Communication skills. The expression can mean a lot of things, but almost every employer will include them on the profile of an ideal job candidate.
How to describe your communication skills in a job interview? And should you change your answer according to the job you are trying to get? We will try to find the answers in this article, starting with sample answers to the question. Some from the answers below will work just fine for different variations of this question, such as “What is your communication style?“, or “How do you rate your communication skills?” Enjoy!
6 sample answers to “How would you describe your communication skills?”
- Before anything else, I would describe myself as a great listener. Life taught me that in both personal and professional relationships, listening is actually more important than talking. One has to listen to understand their colleagues, customers, business partners. And just when we understand them and their needs, we can deliver an excellent speech–be it a negotiation, sales talk, description of a problem, anything.
- Judging by experience, I would say that my communication skills are very good. I have never had a problem with explaining things to my colleagues, with leading meetings at work, but also with hearing critical feedback, or with dealing with rejection. Certainly we should never be completely satisfied, and we should always strive to improve on our communication skills, since they are vital for each good manager. But I would rate my communication skills as great.
- To be honest, I should definitely improve on my communication skills. I use professional jargon too much, and it often happens that people from outside of accounting department do not understand my words. But I am aware of my weakness, and try to eliminate it. I know my communication style doesn’t allow me to connect well with some colleagues, and I want to adjust it to my new job. That’s the goal for sure.
- I believe that I can motivate others with my words. I have a great understanding of the needs and wishes of other people, and I can typically find the right words in every situation. Be it a conflict, crisis of motivation, or just a typical daily team meeting–I know what to say to the people. At least that is my impression, but of course learning never stops. I can find myself in a situation when I would not know what to say. If it happens, I will try to learn from it.
- I think it would be better to ask my former colleagues, subordinates, superiors. I had the feeling that we went along quite well. We didn’t have many conflicts, and when a conflict started, we could get over it quickly. I always tried to understand my colleagues, their views and expectations. Perhaps that helped me to find right words in almost every moment. But as I said, this is only my impression. It would be better if you asked my colleagues directly how they would describe my communication skills.
- My communication style is pretty much straightforward. This is a fast-paced working environment, and I cannot afford spending ten minutes going round and round with my blabber, without clearly expressing my point to the recipient of the message. Hence I try my best to clearly express what I need or want to say, and make sure the other person understood my message. That’s how I’d describe my communication style.
Listening skills–the holy grail of communication
Regardless of whether you try to get a job of a secretary, manager, programmer, teacher, sales representative, or a nanny–or any other job–listening skills are always important. When you describe yourself as a good listener you will always say something an employer wants to hear.
Remember though that your words (your description of yourself) should correspond with the impression you make on the hiring managers. For example, if you struggle to talk to the point, or ask interviewers to repeat their questions, or forget something and ask about it twice, or interrupt them in the middle of a sentence, they won’t have a reason to trust your words (about your excellent listening skills).
To demonstrate excellent listening skills in an interview is actually more important than to boast about them. Keep it on your mind, and try to pay attention to the words of your interviewers.
Ability to give clear orders matters for managerial jobs
Once you have subordinates in your work, it is important to have an ability to give them clear instruction on a daily basis. Unless people understand what you want from them, they won’t be able to follow your orders.
Your ability to explain difficult things in a simple way, or in a language of common people if you want, is pivotal in this case. Once again, the key is to say the right thing (when they ask you to describe your communication skills), and demonstrate it with proper behavior and communication in an interview.
For example, you should avoid technicalities or lengthy sentences. Hiring managers have to understand you clearly if you want to convince them that your future colleagues will understand your directions.
Special tip: This question won’t be the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent (or great) job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, and eventually outclass your competitors and get the job. Check some sample answers directly on the product page and see for yourself. Thank you!
Humility can help you big time, especially when rating your communication skills
One of the underrated interview strategies (for job seekers) consists in offering modest answers. Think about it for a minute: Most interviewers are skilled enough to rate your communication skills, to tell whether you are a good listener, talk to the point, give clear orders to other people. They do not need to directly ask you about your communication skills.
But they may still do so, for different reasons. If you come up with a modest answer, saying that you could actually improve on your communication skills (or on certain skill in particular), and later on surprise them with your actual level of communication skills (while you answer one question after another), you can easily win them over with your modest approach and your desire to always improve.
Should you adjust your answer to the particular interview?
You can certainly make some adjustments. For example, ability to understand needs of a customer and to translate them into an effective sales speech in important for each sales manager, account executive, or any other sales professional.
Ability to talk in an entertaining way, one that can make an audience truly interested in your subject, matters for all teachers, tutors, coaches, trainers, etc.
But if you are not sure which skill matter for any given position, you can always bet on listening skills. Because great listening skills will help you in any job (and in your personal life as well).
Summary, next steps
Everyone can boast about their communication skills, or about any other ability. Surely, a good answer to “how would you describe your communication skills?” can help you in an interview. But what matters the most is whether you can backup your claims with your behavior and reactions.
Try to listen carefully to each question of your interviewers. Do not interrupt them in the middle of the sentence. Keep an eye contact, and try to talk to the point. Avoid technical language or urban language or any other expressions your interviewers may not understand. And do not forget on your tone of voice–there should be some energy, some excitement.
Once you manage to do these things in an interview, they won’t have a reason to doubt your excellent communication skills. That should be your goal at the end.
Continue your interview preparation with other tough questions: