Interview Questions to Address Interpersonal Skills

A candidate’s resume offers valuable information about the person’s skills, experience, and most recent work.  But it gives little away regarding the candidate’s personality, communication style, or interpersonal skills – all key elements of working as part of a team and as part of the company as a whole.

Digging into a candidate’s interpersonal skills and self-awareness is best done during the interview, when face-to-face communication can bring out facets of the individual that can’t be communicated on paper.  To learn more about a candidate’s interpersonal abilities and his or her own awareness of these abilities or weak points, consider asking questions like:

  • What are three factors that make you an effective, valued co-worker?  What would your supervisor say are the three top factors that make you effective and valued?
  • Tell me about a time you were involved in a conflict.  How were you involved, and how was the situation eventually resolved?  What happened next?
  • How do you respond to people with different personalities?  How do you work with people whose personalities are very different from your own?
  • How well do you handle change?  Can you give me an example?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with a friend, or with a co-worker who became a friend.  What did you do to ensure the friendship had positive results for your company?
  • If you have supervised staff in the past, how do you think these staff members would describe your relationship with them?
  • When you enter a new workplace, how do you go about meeting and developing relationships with your new co-workers and your supervisors?

When asking a candidate how they would approach certain situations, you should follow up by asking for a specific example of a time that they faced this situation and how they handled it. This will help ensure that you’re not just getting “the right answer,” but rather an answer that is found in reality.

As the candidate answers each question, listen for clues that reveal how the candidate solves problems and resolves conflicts with peers and supervisors.  Top candidates will demonstrate that they have built effective relationships with both co-workers and supervisors, and that they are aware of their own strengths or weaknesses when it comes to addressing conflict and solving problems.

At TERRA Staffing, our experienced recruiters partner with employers to locate top candidates who also make a great cultural fit with your organization and provide support throughout the entire interview process. To learn more about the recruiting services we offer, contact us today.

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