Interpersonal Skills – What Are They?

What do we mean by ‘Interpersonal Skills’?

When we talk about interpersonal skills we are referring to a whole range of skills which help us relate to, communicate with and work alongside others.

Many of these skills revolve around communication – for example active listening, questioning and body language. We are also referring to various emotional intelligence skills and behaviours such as empathy and understanding and managing your own and others’ emotions, as well as team working behaviours.

For example, think about a Sales Executive who needs to meet with clients, understand their needs and put forward an appropriate solution. If someone in this role had low interpersonal skills they would find it difficult to ask appropriate questions of their client and really listen to their answers, in order to match an appropriate solution.

Why are interpersonal skills important for job success?

All jobs require, to some greater or lesser degree, interaction with other people. Those who possess strong interpersonal skills tend to be able to work well in a group or team and more generally with other people. They can communicate more effectively, reach better decisions, persuade and negotiate with others and help resolve conflict.

How do we measure interpersonal skills?

Video interviews allow us to observe an individual communicating and as such provide us with the most effective measure of interpersonal skills early on in a recruitment process. For any role where these skills are vital it makes sense to assess them early on in the recruitment process so time and money is not spent assessing candidates who do not possess these key skills.

Later on in the recruitment process, for example at Assessment Centre, we can gain a further in-depth assessment of these skills by observing interactions e.g. through a role play or group discussion exercise.

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