How to Assess a Candidate’s Communication Skills

An interviewer explains the company's commitment to DEI.

Communication skills are crucial for almost all jobs, so it’s essential to know how to assess a candidate’s skills before making an offer. While you can tell a candidate’s written skills from their resume and cover letter, the interview is the best time to assess their verbal skills. Here’s how to make the most of the interview.

Interview Questions You Can Ask to Assess a Candidate’s Communication Skills

We’ve pulled together ten interview questions you can ask to evaluate a candidate’s verbal skills. It’s helpful to consider how a candidate has handled a situation or how they’d navigate a hypothetical situation and how well they explain it to you in the interview.

For example you may want to consider:

  • Are they engaging?
  • Is their answer clear?
  • Did they share a story with a beginning, middle, and end?

Ask Behavioral Interview Questions

Behavioral interview questions require candidates to share examples of times they’ve used the skill in the past. Depending on the role, you could assess a candidate’s communication skills by asking:

  • Tell me about a time you had to sell a product or service. Please pitch it to me.
  • Describe a time you collaborated on a long-term project. How did you communicate with your team to make sure the project was successful?
  • What’s an example of a time you worked with an angry customer. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you had to pitch a proposal to executives. How did you develop and present your pitch?
  • What’s a time you hit your monthly sales goals? What strategies did you use to sell to new and existing customers or clients?

Ask Situational Interview Questions 

Situational interview questions require candidates to explain how they’d deal with hypothetical situations they’d be likely to face if they were hired. Depending on the role, you could evaluate the candidate’s communication skills by asking:

  • How would you sell me our [product or service]?
  • What would be your process for writing and pitching a proposal to executives to get their buy-in?
  • How would you deal with an angry customer who was yelling at you?
  • If you get the job, you’ll be managing a 50-person team. How would you communicate with the entire team and your direct reports? For example, would you host daily, weekly, or monthly meetings? What would be the agenda or talking points you’d share?
  • What would you do if you disagreed with a coworker on a strategy. How would you explain your point of view?

Find Candidates With the Skills You Need

Reach qualified candidates who have the necessary communication skills to be an asset to your team. Get started with a free job posting on Monster.