Best Interpersonal Skills Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

June 21, 2023

best interpersonal skills interview questions to ask candidates

As interviewers, it is crucial to assess a candidate's ability to navigate complex relationships, collaborate effectively, and communicate with finesse.

To uncover the true potential of candidates in these areas, asking the right interpersonal skills interview questions is essential.

In this article, we will explore a curated selection of the best interpersonal skills interview questions that can help you identify top talent, build cohesive teams, and foster a positive work environment.

Why should you ask interpersonal skills interview questions?

Interviewers should ask interpersonal skills interview questions because these skills play a pivotal role in the success of any individual within a professional setting.

By assessing a candidate's interpersonal skills, you can gauge their ability to collaborate effectively, communicate clearly, and build positive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders.

Ultimately, by evaluating interpersonal skills, you can make informed hiring decisions and select candidates who possess the necessary qualities to thrive in their roles and contribute positively to the overall success of the organization.

Best interpersonal skills interview questions

Let's dive in and discover the key to unlocking the interpersonal potential of your future team members.

1. Tell me about a time when you had to adapt your communication style to suit a particular audience.

Communication is not one-size-fits-all. Effective communicators can adapt their style based on who they're speaking with and what the situation requires. This might involve changing their tone, level of formality, or even the medium they're using to communicate.

The candidate's response to this question will help assess their ability to understand and empathize with different people's communication needs and preferences. It can also show their ability to listen and adjust their behavior based on feedback or context clues.

2. Tell me about a time when you helped a colleague or team member who was struggling. How did you approach the situation, and what was the outcome?

Empathy and willingness to help others are key attributes of a good team player. This question aims to assess the candidate's ability and willingness to support their colleagues in times of difficulty.

The candidate's answer can reveal their level of emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, and sense of team responsibility. It can also show whether they can balance their own work responsibilities with assisting others, a crucial skill for maintaining a collaborative and supportive work culture.

3. Can you recall a time when there was a misunderstanding or miscommunication with a colleague or client?

This question evaluates how the candidate deals with conflict and their conflict-resolution skills.

Misunderstandings and miscommunication can often lead to conflict, which if not addressed effectively, can damage work relationships and productivity.

The candidate's answer can reveal their ability to maintain composure, their approach to problem-solving, and their capacity to empathize with and understand others' perspectives. It can also show their ability to take responsibility for their own role in the misunderstanding, an important aspect of emotional intelligence.

4. Can you talk about a time you had to extract information from someone who wasn't very communicative? What strategies did you use?

This question examines the candidate's perseverance, tactfulness, and problem-solving skills in a challenging interpersonal situation

Information gathering is crucial in many roles, and it's not uncommon to encounter individuals who are not responsive or cooperative.

The candidate's response will show how they navigate these challenges, maintain professionalism, and use influence to achieve the necessary outcomes. This ability is important in roles that require negotiation, persuasion, or managing difficult relationships.

5. Can you describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult coworker or client? How did you handle it?

best interpersonal skills interview questions to ask candidates

Conflict management and resilience are crucial skills in any professional environment. This question not only explores a candidate's ability to navigate difficult relationships but also provides insight into their conflict resolution techniques and adaptability in uncomfortable situations.

Their response can help you determine if they approach such situations with a level-headed, empathetic attitude or resort to negative behaviors.

It also evaluates the candidate's problem-solving skills, examining if they can maintain composure, understand the other party's perspective, identify the issue's root cause, and implement a solution that maintains the relationship's integrity.

6. Tell me about a time when you had to work as part of a team to accomplish a goal. What was your role, and how did you contribute to the team's success?

Teams form the core of many businesses, and an individual's ability to function effectively within a team is critical.

This question helps you assess whether a candidate can work well with others, how they view their roles and responsibilities within a team, and their ability to collaborate with a diverse range of people.

It also provides insights into their communication style and how they handle disagreements or differing viewpoints.

7. Can you give an example of a time when you received criticism? How did you react and what did you learn from it?

An individual's ability to accept and learn from criticism is key to personal and professional development.

This question helps you assess a candidate's humility, emotional intelligence, and openness to learning.

It also gauges how they handle negative feedback, whether they react defensively or are open to examining their faults, reflecting on their actions, and taking steps to improve.

These are crucial elements for maintaining a culture of continuous learning and improvement in the organization.

8. Describe a situation where you had to persuade someone to see things your way. What strategies did you use and what was the outcome?

Persuasion and influence are important skills in many roles, from sales to management.

This question provides insight into a candidate's ability to understand and respect differing viewpoints, use compelling arguments, and communicate effectively to influence others.

It reveals their strategic thinking and planning capabilities as well as their creativity in coming up with persuasive strategies.

Their response can also demonstrate their emotional intelligence, illustrating their ability to empathize with others and adjust their communication style accordingly.

9. What steps do you typically take to establish and maintain relationships with your colleagues?

This question seeks to understand the proactive measures a candidate takes to create and sustain positive relationships in the workplace.

It gauges their social skills, their approach to networking, and their commitment to a supportive, collaborative culture.

The candidate's answer will indicate their awareness of the importance of interpersonal relationships for career success and the health of the organization.

10. Describe a situation where you managed to build a strong relationship with a difficult colleague or client. How did you handle it?

best interpersonal skills interview questions to ask candidates

This question is essential as it gives the candidate an opportunity to display their capacity for emotional intelligence, patience, and tenacity.

It also assesses the candidate's ability to persevere and forge connections, even in challenging circumstances. Their answer could reveal strategies they've used for relationship building and overcoming interpersonal barriers, which are valuable assets in a cooperative and collaborative work environment.

11. Tell me about a time when you had to present an idea or proposal to a group. How did you ensure your message was effectively communicated and understood?

Communication is a vital aspect of interpersonal skills, and this question allows the candidate to showcase their abilities in conveying their ideas clearly and effectively.

It gives insight into their understanding of audience, their ability to simplify complex ideas, their presentation skills, and how they handle questions or objections.

12. Can you describe a time when you had to empathize with someone else's situation at work? How did you respond?

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is a critical interpersonal skill.

This question probes the candidate's level of empathy and their approach when others are experiencing difficulties.

It also sheds light on their emotional intelligence and capacity to maintain a supportive and understanding environment at work.

13. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a team to meet a tight deadline. What was your approach, and how did you manage the stress?

This question assesses the candidate's ability to work under pressure while maintaining effective relationships within the team.

It gives insights into their time management, stress management, and collaboration skills.

It can also reveal their resourcefulness, flexibility, and resilience, which are crucial in a fast-paced, high-pressure work environment.

14. How have you handled a situation where a colleague didn't agree with your ideas or plans?

Disagreements are common in the workplace, and how one manages these situations speaks volumes about their interpersonal skills.

This question examines the candidate's conflict resolution skills and their ability to accept and respect diverse perspectives.

Their response can reveal their problem-solving skills, their willingness to compromise, and their ability to maintain positive relationships despite differences of opinion.

15. Can you describe a time when you had to manage a conflict between two colleagues? How did you handle it, and what was the resolution?

Interpersonal conflicts are inevitable in any team or workplace setting, and how an individual navigates and resolves these conflicts can significantly affect the overall team dynamics, productivity, and work environment.

By asking this question, you can assess if the candidate is capable of addressing conflicts in a fair, impartial, and constructive manner, and if they have the skills to foster positive relationships among team members. This is particularly crucial for roles that involve team management or leadership.

Is there another way to assess interpersonal skills?

While interview questions offer valuable insights, an interpersonal skills test allows for a more objective evaluation.

The test presents candidates with hypothetical scenarios where they have to handle a difficult colleague, resolve a conflict between team members, or respond to a challenging customer. Their responses can be evaluated based on their ability to listen actively, express themselves clearly, remain composed under pressure, and find collaborative solutions.

Head over to our interpersonal skills test page to see how it works.

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