12 Skills-Based Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 12, 2022

An interview allows hiring managers to learn more about a candidate's abilities in the workplace. If you're preparing for an interview, you may expect the hiring manager to ask you questions about your skills. Reviewing some of the most common skills-based interview questions can help you prepare to highlight them.

In this article, we discuss the importance of skills-based interview questions and provide you with 12 sample questions with answers.

What are skills-based interview questions?

Skills-based interview questions are those that reveal a candidate's proficiencies in the workplace. A skills-based interview differs from a competency-based interview because it focuses on soft and hard skills instead of questions that measure your ability to do a specific job. The purpose of a skills-based interview is to learn more about the general skills that make you a good team member, listener, communicator or leader.

Skills-based interviews measure things like a potential candidate's self-awareness of integrity. It allows hiring managers to learn more about a person's personality, helping them decide if they fit in with the company culture.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Adaptability skills interview questions

Adaptability is important in the workplace because it shows a candidate's ability and willingness to adjust to new projects. It can also show the productivity capabilities of a candidate. Here are a few interview questions that measure adaptability:

1. You're working on a project with clear guidelines. The day before the deadline, the client asks you to change the focus. How do you handle this?

This interview question asks you to describe a specific situation when you might adapt to a change. When answering, be sure to include specific details about the situation and how you adjusted to the change in expectations.

Example: "My team and I were a few hours away from completing a project that had taken us months. We met with the client for a final review, when they changed the focus altogether. Our team broke down the additional tasks, evenly dividing them among team members, and determined a new, realistic timeline. We went back to the client for approval and were able to complete the project just one week later."

2. How do you organize a last-minute project to ensure you meet its due date?

This interview question requests information on how you adapt to last-minute projects. Be sure to include the methods you use in organizing and meeting strict due dates.

Example: "I break down each aspect of a project and assign a time value to each task. Then, I input them into my schedule, deciding how I can allocate my time. I also leave a few hours toward the due date in case anything unexpected comes up or something takes longer than I plan."

Related: Adaptability in the Workplace: Benefits and Importance

Communication skills interview questions

The ability to communicate both verbally and in writing helps you set clear goals, provide direction and interact efficiently with team members of all levels. Here are some communication skills interview questions you may receive:

1. Tell me about a time when miscommunication affected your work performance

This interview question not only measures self-awareness but also your ability to continue improving your communication skills. Think of a time when communication could have been better in the workplace and explain the situation, task, action and result, including how better communication could've led to better results.

Example: "In my previous position, I got into the habit of exclusively communicating with a client over email. He changed the direction of the project I was working on a few weeks before the due date. I interpreted the change one way, only to find out later that he was envisioning something different. If I'd called him to clarify, I might have gotten the project right on the first try. I learned from my mistake and now seek additional information if the directions aren't clear."

2. How do you ensure engagement during a presentation?

This question measures your presentation and communication skills. This is a good time to share any tips you use to make presentations more engaging. You can also highlight nonverbal communication skills, like the ability to recognize confusion or misunderstanding.

Example: "I frequently check in with the audience when I'm conducting a presentation. If my audience appears confused or disinterested, I try to engage them by asking questions that can help them relate to my topic. Following the conclusion of each presentation, I ask participants to complete an anonymous survey so I can work on improving even further."

Related: 10 Communication Skills for Career Success

Decision-making skills interview questions

Decision-making skills are important because many careers require team members to make decisions that directly affect the business. Skills-based interview questions that inquire about decision-making skills allow you to demonstrate the process that goes into making important decisions. Here are a few decision-making interview questions you may receive:

1. How do you decide to allocate funds for a client's ad budget?

This interview question requests information about a candidate's ability to make decisions. Include a situation in your answer, while also discussing the steps that you took to come to that decision. This may illustrate your organizational abilities too.

Example: "First, I collect any data I have from the client, such as previous advertising campaigns and their performance rates. Then, I consider the client's current goals and make any necessary adjustments. I then create a proposed budget and send it to them for review to make sure I'm not missing any important goals."

2. Tell me about a workplace decision that was difficult

This question asks for a specific situation in your professional career that involves a difficult decision. Use the STAR method and provide the necessary details to discuss what made it difficult. This can also demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.

Example: "In my previous position, I had the decision to stay in sales where I was comfortable, or move to a management position. While I aspired to manage others, I'm more comfortable on the sales floor. I made a list of the pros and cons before deciding that moving to management is the challenge I wanted. I found that I prefer mentoring others and helping them find their comfort in sales."

Interpersonal skills interview questions

Interpersonal skills are important in the workplace because they demonstrate a candidate's ability to interact with others. Here are a few examples of interpersonal skills interview questions:

1. What are your strengths and weaknesses regarding interpersonal skills?

This question helps a hiring manager understand what interpersonal skills you have and which ones you might want to develop. Include both a strength and a weakness and a specific action you're taking to improve them.

Example: "I find it easy to get along with most coworkers and I'd consider my adaptability to be a strength. I also find that I have a hard time saying no to coworkers when they ask me for a favor. I've learned that boundaries are important, especially if taking on a favor affects my performance, so I now give myself more time before responding."

2. Tell me about a time when you struggled to collaborate with a team member

A hiring manager may ask this to assess how you handle conflict. Answer by describing the situation and any relevant circumstances. This demonstrates your self-reflection and ability to understand different types of people.

Example: "My previous supervisor and I didn't always get along well. After weeks of reflection, I concluded that he's a more technical thinker, while I'm more creative. I realized that a lot of his feedback was because he wanted me to include more data and evidence to support my presentations. I learned to adjust and found it easier to meet his expectations."

Related: Non-Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Leadership skills interview questions

Leadership skills are necessary for the workplace, especially if you're in a supervisory or management position. Questions about these skills allow a hiring professional to learn more about a candidate's ability to effectively lead a team. Here are a few leadership skills interview questions:

1. Tell me about a time when you led a project

This question asks for a situation that demonstrates your leadership skills. Include the results and how this project influenced your current leadership skills.

Example: "In my last position, my supervisor was out on unexpected leave. We had a huge project due at the end of the month and, with little direction, no one knew what to do. I called a meeting with my team so everyone knew what everyone else's role was. Through the process of elimination, I identified the parts of the project my supervisor was likely handling and delegated them to team members. We completed the project in time for my supervisor to return and the client to approve the project."

2. What is your leadership style?

This interview question helps a hiring manager assess what type of leader you are in the workplace. Reviewing the different types of leadership and choosing the one that best reflects your style can help you create an answer to this question.

Example: "I consider myself to have a coaching leadership style. This means I recognize the strengths and weaknesses of my team members, while also motivating them to improve in certain areas. I'm comfortable giving feedback and creating an environment that's both rewarding and challenging. My goals include being supportive of my team and helping them recognize their value and the value of other teammates."

Customer service skills interview questions

Many positions require customer service skills. Customer service skills demonstrate a potential candidate's ability to offer support and guidance to customers in a sales environment. Here are a few interview questions that measure your customer service skills:

1. How do you handle the situation when you're unable to provide a customer with the exact product they want?

This question allows you to demonstrate how you might treat a customer when you can't solve their problem. Use your answer to show your understanding of the customer's frustration. You can also list the techniques you use to improve their experience.

Example: "First, I apologize for not meeting the customer's expectations. I then offer them an alternative to a product that's similar to the one they wanted. If I'm still unable to improve their experience, I ask them what else I can do to make up for the inconvenience, possibly referring them to my supervisor if I'm limited in what I can offer them."

2. What does good customer service mean to you?

This open-ended question allows a hiring manager to understand how you approach customer service. You can use this opportunity to discuss any skills that you want to emphasize. Include abilities that improve the customer experience.

Example: "Good customer service, to me, means respecting the customer's time and helping them in any way possible. I usually let the customer guide me on their needs because a good experience may vary between customers. I ask the customer what I can do to make their experience better so I can continue improving my customer service skills."

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