Interview Tip: How to Describe Your Communication Style

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How should a candidate answer the interview question, “How would you describe your communication style?”

To help you respond to an interview question about your style of communication, we asked hiring experts and HR managers for their best insights. From claiming to be assertive to being honest and transparent, we received several suggestions that may help you answer that “communication” question during your next interview.

Here are twelve tips for describing your style of communication:

1. Claim to Be Assertive

Interviewers who ask this question often want candidates to weigh in based on the four basic communication styles consisting of passive, aggressive, persuasive, and assertive. Of these styles, assertive tends to be the most ideal answer for a job interview. Assertive communicators are direct yet not overbearing, and aim to be clear and concise when conveying a message. Even if the interviewer does not expect the applicant to reference these principles, claiming to have an assertive style can signal confidence and effectiveness. When making this claim, be sure to use concrete examples of the approach.

Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding

2. Showcase Your Ability to Be Logical and Decisive

Legal clients need the lawyers representing them to have a firm grasp of the facts of a case. They also need their lawyers to be able to communicate those facts to others. Clients most often seek counsel that can lead a judge and jury to logical, evidence-based conclusions. So, when it comes to the legal field, I want to see candidates who are capable of communicating logically, clearly, and decisively. Showcase your ability to appeal to reason, not emotion.

Court Will, Will & Will

3. State That You’re Direct, On‑Time, and Collaborative

The inevitable question, “How would you describe your communication style?” should be an easy and detailed answer for any candidate, with the correct response being you have, and should have already, a direct, on‑time, collaborative communication style. These are by far the most important traits every good employee should have within their workplace. Being direct with your employees when there are issues in the workplace or responses needed to be taken care of ASAP can be the difference maker in the quality of work and how fast work can get done from day to day. This also relates to being on‑time, as no one wants to wait days or weeks for a response when they need a question answered or problem resolved. Another important aspect of this response is being collaborative with your communication style, as working with your teammates or people you wouldn’t ordinarily work with can produce effective results, since extra hands and minds can always create new ideas and solutions.

James Burati, 1-800-PackRat

4. Use The DiSC Personality Assessment Framework

During a job interview, candidates should describe their communication style using the DiSC personality model. It means that they describe themselves as dominating, influential, confident, or steady. By doing so, job seekers demonstrate their knowledge of the topic and their awareness of how they communicate. Recruiters highly value both qualities.

Karolina Zajac, Passport Photo Online

5. Take a Holistic Approach

You can stand out by outlining why communication is essential. If you can explain why communication skills are so crucial for every aspect of a business, you will stand out from the crowd. From there, you can build on your skills such as interpersonal relationship building, being in tune with body language, and being a good listener. Showing a holistic approach to communication will set you apart from other candidates.

Tyler Read, Personal Trainer Pioneer

6. Be Clear and Effective

I like to see candidates who know how to communicate effectively in meetings and over email. With many employees being remote or hybrid over the past few years, people are inundated daily with emails. That is why it is important to communicate key information in the shortest amount of words. Additionally, being a clear and effective communicator is also knowing when to bring key people in on certain items or discussions. So, I would hope that candidates answer this question in a way that showcases how they are an effective and clear communicator.

Thorin Yee, Best Companies AZ

7. Show You’re Relationship-Oriented

I’m impressed by those who take a one-on-one approach to communication, really seeking to forge personal connections with others. If they were to ask me to grab a coffee with them, it would be hard not to notice their effort to build rapport. However they demonstrate it, they should show a willingness to sit down face to face, and really talk. A communication style like that can get things done especially in real estate.

Lily Yu, Oak Springs Realty

8. Use the Magic Word: Flexible

One of the magic buzzwords that hiring managers love to hear when describing a candidate’s communication style is “flexible.” Different inquiries call for different types of responses. Sometimes communication needs to be concise and fact-driven. Other times it needs to be persuasive. Other times, you need to subtly convey emotion and feeling. Not only that, different mediums of communication can change the message. In short, different scenarios require different forms of messaging. That is why all great communicators are flexible. They adapt to the situation, adjusting their chosen medium, messaging style, tone, and length. You need to be like rubber when replying to business communications. So let the interviewer know that. Explain the importance of being flexible and how you’ve adapted communications in the past with an example or two. There might not be a right or wrong answer to this question, but saying you’re flexible surely won’t get you in trouble.

John Ross, Test Prep Insight

9. Emphasize What You Value in Communication

Emphasize your values in terms of communication. Rather than simply describing your communication style, explain why you communicate this way and why this matters to you. For example, if you tend to communicate slowly and clearly, you could elaborate on the idea that you want to make sure that people definitely understand what you are saying when you are speaking so that everyone involved in the conversation is on the same page. By revealing your reasoning behind your communication style, the interviewer will get to know not only your habits, but more about you as a person.

Matt Miller, Embroker

10. Describe Your Abilities to Connect on Any Platform

Regardless of how they interact with management and their colleagues, I’d like them to talk about being friendly while communicating through any medium. More companies than ever before have gone remote or hybrid, straining traditional communication methods. It’s essential that candidates show they can communicate in whatever way is asked of them. A willingness to connect in even the most unorthodox of ways is impressive.

Ed Stevens, Preciate

11. Show Off Your Knowledge

Whenever I speak to a candidate, I want to come away thinking he or she is well informed. The way a candidate communicates is critically important during a job interview. I want to see that person have some knowledge. I like detailed responses to questions, and I want to see that someone has done some homework before an interview. Glibness and smugness are turn‑offs. Interviewers want to see a breadth of knowledge from their candidates — or at the very least a willingness to learn. In that case, candidates should enter an interview armed with their own series of questions. That’s a sign of a strong communicator, someone willing and ready to ask questions. Smart, inquisitive candidates make the best impressions.

Jon Carder, Vessel Health

12. Be Honest and Transparent

I am responsible for interviewing new employees and freelancers, and “How would you describe your communication style?” is something I always ask. But is there a correct answer to that question? Yes and no. As a psychologist, I can easily spot if the talent is lying to me. For example, if they tell me they’re a fairly open, straight-forward communicator while not looking me in the eyes — they’re lying. Body language can tell you more about the communication style of the person than their words. But if the same person is being honest about the communication challenges they experience, they have a higher chance of getting hired. Modern day businesses value transparency. So there is no one right answer to the question, “How would you describe your communication style?” Just be honest.

Cynthia Halow, PersonalityMax

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