Interviewing

How to Answer the Interview Question: What is Your Communication Style?

Marcie Wilmot

Certified Resume Writer, Career Coach, Business Writer


As a job searcher, you probably have so many questions about job searching. However, once you’ve landed an interview, your excitement takes your questions to a whole new level. What will you wear? Will you know how to answer all the questions? Have you practiced giving nice firm handshakes?

But as you get ready for your interview, remember that one of the most important things you can do is show that you’re a strong communicator. After all, no matter the type of job, employers want to hire individuals who can articulate their thoughts and opinions.

Although there are several ways interviewers can assess a candidate’s abilities in this area, one of the most common is to ask direct questions about their communication style. So, the purpose of this article is to explain how you should answer one of the most popularly asked interview questions: what is your communication style? So if you Googled “how to answer what is your communication style interview question” and ended up here, then perfect! Read on to learn exactly what to do the next time you get asked this question during a job interview.

Interview Question: What is Your Communication Style?

Communication Skills are Crucial to Almost Every Job

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your communication skills, but they play a tremendous role in the workplace. From a general perspective, how you communicate dictates how you will interact with and manage others. It is even a reflection of how you will respond to being managed. A good communicator usually excels at

  • collaborating with others
  • establishing meaningful client and colleague relationships
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • smoothing over conflicts
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It doesn’t matter the type of job because all of them benefit from excellent communication skills. That said, some occupations rely on this ability more than others. For example, a successful salesperson usually finds it easy to persuade others and explain complex concepts. Lawyers use their communication skills to influence and defend. Meanwhile doctors must be able to share life-saving information and facts. Even service jobs, like barbers and bartenders, use verbal and non-verbal communication.

Excellent communication skills permeate through every career to people build relationships, work with others, and excel in their careers. So, if you think this doesn’t apply to you, think again!

What the Interviewer Really Wants to Know?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you nail a question or two about communication, the interviewer will be 100% sold on your amazing communicative abilities. The truth is that they will be evaluating your communication skills the entire duration of the interview. It won’t be just a matter of what words you use. Interviewers are also assessing the following:

  • Are you an active listener?
  • Do you show respect?
  • Can you empathize with your coworkers?
  • How do you display your confidence?
  • Can you be direct, clear, and concise?
  • How do you make complex concepts simple?
  • What is your non-verbal communication like?

Interviewers assess these things based on the way you answer any interview question they throw at you. For the best chance to showcase your communication style in a positive light, it is so important to practice and prepare for interview questions in a way that puts you in a positive light.

How to Answer the Interview Question: What is Your Communication Style?

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Now that we’ve covered all the ways an interviewer will assess your ability to communicate, let’s talk about how exactly to respond if they ask you the question: what is your communication style?

First let’s briefly go over the four different communication styles that exist.

  1. Passive (tend to yield to others)
  2. Aggressive (speak loudly and intensely)
  3. Passive-aggressive (struggle to voice needs)
  4. Assertive (expressive and considerate)

Some people opt to simply describe their style of communication in general terms, while others provide one of these specific styles. No matter which option you choose, you’ll have to expound on it and potentially give examples. So, here are some tips that will help you give a complete answer to the question.

Claim to Be Assertive

Out of the four styles of communication, assertive is considered to be the best, depending on the role you are interviewing for (ie. salesperson, manager, etc.). It’s a balanced approach that respects the opinions of others while still conveying one’s one ideas, needs and feelings.

State That You’re Direct, On-Time, and Collaborative

Explain that when you communicate you always strive to do so in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. Also mention that you encourage others to share their viewpoints and beliefs.

Use the Magic Word: Flexible

A flexible communicator is someone who can adjust how they communicate based on the recipient. No matter your specific communication style, this is a great trait to have. It allows you to effectively communicate with different people and departments.

Showcase Your Ability to be Logical and Decisive

If you’re interviewing for a leadership position, it’s crucial that you emphasize your ability to be a logical and decisive communicator. This demonstrates your ability to converse and communicate effectively on the spot. Situations that call for this skill are dealing with angry customers, clients challenging you about your products, or other difficult situations where it is easy to get flustered. In these cases, demonstrate that you can speak with authority and influence others by using logic and reasoning.

Show Off Your Knowledge

As you explain and demonstrate your communication style, know that this is an opportunity to show off your knowledge. This way, it not only shows how knowledgeable you are. It also shows that you are able to communicate complex concepts in a way that others can understand.

Describe Your Abilities to Connect on Any Platform

With technology being quickly integrated in workplaces, showing your ability to connect with people on different platforms is a bonus. If you interview for a remote role, explain how effectively you communicate via email, video platforms, or other softwares that the company has invested in (ie. Slack, Microsoft Teams).

Think of Instances to Use as Evidence to Back Your Answer

It’s not always enough to just claim that you possess a certain skill (in this case, being an excellent communicator). Sometimes it’s necessary to back up your assertions with examples.

The best way to think about how to answer the interview question, what is your communication style, is by using the STAR interview method. Prior to the interview, think of some occasions when the way you communicated helped you accomplish objectives at work. Then as you talk with the interviewer, be sure to support those claims by describing the actions you took and the results of those actions. Stories and anecdotes, such as these, make for great examples to depict your communication style.

Tips for Always Giving the Best Answer

Below are some tips you can follow as you answer communication-related interview questions.

Don’t Forget About Non-Verbal Communication

Be cognizant of what your body language is communicating to the interviewer. Pay close attention to your facial expressions, posture, hand movements, and other body movements that may be distracting. Try to portray a relaxed, confident, and open

Articulate Carefully

The easiest way to make sure you articulate well is to practice situational interview questions. The more you prepare, the less caught off guard you will be. In the end, well prepared answers help keep you on your toes and ready to articulately respond to any question.

Practice Active Listening

Give the impression that you care about and understand what the interviewer is saying. Display this via your body language, positive affirmations, and thoughtful questions.

Key Takeaways

As you can see from this article, your communication skills matter to potential employers. They want assurance that you will be able to successfully interact with clients and colleagues, resolve conflicts, collaborate within teams, and more.

To show the interviewer you’re a great communicator

  • watch your body language
  • prepare for your interview questions
  • be an active listener
  • talk about your communication style honestly, clearly, and enthusiastically

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