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

1 of 20 Communication Interview Questions and Answers Written by Rachelle Enns

Updated on August 10th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
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.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"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."

Admin
Answer example

"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."

Manager
Answer example

"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."

Marketing
Answer example

"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."

Retail
Answer example

"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."

Sales
Answer example

"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."

Teacher
Answer example

"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."

Benefits Manager
Answer example

"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."

Academic Dean
Answer example

"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."

Nurse Anesthetist
Answer example

"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."

Account Manager
Answer example

"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."

Written by:

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career. Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise. Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 01/10/2017
Last modified on: 08/10/2018

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