Imagine you are a builder getting ready to build a house – prepared to go with your tool kit and hammer in hand. Yet, one thing is missing. You forgot all of the nails needed to connect the interior and there’s no way to build without that core tool. You, quite literally, hit a wall and hard as you try you just can’t move forward with your work.

So, what are we getting at here? Simply put, interpersonal skills are like nails. They are the communication and conflict management tools which allow us to connect with the people around us and have positive interactions on a daily basis.

An employee can have all the hard skills that the company requires, but if he doesn’t have the ‘tools’ to connect to people then he is going to have a hard time building his success in the company.

The seven super powers

Interpersonal skills are powerful; they arm you with seven core super powers. Each of these influence your performance in the workplace and give you an advantage over other workers. An employee who possesses all of these traits can, without a doubt, be called a superhero!

How can interpersonal skills help build your career?

Possessing interpersonal skills can contribute to your growth in any position you take and assists in the development of any company you work for. These are life-long skills which will give you a push forward in the right direction. How so?

Take a look:

Leadership qualities: Being a leader in a company means taking charge so that others will follow; like a bird leading its flock during the migration season. Leaders are proactive when assigned a valuable role. If you have great interpersonal skills, your leadership qualities are sure to develop so that you can face challenges head on, communicate and delegate responsibilities for your team.

Interacting abilities: Socialising with your co-workers isn’t just a way to stall doing work; it’s actually an important factor in enhancing the company’s performance as well as your own. Some people are naturally social butterflies; whenever they spread their wings they are more likely to fly to the top.

Decision-making and problem-solving: Understanding how to deal with difficult situations enhances communication skills and changes how one thinks when handling a challenge up close in the workplace. You are sure to reach a solution faster and more easily when you have developed these skills through interacting and learning from others.

Why do interviewers ask interpersonal questions?

Interviewers know that, to be one of the best, you need to have more than just the hard skills. Being knowledgeable in specific services and being technically savvy is important, but it’s the soft skills that consider your personality, behaviour and communication skills.

Soft skills are the traits which are transferable and are applicable in everything you do. Additionally, they show just how well you work with a team and display your empathy, critical thinking and conflict resolution.

Interpersonal skills fall under this category; focusing on your emotional intelligence, the way you interact with others and how you deal with issues between people – so why wouldn’t your interviewer want to find out more?

Interpersonal skills sample questions and answers

Question How do you resolve conflicts at work? Answer: The point of this question is to address how you deal with problems between you and others. Interviewers are looking out for how composed and calm you are at the most challenging of times. Emphasise how professional you remain and how rational you are in making decisions.
Question: Do you like working with a team or alone? Answer: It’s obvious what the interviewer is trying to find out – namely, whether you are a team player or not. It’s okay to admit that you enjoy working alone, however, make sure to point out that working with a group has its benefits. Discuss your personal experiences working with a group and how they led to positive results.
Question: How do you motivate your team? Answer: Here you are demonstrating your communication skills and how attentive you are. Describe a time when you motivated your team by giving them positive feedback, a welcoming environment and a stimulating incentive to do their best.

How to improve your interpersonal skills

Working on your interpersonal skills can be done before, after and during your job interview. Regardless of whether you are at work or at home, you will find yourself in situations that you can learn from. During work especially, it is important to remain positive and confident throughout.

Tips to build your interpersonal skills:

  • Acquiring conflict resolution skills – Conflict is a common occurrence in the workplace; big decisions are being made by a diverse group with different ideas. Even personal skirmishes and disagreements happen. The trick to working through these issues is to remain calm, communicate problems in a professional way and be attentive to the needs of others as well as your own.
  • Emphasising teamwork – When you get caught up in a project at work but see that your co-workers are struggling, remember that supporting each other is the key to success. Be ready to pick up the slack or offer your assistance if your co-workers need a hand. Keep in mind that a strong team makes for a strong company.
  • Being tactful – Trusting your gut means knowing what to say when. Particularly when you are communicating with others. Be sure to maintain a professional tone and hold back any frustration you may feel towards your co-workers, boss and especially clients.
  • Enhancing communication skills – Being clear and expressive when you speak is a must. When you interact with others, you want them to not only understand you, but to also connect to you. Try to discuss topics which are familiar to the people you are talking with, be aware of your body language, think before you speak and LISTEN!

We at JobTestPrep are here to help you succeed throughout the hiring process. Prepare with our pre-employment tests and interview practice to improve your performance today.