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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

Tell me about a time when you had to use your verbal communication skills in order to get a point across that was important to you.

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Communication Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Tell me about a time when you had to use your verbal communication skills in order to get a point across that was important to you.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like a specific example that identifies your communication style when you are expressing a matter close to your heart.

      When you become passionate about one particular point, in the workplace, do you get excited but challenging to understand? Do you bully others into seeing things your way? Once you have your mind set on an idea, are you capable of accepting feedback on the cause or belief? These examples are all red flags to the interviewer.

      Display that you are a level-headed communicator and that you remain respectful in your communication style, no matter how important the point of discussion is to you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "When I was initially training for my current role there were a few things that I did not understand. The person training me kept breezing by the topics when I would ask for further clarification. I decided that perhaps she did not understand why it was important to me. So, I approached her with the problem at hand, in a clearer way. I said 'I am afraid that if I do not fully understand this particular process, that I will unintentionally skip corners elsewhere. Can we please take the next 30 minutes to review this area of my training further?' This approach was more specific than my previous ask, and it worked. I am glad that I expressed my concern more directly."

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "Much of my work is completed over the phone as our primary customer is elderly. For this reason, it is important to me that I explain directions to our office very clearly on the phone, rather than email directions to them. I ask them to get a pen and paper, I use specific street numbers and landmarks and even include where to park. This thorough approach has saved me many conversations with lost patients who are late for their appointment. The patients appreciate my help up front as well."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "Employee tenure is important to me. I want to train people who are excited about their jobs, understand the company's goals, and buy into them. I want to groom future leaders that wish to stay with our company and climb the corporate ladder. Recently one of my team members came across a problem on the production line. Rather than tell him what to do, I asked him what he would do if he were the boss. By flipping the question back to him, it challenged him further while giving him the confidence that he knew the right answer. I often communicate in a more mentorship based manner."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "Working for a marketing agency, I come into contact with many clients who use marketing buzzwords they hear, thinking that is what they want, even though they do not fully understand the terms. These points may not even be something that their business needs in their marketing strategy. I had a client recently, a medical device company, who wanted to put the bulk of their advertising on Instagram and Facebook ads because it's the latest thing to do. Rather than telling them, it was a bad idea, I dug deeper with some discovery questions, to discuss where the bulk of their clients came from, what the daily habits were of their clients, and the age demographic of their clients. After we had a conversation, they concluded on their own that social media was, indeed, not where their idea customer was. I could have taken a more direct approach, but that may not have been as openly received."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "It is important to me that our customers know and understand our return policy before they leave the store. Because we sell undergarments and bathing suits, we do not accept returns of any kind. When I am ringing a customer through, rather than assume they understand, I will print their receipt, flip to the printed policy on the back of the receipt, circle the no returns policy and initial it. I explain verbally to the customer and ensure that they are okay with this fact before leaving the store. This method of communication has eliminated plenty of customer disputes and attempted returns."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "In my previous position, I had the idea of shaking up our sales territory a little bit. The changes were minor but would eliminate a lot of excess travel, saving the company money in sales rep travel expenses. The change would also take down our travel from 30% to about 20%. Rather than telling my boss this, in an opinionated way, I took the time to research the benefits to the company. I then created a PowerPoint presentation and asked to present my findings at the upcoming monthly meeting. I wanted to be heard and knew that I needed to approach the situation in the most organized and professional way possible."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "It is important to me that all of my students exceed, try their best, and have parent support at home. I recently noticed a student struggling who was previously one of the classroom stars. I met with the Principal to inquire if I was missing some information on changes this student was going through recently. We made a communication plan and brought the parents to meet with us. I started the conversation by praising the student, expressing how smart and engaged she had always been. Then, I moved into my concern, asking to make a plan of action as a collaborative effort. The parents appreciated my approach and agreed to further support her education, in the home setting."

      Ryan's Answer for a Ticket Agent Interview

      "Throughout my career, I've worked very independently and have needed to keep very open lines of communication with my manager. In my current role, I am often working alone at our retail location. Throughout the work day, I keep track of any minor issues that happen and then email them to my manager at the end of my shift. If I know he's working and there is a serious issue, I pick up the phone immediately and call him. I know that he has always appreciated my open communication with him and I would always maintain this with my manager in this role."

      3 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "While training employees, on equipment specific to the process, I had to communicate the importance of preventative maintenance. I made it a point to breakdown the process of preventative maintenance and how completing these tasks would lead to fewer breakdowns and more production, which meant we would meet our goals and get our bonus."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It sounds like you were very clear in getting your goals across to these trainees. Good example.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "When I was initially training for my previous role in the same organization, there were a few things that I did not understand. The person training me kept breezing by the topics when I would ask for further clarification. I decided that perhaps she did not understand why it was important to me. So, I approached her with the problem at hand in a more precise way. I said, “I am afraid that if I do not fully understand this particular process, that I will unintentionally skip corners elsewhere. Can we take the next 30 minutes to review this area of my training further? This approach was more specific than my previous ask, and it worked. I am glad that I expressed my concern more directly."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Excellent! The way you approached this person was direct but also respectful. Nicely done.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes (1) or No (0)