corrected the situation.

A: Early in my career, a senior colleague advised me to “take more initiative” on a project. At first, I thought he meant I should independently make decisions without consulting him. However, this led to some missteps that inconvenienced other teams. I requested a follow-up meeting where he clarified that he wanted me to proactively research options and make preliminary recommendations before seeking his input. I appreciated him taking the time to clarify his original communication. Moving forward, when I’m unsure about instructions, I always ask clarifying questions or follow up in writing to verify mutual understanding. This experience taught me the importance of not making assumptions and of taking an active role in preventing miscommunication.

Q: Tell me about a time you had to communicate highly technical or complex information to an audience. How did you ensure it was simple and accessible?

A: As a software engineer, I often present technical project details to company executives who aren’t technical experts. For one recent product demo, I knew I needed to convey our progress in easy-to-grasp terms. I avoided jargon, used clear analogies to illustrate concepts, and incorporated simple diagrams and flowcharts to visualize complex processes. I also monitored reactions and body language, checking regularly that the information made sense. This approach allowed me to deliver a clear, compelling presentation in accessible language that resonated with my audience, as reflected in their engaged reactions and thoughtful follow-up questions.

Q: Describe a time when you facilitated agreement between two colleagues or teams who had conflicting priorities. How did you communicate to resolve the issue?

A: When two teams I was collaborating with had contradictory timelines for a shared project, it became clear their misaligned priorities could derail the schedule. I arranged a joint workshop where each team could discuss their needs and constraints. As moderator, I focused the conversation on our shared goals for the project’s success. When tensions flared, I redirected the discussion to collaborative problem-solving. My impartial facilitation and active listening enabled both sides to better grasp the pressures influencing the other. Ultimately the teams arrived at a compromise involving modest timeline adjustments and resource sharing. My neutral communication style brought alignment on priorities critical for the project to move forward.

Tips for Success in Answering Verbal Communication Interview Questions

Here are some tips to help you excel when fielding verbal communication interview questions:

1. Prepare illustrative examples ahead of time. Develop a bank of stories highlighting times you successfully applied various verbal communication skills. Stress the context, challenges, actions you took, and results.

2. Speak clearly and confidently. Your delivery is just as important as your words. Make eye contact, avoid filler words, and project energy and passion.

3. Actively listen. Demonstrate sincere focus and interest when the interviewer is speaking. Clarify or rephrase to ensure understanding.

4. Watch your body language. Maintain an open posture, lean forward when engaged, nod and smile at appropriate times.

5. Be positive. Even when discussing setbacks, put a constructive spin on the outcome.

6. Ask thoughtful questions. Inquire about specifics of the role where you can apply your verbal abilities.

7. Review your answers. After the interview, write down the questions you were asked and assess your responses. Identify areas of improvement to refine for future interviews.

Why are Verbal Communication Skills So Critical?

Let’s take a deeper look at why verbal communication abilities are absolutely essential for almost any role:

  • Enhances collaboration – clear verbal communication ensures teammates fully comprehend processes, align on goals, and collaborate smoothly.

  • Resolves conflicts – diplomacy and active listening enable disputes to be settled equitably through dialogue.

  • Conveys complex information – simplifying intricate details verbally enhances understanding and accessibility for diverse audiences.

  • Influences stakeholders – persuasive communicators can pitch visions, motivate teams, and drive change through impactful messaging.

  • Boosts customer service – explaining product details and addressing concerns helps meet customer needs and resolve issues.

  • Facilitates training – effective verbal instruction enables efficient onboarding and skill development.

  • Strengthens relationships – candid yet thoughtful communication fosters trust and rapport with colleagues and partners.

General Communication Skills Interview Questions

  • Tell me about a hard idea you had to explain to a coworker. How did you go about explaining it?.
  • Tell me about a time when you meant to write down something important but didn’t. What happened, and what did you learn from the experience?.
  • Please tell me about a sensitive situation (that you feel safe talking about) that required you to speak with care and intention.
  • Share an example of when you had to say what you thought in a project or meeting.
  • Tell me about a time when you were able to communicate with someone even though you weren’t sure if they understood your point of view.
  • Tell me about a time when you didn’t tell your boss or a coworker something important. How did things turn out, and what did you learn from it?
  • Describe a time when you used your written communication skills to make your point stronger.
  • Tell me about a time when you gave information to a direct report that helped them make a good choice.
  • Describe a time when your ability to communicate well helped you finish a project or task.
  • Tell me about a time when you and a coworker didn’t understand each other. What steps did you take to overcome your communication barriers?.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were slow to share information with your team or direct reports and it hurt them.
  • Give me an example of a time when you saw that a coworker was having a bad day and offered support or words of encouragement.
  • How do you make sure that your team members and coworkers feel heard when you talk to them, especially when you’re not in the same room?
  • Talk about a time when you showed empathy and turned a bad situation into a good one.
  • Tell me about a time when it was really hard to listen well. What was the result of that interaction?.
  • Tell me about a time when you could tell a coworker was upset and changed how you talked to them to get through it.
  • Describe a time when you messed up because you didn’t pay enough attention to what someone on your team said. How did you fix the situation?.
  • Sometimes we encounter emotional situations with coworkers. Tell me about a time when you didn’t handle something well.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to keep your emotions in check and act in a healthy way during a tough situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to tell a team member bad news.
  • Tell me about a time when you didn’t care about someone on your team. What did you learn from the experience?.
  • Download our Interview Question Finder

Filter questions by competency, department, and role with our free question-finding tool.

Verbal Communication in Job Interviews


What is verbal communication in interview?

Verbal Communication: Allow the interviewer to direct your interview and never interrupt. Use clear, concise answers – don’t ramble. Don’t use fillers when answering questions, such as “you know,” “uh,” or “like” Don’t exaggerate and don’t be negative about any thing in any way.

What are good interview questions for communication skills?

Give me an example of a time when you provided a direct report with information that helped them make a good decision. Describe a time when your communication skills helped you successfully accomplish a project or task. Tell me about a time when you had a misunderstanding with a colleague.

How do interviewers determine communication skills?

Interviewers assess your communication skills based on your responses to behavioral and competency-based interview questions about communication and your behavior during the interview. Plan your responses to help you provide a stronger interview and stand out among other candidates.

How do I use communication skills interview questions?

To make the most out of your interview process when using communication skills interview questions, standardize your interview process by asking questions in the same order and giving your candidates an equal amount of time to respond. This will help ensure a fair and effective evaluation of their communication skills.

How do I provide informed answers to communication skill interview questions?

To provide informed answers to communication skills interview questions, first ensure that you understand the skills being asked about. Communication skills encompass a range of verbal, non-verbal and writing skills, including:

Why is verbal communication important?

This approach not only helped in executing the tasks efficiently but also reinforced trust within the team, as they were confident in their understanding of the directives despite the high-stress environment.” Master your responses to Verbal Communication related interview questions with our example questions and answers.

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