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Communication Interview Questions

20 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Communication was updated on April 19th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 20

How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?

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Communication Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know if you can adequately handle being the bearer of bad news. One of the toughest parts of communication can be delivering bad news to people with whom you work. Whether it is providing a less than favorable work review, or terminating someone, it doesn't come easy. Assure the interviewer that you can handle this type of task in a transparent, concise, and professional manner.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I certainly do not enjoy communicating bad news to a co-worker, but I do have experience in doing so. I make sure to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating the news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone's employment, I don't sugar coat the reasons why. It's best they know so that they can learn from the experience."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I am an empathetic person, so I try to communicate bad news quickly but with care. I would never want to cause alarm or feelings of hurt in the office."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "I have found that communicating with respect and the intent to support the associate is the best approach. It is important to communicate what behaviors are off track and what resources are available to the associate to get back on track."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "When bad news comes up, I communicate it immediately. The longer an issue festers, the worse it becomes so it's best to rip the proverbial band-aid off asap."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I have found that directly stating facts is best. Trying to "sugar coat" or dance around the subject makes it worse. Be direct, but respectful."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I am very to-the-point when it comes to my communication skills. Good or bad news, there is always a way to improve the situation and create something good from it. After delivering bad news, I will work with my coworker to find a viable solution."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "If there is bad news to be communicated to the parent of a student, I run the wording past my Principal first as I always want to ensure that I am meeting our school's guidelines and communication policies."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Benefits Manager Interview

      "I certainly do not enjoy communicating bad news to a co-worker, but I do have experience in doing so. When this type of task is required of me, I make sure to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating the news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone's employment, I will not sugarcoat the reasons why. It's best they know so that they can learn from the experience."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Academic Dean Interview

      "I certainly do not enjoy communicating bad news to a co-worker, but I do have experience in doing so. When this type of task is required of me, I make sure to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating the news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone's employment, I will not sugar coat the reasons why. It's best they know so that they can learn from the experience."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Nurse Anesthetist Interview

      "I certainly do not enjoy communicating bad news to a co-worker but I do have experience in doing so. When this type of task is required of me, I make sure to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating the news. For instance, if I am to deliver bad news in a particular case they are close to, I will bring great empathy to my delivery."

      Sue's Answer for an Environmental Engineer Interview

      "Generally, I try to use a combination of two methods of communication with team members. First, I try to find a direct way to contact other staff members, either through email, phone, in-person meetings, or regularly scheduled team meetings. I also think it's important to update a common project database on a server that all staff can access. Finally, I like to follow up with staff to ensure we are still in sync."

      3 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "I certainly do not enjoy communicating bad news to a co-worker, and also I do not have experience in doing so. But If I have to communicate bad news to a fellow worker, then I make sure to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating the news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone’s employment. I do not sugar coat the reasons why. It’s best they know so that they can learn from the experience."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This answer is a bit confusing because you start with the fact that you do not have experience communicating bad news to a co-worker, and then end with a statement on how you terminate people (not sugar coating etc). Rather than lead with an 'I don't' statement, try flipping that around to discuss what experience you DO have. I have provided an example below.

      "When communicating bad news to a fellow worker, I make sure to practice empathy. Truth-telling is always key, so I will be honest and clear when communicating bad news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone’s employment, I will not sugar coat the reasons why. It’s best they know so that they can learn from the experience."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I don’t look it good or bad news. It’s news. I look at it as an opportunity for growth. On my part and theirs; “ let’s figure this out together.”"

      Alexandra's Answer

      Great answer!

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