Interview Question: "Describe Your Communication Skills" (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Communication skills are valuable interpersonal skills that many professionals develop as a part of their careers. Because effective communication's important to many positions, hiring managers often ask candidates about their communication skills during interviews. Preparing for interview questions about these key skills can give you confidence and ensure that your responses show your qualifications. In this article, we explain why employers ask you to describe your communication skills in an interview, show you how to answer this question and provide examples to guide you in your interview preparation.

Why do employers ask you to describe your communication skills?

A hiring manager might ask about your communication skills to measure your skills for the position. While communication skills are valuable to many careers, some jobs might require candidates with very strong skills in this area. For example, client-facing positions like customer service representatives, sales representatives and support staff might use communication skills to resolve customer issues and provide effective service. If the position you hope to get relies on communication skills, this question can give you an opportunity to show the hiring manager that you have the skills to be successful.

A hiring manager might also ask you to describe your communication skills in order to decide whether your communication style aligns with the organization. If an organization's leadership believes in honest communication and emphasizes openness through anonymous surveys and town hall meetings, their hiring manager might prefer candidates who share that commitment. You can use this question as an opportunity to measure the organization's fit for your preferred communication style as well. After you explain your communication skills, consider asking the hiring manager about how the organization's culture affects the way employees communicate with each other.

Related: Communication Skills for Career Success

How to answer, "Describe your communication skills"

Here are some steps you can take to respond to a hiring manager who asks you about your communication skills:

1. Connect your communication skills to the job description

Before your interview, review the job description to identify key skills that the position might require, including communication skills. Hiring managers often ask questions about the job's responsibilities and skills, so you can often prepare answers by carefully reading the job posting. That way, you can connect your response to your desired position and highlight your qualifications. For example, if the interview's for a receptionist position, think about the kinds of people you might communicate with and the skills you might need, like empathy and active listening.

Related: 4 Different Ways To Communicate Effectively in the Workplace

2. Think about multiple communication skills

Communication skills include a wide range of abilities, and giving an answer that considers multiple skills can show the hiring manager the range of your qualifications. You might also think about your skills in different communication methods, like emails, group chats and video calls. When preparing for this question, consider how you incorporate the following communication skills into your daily work:

  • Listening actively

  • Responding in a timely manner

  • Paraphrasing

  • Sharing feedback

  • Showing empathy

  • Communicating to groups

  • Understanding nonverbal cues

Related: Active Listening Skills for Successful Communication

3. Use an example from your prior professional experience

Before your interview, you might reflect on your related professional experiences and identify times when you used your communication skills to improve your performance or resolve an issue. Using authentic examples from your professional experience in your interview can show the hiring manager evidence of your qualifications. You can use the STAR method to create this part of your response:

  1. Describe the situation

  2. Clarify your task

  3. Explain the action you took

  4. List the results

4. Use strong communication skills throughout the interview

The hiring manager may ask you to describe your communications skills in a few sentences, but you can also show your skills during the entire interview process. If you show strong communication skills that align with your description, it can give you an advantage in the hiring process. Here are some ways you can show your communication skills during the interview:

  • Introduce yourself to everyone you meet in the office

  • Maintain eye contact while speaking to the hiring manager

  • Ask clarifying questions to understand questions

  • Nod to show that you are listening when the hiring manager speaks

Related: How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview

Example answers to the interview question, "Describe your communication skills"

Here are some example answers that you can use to prepare your response to this interview question:

Example 1:

"I've always relied heavily on my communication skills to be successful as a customer service representative because our work focuses on listening to the other person and working with them to reach a solution. When I'm on the phone with a customer, I make sure they know I'm listening by paraphrasing and asking clarifying questions, and I try to show a lot of empathy, especially if someone feels frustrated.

"A few months ago, I worked with a customer who was upset when she called in because her order hadn't arrived. It had gotten trapped in customs and she was on a tight schedule and needed the shipment. I listened to her frustrations and told her I understood. We tried to resolve the issue with customs, but that didn't work. Ultimately, we expedited a shipment to her using a different carrier. She was so happy she put in a second order with us on the phone right away."

Example 2:

"In my engineering management career, I've always considered communication to be a really important part of leading a team. Although software engineers often have their own tasks to accomplish, my management style uses constant communication and feedback to make sure everyone knows their goals. I try to ensure my team knows they can come to me with any questions or suggestions and I am very accessible through chat software. I also like to have daily meetings with my team so we can freely talk to each other about the day's projects.

"Last year, one of my engineers had an idea for a new feature to one of our projects, but he needed help figuring out how it would work and how to implement it. We spent several meetings drafting ideas together and talking about the different aspects of the new feature. It took time, but our meetings and communication led to a successful new feature that we incorporated into subsequent projects."

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