Communication Job Interview Questions You Need to Ask

Ask About Communication When You Interview Prospective Employees

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The following sample job interview questions for employers to ask about communication will help you assess your candidate’s skills in communication. Whatever the position, you'll want to ask several of these questions in all of your job interviews because effective communication is a key skill most successful employees share.

Even in your interviews with technical employees, communication skills have become increasingly important because of the emphasis on team-based collaboration in organizations today. Hence, communication skill assessment should be an integral part of every job interview you conduct.

If possible, assess a candidate's communication and interpersonal skills in a team interview where you have the opportunity to observe his or her interaction within a small group. This provides a lens into the potential communication skills a candidate will exhibit in your workplace.

Over One Dozen Communication Questions

  • Why are you participating today in this interview?
  • If you attended a weekly staff meeting with your supervisor, in the past, how have you ensured that the information you have received is communicated to your reporting staff and coworkers?
  • Let's pretend that information that you believe is untrue or confidential has reached you via the grapevine. What actions would you take to resolve the situation if this kind of negative communication is out of control?
  • Give me an example, from your past work experiences, about a time when you were part of a project or team and you never knew what was happening with the other action items or participants. How did you handle this situation?
  • Rate your communication skills on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 representing excellent communication skills. Drawing on your past work experiences, give me three examples that demonstrate that the number you selected is accurate.
  • What has surprised you about our interview process so far?
  • Describe the work environment or culture and the communication style it uses in which you experience the most success.
  • Describe five things about the communication within an organization that must be present for you to work most effectively?
  • How often do you believe it is necessary to withhold information from staff members who report to you? Would you say you do this regularly, not often, or never? Under what circumstances do you limit communication in your experience?
  • When you have had a boss who failed to adequately communicate with you, how have you handled this?
  • When you have entered a new workplace in the past, describe how you have gone about meeting and developing relationships with new coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff.

    Assessing Candidate's Communication Skills 

    Pay attention to how your candidate interacts with people such as the receptionist. This observation, in addition to your own observation of the candidate's level of comfort with communication during the interview, is key. You can discover much about the candidate's communication style during the interview.

    How articulate is the candidate? How clearly does the candidate communicate? How easily does the candidate select words to use to answer questions? Notice the non-verbal communication and the facial expressions as well. Does the candidate radiate sincerity and energy?

    In a group interview, which I recommend, how did the candidate interact with each of the employees who attended? Was the interaction easy? Did the candidate answer their questions? Or, did the candidate talk around them? 

    Be on the Lookout For Red Flags

    In past interviews, your team most likely experienced all sorts of dysfunctional behavior from candidates and their communication style. Often the behaviors are red flags for an employer. For example, the team may interview a male candidate who only looks at males when he responds to questions or vice versa. 

    Or, a candidate may be sincerely liked, communicate effectively, and seem hire-worthy when interviewing if senior team members are in the room, but when meeting one-on-one with managers and employees, failed to make eye contact and repeatedly look at their watch.

    Finally, in assessing communication, is the candidate genuinely interested in your company and the open job? Also, you need to decide whether to hire the candidate from the candidate's nonverbal communication.

    You need to test all the waters.