Listening Skills Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Updated 30 September 2022

Preparing efficient responses to interview questions concerning your listening abilities can improve your chances of getting a job offer. A hiring manager can better identify whether a candidate can handle workplace challenges and accomplish job requirements if the candidate can exhibit their listening qualities through comprehensive anecdotes. You can improve your preparation tactics by reviewing some typical questions concerning listening skills. In this article, we define listening skills interview questions, explain why interviewers ask these questions and share some sample answers.

What are listening skills interview questions?

Listening skills interview questions are queries that focus on your ability to gather information and insights from a conversation partner in the workspace. Hiring managers typically enquire about your listening abilities to discover how you would carry out supervisory instructions and approach decision-making procedures, as incorporating the viewpoints of others may often improve your work efforts. These questions may ask you to explain a circumstance from a past job that necessitated the use of active listening skills to overcome challenges.

Given below are some key listening skills you can emphasise in your responses:

  • understanding verbal information

  • assessing a message

  • asking follow-up enquiries

  • providing appropriate feedback in response

  • recollecting information in the future

What are listening skills?

In the communication process, listening refers to the capacity to correctly hear and analyse information. Listening entails paying attention not just to the information a conversation partner provides, but also to the person conveying it, including the use of language, voice and the other person's body language. It entails being attentive to both verbal and nonverbal cues. Effective communication necessitates the ability to listen. The degree to which you notice and interpret this information determines your capacity to listen actively.

Listening is a process that requires active participation. The listener is just as involved as the speaker in the process of communication. The act of being attentive to what a speaker is saying and demonstrating knowledge by asking pertinent questions, gesturing and summarising is called active listening. As listening skills are important professionally, many leading organisations provide training to their employees to develop the same. Effective listening skills may lead to higher customer satisfaction, more productivity with fewer errors and enhanced information exchange, all of which can lead to more inventive work.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

Listening skills interview questions with sample responses

Consider the following examples of interview responses to questions on listening skills:

1. How have you reacted to verbal orders given by a supervisor in a prior job post?

A hiring manager may ask this typical interview question to learn more about your ability to recall verbal instructions and then perform essential tasks. They may also want to know how you showcase your listening abilities in different types of situations. Select a situation in which you carefully validated a supervisor's instructions, asked them clarifying questions and then efficiently carried out a task. Consider delivering these directions to a hiring manager to showcase your listening skills.

Example: "A few months back, my supervisor instructed me to take a few prints of a series of brochures for new customers. Each client wanted a unique set of documents based on their specifications. My supervisor told me to look for the relevant labels in our internal database, alter the font types to match preferences and print them on double-sided paper. When the new customers reached out, I asked them for guidance on where to obtain the relevant labels, which allowed me to speed the process up and submit the appropriate paperwork on time."

2. Have you ever asked someone to explain their viewpoint before expressing your own?

It is crucial to understand a colleague's or supervisor's intentions and interventions in the workplace so you can respond appropriately. Hiring managers usually use this question to learn how you handle conversations in the workplace, which may help them better understand how you would engage with future colleagues. They can also understand how you deal with opposing viewpoints. To prepare for this question, think about a time when you disagreed with a colleague and describe how you handled the problem using your listening skills.

Example: "In my former job role, a colleague and I had opposing viewpoints on how to approach a project step. Instead of standing up for my point of view, I asked them questions about their own stance to see if they could come up with a more productive solution. I asked clarifying questions after listening to them to be sure I understood their recommendations. I discovered that our concepts were more compatible than I had previously assumed, allowing us to complete the project step more promptly."

3. How have you handled a situation in the workplace where there was a miscommunication?

Hiring managers typically use this question to evaluate if you can use your listening skills to handle workplace conflicts. From your response, they can examine your interpersonal abilities, which can reflect how you might help a department in a job position. The questions may also help in evaluating your customer service abilities, as resolving communication problems can help a business retain customers. To build an effective answer, it might be good to relate to an incident where you effectively managed miscommunication and offered essential information.

Example: "I finished a customer's book order over the phone six months ago, and due to a misunderstanding, I ordered the wrong title. They contacted a week later, frustrated because the book was a birthday present for their kid and would arrive late because of the oversight. I patiently listened to their story and asked clarifying questions to better understand how the mistake happened. I addressed the situation and made sure we ordered the proper title after discovering she had requested the second book in the series instead of the first."

Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)

4. Can you give an example of a time when your listening skills helped a company meet its goal?

When hiring managers ask this or a similar question, they are usually trying to figure out if your listening abilities assist you in coming up with innovative ideas in the workplace. They can discover whether you can approach decision-making procedures as both an active listener and a participant since both approaches can help you solve problems. Consider an instance in which you listened to a supervisor or co-workers discuss a conflict and then discovered a fact that assisted them in resolving it. To improve clarity, consider describing your experience in a step-by-step approach.

Example: 'My colleagues and I were at a website design conference for a significant customer two months ago. They had recently provided additional specifications for us to implement, however, we were unable to complete this project phase because of restrictions in our current platform. I listened to my superiors thoroughly describe the problem before coming up with my own ideas. After 15 minutes, I recognised that a platform upgrade I had heard about on an industry website would provide a feasible solution, allowing us to effectively finalise the design.'

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

Tips for improving listening skills

It typically takes time and effort to become an active listener. It becomes easier as you practise it more. Your listening skills can assist you in addressing and participating in challenging conversations. More importantly, it improves general communication, fosters a deeper understanding and leads to improved relationships with family members, friends and co-workers. These are some tips for developing listening skills:

  • Spend your entire attention on the other person who is speaking and maintain eye contact with them. Make sure that you are on the same level as them by standing up if the other person is standing and remaining seated if they are.

  • Avoid making judgements on what the other person is saying. Refrain from presuming that you understand what they are saying or what they are thinking.

  • It might be beneficial to repeat what the other person has just said but in your own words. This way, you can double-check that you have heard things right while also giving the other individual the opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings.

  • When you are questioning someone, refrain from accusing or blaming them. Make sure you are asking open-ended questions and that the tone of your voice is genuine.

  • Consider how you would feel if you were in the other individual's position. Accept their feelings, thoughts and views about the scenario, regardless of whether you agree with them or share their viewpoint.

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