Talk About a Time When Communications Broke Down and the Person You Were Talking With Misunderstood You

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When going in for that all important job interview- your goal is to sell yourself as the most qualified for the job. Answering the interview questions with knowledgeable and detailed answers is the best strategy to do that. Most job interviews follow a somewhat predictable format of questioning. In general- interview questions are either traditional- which are closely related to the line of work or your specific experiences- or behavior based. Behavioral interview questions are the ones that make many job applicants nervous- with questions such as ‘Talk about a time when communications broke down and the person you were talking with misunderstood you.’

This kind of question could also be framed as ‘Explain how you deal with miscommunication’ or ‘Give an example of a conflict that came from communication issues.’ While questions like this may seem intimidating- it is possible to come up with a great answer that is sure to impress. First- you have to understand the point of behavior-based questions. These are designed to gauge a candidate’s general skills- such as communication- interpersonal and conflict resolution. Next- you must figure out a way to have an answer that demonstrates your suitability for the job ready. In order to do this- you should use the STAR approach in your response and be sufficiently prepared.

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How to Answer the ‘Talk About a Time When Communications Broke Down and the Person You Were Talking With Misunderstood You’ Behavioral Interview Question

Describe With Details. The best tip for behavioral interview questions is to focus on the important details. In your answer- it’s essential to give the hiring manager the sense that you know what you’re talking about- and there is no better way to do that than with specifics. Of course- that means that you must be ready with the specifics before you begin your interview. A few days before the interview- brainstorm some possible examples from your past that demonstrate your strong communication skills and conflict resolution ability.

Put It in a Positive Light. Even though this question has to do with a conflict that arose from communication problems- you must make sure your example has a positive spin. When talking about conflict- the key thing is to demonstrate success at the end of your example’s journey. Along the way- there can be twists and challenges- but you must explain how you successfully managed each of these obstacles. A story that ends in complete failure does not put your abilities in the best light in the eyes of the interviewer.

Explain What You Learned. Hiring managers are looking for individuals who are committed to personal and professional growth throughout their career. A good answer can demonstrate your understanding of this concept. Employers are not looking for perfection- so it’s important to make sure your response is believable and realistic. When you encountered problems with your communication strategy- you must show the interviewer that you learned a valuable lesson. This lesson should be something that could be applied to the position you’re interviewing for.

Shine With the STAR Method. A great way to format your response is to use the STAR method. This interview answer format can help you organize your thoughts more successfully. Here are the highlights:

  • • S – Always start with the situation and explain some of the background of the communication problem to make your example as effective as possible.
  • • T – Talk about the task you had to complete that required communication. This helps the hiring manager understand everything much better.
  • • A – As you describe what happened, give concrete details about the actions you specifically took to make things better and smooth out the lines of communication.
  • • R – At the end of your answer, give specifics about the results you achieved after the fact. Be sure to end on a positive note.

Sample ‘Talk About a Time When Communications Broke Down and the Person You Were Talking With Misunderstood You’ STAR Interview Answer

One instance of communication problems occurred during an email exchange with a customer regarding order details. After an order was processed, the customer wanted to make changes and emailed several different people with various requests. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a clear understanding of what the customer wanted, so the order went out without all of the changes. When it came in, the customer expressed her disappointment to me. I quickly investigated and sent her a new order at no charge. Then, I walked her through the proper process of a last minute order change. Additionally, I added a uniform way to change orders for all customers to avoid miscommunication in the future. The results were a more streamlined process and fewer opportunities for mistakes.

For difficult behavioral interview questions that combine communication expertise and conflict situations, be ready to answer with ease. When you are well prepared, you can feel more capable of answering these challenging questions.

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