It's important because even if your role in the company doesn't require a lot of communication, you will still need to deal with those you work with in a professional and personable manner.
In addition, regardless of the job, employers don't want to hire people who are difficult to get along with because that will cause workplace issues and conflicts. It can make sense to screen out applicants who don't have strong people skills, even if they have solid qualifications for the job.
Expanding Your Response
Candidates often say that they "enjoy working with people" but don't explain or expand upon their response. Anyone can say that they work well with people, but it's important to show hiring managers how you accomplish it.
How can you avoid the pitfall of giving a lame interview answer, but still make a viable point about your suitability for jobs requiring lots of interaction with people - and even for jobs which don't? What do you do that makes you a good people person at work? That's what the interviewer wants to know.
What's important is to show your prospective employer the skills you have and how you have used them in the workplace, using real-life examples.
Keys to Responding to Questions
The first key is to specify the types of interactions with people which are attractive to you or at which you are particularly adept. In addition to specifying how you work well with managers, co-workers, customers, vendors and others, you should also speak to what you accomplish during those interactions. Here are some examples:
- Assessing the skills, personality traits and work ethic of candidates by applying behavioral interviewing techniques.
- Motivating subordinates to improve performance.
- Leading group discussions in a way that incorporates diverse views and draws consensus.
- Developing a comfortable rapport with clients and determining their preferences for products and services.
- Listening actively and emphatically to encourage clients to share their feelings and problems.
- Creating and delivering training sessions which engage the audience in active learning.
- Providing difficult news to employees targeted for layoffs.
- Mediating conflicts between employees or with clients.
- Resolving customer complaints with patience and creativity.
The next key to interview success is to give examples of situations at work where you have used these people skills. Prepare concrete examples to convince employers that you actually possess those strengths.
Your examples should convey how, when, and where you applied your skills or interests and the outcomes. Personalize your examples so they reflect your skills and experience as they relate to the job for which you are applying.
Sample Interview Questions and Answers
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