Communication Interview Questions

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Communication Interview Questions

Communication is a lot like dancing. It takes two people to make it work, and if one person isn't in sync, things can quickly fall apart. In the workplace, communication is a powerful tool for a successful and productive environment- it's also a key factor in people doing great work. Therefore, when hiring new employees, it's crucial to assess their communication skills.

Communication interview questions are specifically designed to evaluate a candidate's ability to effectively communicate in a professional setting. These are some of the most important questions that you will ask because they define the success or failure of everything your team does.

Teams that nail communication operate like a "well-oiled" machine - working together effectively and effortlessly. On the flip side, teams without good communication skills are a bit like a machine that's rusty or missing gears - things still get done, but the effort and energy required to do so is much higher. This is where communication interview questions come into play.

There are two types of communication in most teams. Internal and external communication. When creating good commutation interview questions you should start by considering the communication standards internally and then focus externally.

Internal Communication Interview Questions

Internal communication refers to how well an individual communicates with their team members and colleagues. This is a critical metric to assess before hiring someone because internal communication is at the heart of a successful team.

Here are some sample internal communication interview questions:

  1. Can you give an example of a time when you had to explain a complex concept to your team? How did you ensure that everyone understood?
  2. Have you ever faced a communication breakdown with a team member? How did you resolve it?
  3. How do you ensure that all team members are on the same page and have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities?
  4. Can you share an example of how you communicate feedback to team members constructively and effectively?
  5. What strategies do you use to keep your team motivated and engaged in their work?

External Communication Interview Questions

External communication refers to how well an individual communicates with clients, stakeholders, and other external parties. This is important because it reflects the company's image and can impact business relationships.

Here are some sample external communication interview questions:

  1. How do you adapt your communication style when interacting with different types of clients or stakeholders?
  2. Have you ever had to handle a difficult situation with a client? How did you communicate effectively and resolve the issue?
  3. Can you give an example of how you effectively communicated project updates and progress to clients or stakeholders?
  4. How do you ensure that all external communication is professional, clear, and represents the company's values and brand image?
  5. What steps do you take to build and maintain positive relationships with clients or stakeholders?

It's important to note that communication skills are not just about speaking, but also listening. It's equally important for candidates to demonstrate active listening skills during an interview by asking questions and showing interest in the conversation- this alone should give you an indicator of their communication skills.

If you're struggling to build teams that communicate well, Pillar's interview intelligence software comes with a baked-in library of more than 1000 interview questions, including communication interview questions. Our platform makes it easy for you to run smooth and successful interviews to discover the best communicators for your team.

Breaking Down Different Types Of Communication Questions

In addition to oral communication interview questions like the ones we listed in the previous section,  we also need to assess a candidate's written communication skills since the vast majority of communication today will be in text form. Emails, Slack messages, Texts, Presentations, and more all require strong written communication skills to be effective.

Here are some sample written communication interview questions:

  1. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to draft a professional email or report? How did you ensure that the content was clear, concise, and error-free?
  2. Have you ever had to write a presentation for a team or client? How did you tailor the content to effectively communicate your message?
  3. How do you ensure that written communication is professional, grammatically correct, and adheres to company standards?
  4. Can you give an example of how you have successfully communicated complex information through writing to a non-technical audience?
  5. What tools or resources do you use to improve your written communication skills?

Breaking down different types of communication questions may seem like adding unnecessary work but the payoff is worth it. In my last role, we listed "brevity" as a primary metric. We took into account all of our communication with a candidate (written and oral) and scored them on a 1- 10 scale. In fact, this was one of the highest-weighted metrics we used because it showed us how well a candidate could communicate in general.

Once they'd been hired, we switched our scoring for QBRs to "team communication." How well did they communicate with others on their team as well as others in the company? To be transparent, this is something we should've measured far better up front and potentially even added to reference checks. We mentioned some "team communication interview questions" in our internal interview questions piece in the previous section, but we wanted to point out the need to ask for them in references as well.

When everyone is on the same page things run far smoother. Clear communication means less confusion and more teamwork- less conflict and more progress. Plus, it enhances individual creativity by letting the team build upon one another. Simply put, investing in team communication is investing in your team's success!

Culture And Communication In Interviews

Now that we've covered internal and external communication, and talked about effective communication interview questions for oral and written forms of communication, let's shift our focus towards the distinct communication challenges encountered in different roles and industries.

Today's business is done globally through wireless devices. Cell phones, laptops, and access to WiFi power our communication in the modern world. So, we've got a lot more on our plate than just sending a message to a reader. Today's young professionals are communicating across platforms with different cultures and our messages can reach hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of people in moments. This means we have a global audience to consider.

Assessing culture and communication in interviews is quite simple, but broadening the scope" to all business communication" including things like social posting, marketing, and mass market communications can be a challenge- but here are a few suggestions.

General Business Communication Interview Questions:

  1. How do you adapt your communication style to effectively connect with individuals from a large audience of diverse backgrounds?
  2. Can you give an example of a time when you had to communicate sensitive information to someone from a different culture? How did you approach the situation and ensure that your message was delivered tactfully and understood?
  3. In today's global business landscape, how do you ensure that your communication is culturally sensitive and respectful towards different customs and norms?
  4. How do you handle misunderstandings or conflicts that arise due to cultural differences in communication styles?
  5. Have you ever had to modify your communication style when dealing with international clients or partners? Can you walk us through the process and its outcome?

Marketing and Mass Communication Interview Questions:

  1. How do you effectively craft a message for a diverse target audience while maintaining brand voice and identity?
  2. Can you explain your experience in utilizing different communication channels to reach a wider audience, such as social media, email marketing, or traditional advertising?
  3. Have you ever faced a crisis where the company's reputation was at risk? How did you handle internal and external communication during this time?
  4. How do you gather and analyze data to measure the success of your marketing or mass communication efforts?
  5. Can you give an example of a successful campaign where you had to adapt your messaging for different demographics or cultures? What strategies did you use to ensure effectiveness?

Interviewing candidates for roles in technology-based industries can be a challenge if you're unprepared, but hopefully, our list of interview questions in this article has given you a solid starting point! To help you further, Pillar's list of more than 1000 interview questions can be accessed within your interview intelligence dashboard.

If you're not yet a customer, we'd love to show you how Pillar can help you make better hiring decisions when assessing a candidate's communication skills. Book your demo today to see more.