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70 Communication Skills Interview Questions

        posted by , January 18, 2013

There's no question about it — communication is the single most important business skill.

It's the basis for leadership and management. The basis of innovation, productivity and marketing.

Professionals who excel at communication consistently outperform those who don't.

Communication is more than a single skill. In fact, it's a diverse variety of skills. It's common for a professional who is strong in one or two areas to be weak in others. For example, someone can be a great public speaker but struggle with office politics.

The following interview questions target the full range of communication skills from public speaking to emotional intelligence.

Verbal Communication

1. How do you ensure that a conversation is positive and productive?

2. Have you used humor to achieve a result? Can you give me an example?

3. Can you tell me a humorous story?

4. When does humor go too far in a professional situation?

5. Can you tell be a business story?

6. Are you a good listener? Have you used any listening techniques?

7. Can you tell me about a presentation you gave that achieved a business result?

8. Are you a good public speaker?

9. Can you give me an example of a public speaking accomplishment that you're proud of?

10. When you speak in public, how do you ensure that your audience understand your message?

11. What are some common barriers to effective communication?

12. How would you explain the internet to someone from the year 1800?

13. Can you think of a good marketing slogan for light bulbs?

14. What is the best way to begin a speech or presentation?

15. Why do some professionals struggle to effectively communicate ideas in a presentation?

16. What's the best presentation or speech you've ever seen? Why was it good?

17. How do you want to improve as a public speaker?

18. How do you establish a relationship with your audience when you give a speech?

19. If you had to give a speech to a hostile audience, how would you do it?

20. How do you prepare for a presentation?

21. What advice would you give someone who is nervous about public speaking?

Visual Communication

22. What steps have you taken in the past to visually communicate ideas?

23. What are some common visual communication mistakes that you've seen?

24. Can you draw me a icon to represent the concept of "success"? (requires whiteboard)

25. How do you highlight important information in a slide?

26. Do you have a good sense of design? Can you give me an example?

27. Can you draw me a step-by-step guide that explains how to drive a car? (requires whiteboard)

Interpersonal Skills

28. If I asked you to introduce yourself to our CEO, how would you do it? Can you do it now (pretend I'm the CEO)?

29. Can you tell me about a time you made a bad first impression? What did you learn from the experience?

30. Can you describe a situation when you had to have a difficult conversation with a colleague?

31. How do you expand your professional network?

32. What techniques have you used to establish rapport with people?

33. Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a angry customer?

Emotional Intelligence

34. Why is empathy important to business results?

35. Are you open to criticism?

36. Can you tell me about a time someone criticized you? How did you deal with you?

37. What stresses you out?

38. Who stresses you out (what personality types)?

39. Can you tell me about a difficult coworker you've had to work with? How did you manage the relationship?

40. Are you good at reading people?

41. Can emotions be used to achieve business results? Can you give me an example?

42. What are some inter-cultural communication challenges you've faced?

43. Can you tell me about the most difficult boss you've had? How did you manage the situation?

44. How do you deal with rude coworkers? What about rude customers?


45. What techniques have you used to influence executive management?

46. In your current role, how have you inspired others?

47. Are your skilled at debating? Can you give me an example?

48. If I asked you to persuade upper management to increase your team's budget, how would you do it?

49. Can you tell me about a time that you changed someone's mind?

50. What's the secret to motivating others?

51. Why do some managers struggle (with little success) to motivate their team?

52. Can you tell me about a time you had to criticize someone's performance?

53. Are you good at negotiating? Can you give me an example?

54. Can you tell me about a time you negotiated a lower price?

55. What techniques have you used to facilitate meetings?

Business Communication

56. What is the most difficult political situation you've faced recently? How did you handle it?

57. Have you ever had to sell something? What techniques did you use?

58. What interviewing techniques have you used?

59. Can you tell me about a time you coached someone?

60. Can you tell me about a time you interviewed someone?

61. Can you describe a time that you mentored someone? How did they improve?

62. Why is team building important?

63. How is communicating to executives different from communicating to working-level employees?

64. How is communicating with a customer different from communicating to internal employees?

65. What does costumer service excellence mean to you?

66. Have you resolved a dispute between coworkers? What techniques did you use?

67. How do you make sure that people are aware of your professional achievements?

68. How do you publicize your team's accomplishments?

69. How do you communicate project risks to stakeholders?

70. What does effective leadership mean to you?

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