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Recruitment | 6 Min Read

The significance of assessing interpersonal skills during recruitment


Interpersonal skills are the ability of an individual and their competence in building and maintaining constructive, effective, and rewarding relationships with people around them. Interpersonal skills can be innate and learned, used by people when they interact with others. These skills are used in social situations pertinent to one’s personal life, education, and career. Some examples of interpersonal skills include empathy, communication, emotional intelligence, listening, conflict resolution, etc.



Everyone possesses several interpersonal skills in at least some capacity. However, these skills can always be improved upon. Interpersonal skills are also known as people skills, soft skills, and employability skills, and they define the inner self of an individual. It is important for recruiters to ensure that the candidate that they hire for their organization possesses strong interpersonal skills for managing client interactions and maintaining good relationships within the team.


Interpersonal skills at the workplace

Interpersonal skills are the foundation for building positive workplace relationships, which makes them key to professional development and career success. There are several other reasons that highlight the importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace. At an organizational level, having impeccable interpersonal skills allows employees to collaborate effectively with others, adapt according to the strengths and weaknesses of a team, and adjust the way they participate in team tasks. Strong interpersonal skills can also prove highly rewarding at a personal level, allowing individuals to establish, maintain, and enjoy rewarding professional relationships.


The importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace

Effective communication:

Effective communication is key to the success of an organization, and this requires good interpersonal skills. It is important for employees to develop connections within the organization so knowledge, expertise, and concepts can be shared mutually.


Real-time feedback:

A constructive and transparent feedback mechanism is essential for organizations. Managers authorizing tasks but not providing their feedback afterward, especially if an employee requests the same, can prove to be very harmful. Real-time feedback plays a crucial role in enhancing workplace interpersonal skills.


Development opportunities:

Interpersonal skills offer an excellent advantage for career growth. Having strong connections with colleagues and superiors will allow employees to access more competitive opportunities in their field of interest.


Social awareness:

Interpersonal skills help confirm that an individual cares about the well-being of others, which is important for building trust and loyalty. Awareness and emotional intelligence help employees work in challenging social situations as well.


Workplace relationships:

Interpersonal skills help employees foster healthy relationships in the workplace. It is much more difficult to maintain workplace relationships than to establish them, as maintaining relationships requires continuity, continuing empathy, and follow-up, which requires strong interpersonal skills.



Top examples of interpersonal skills


Communication skills are among the most important interpersonal skills that candidates must possess. At its core, communication is about exchanging ideas or messages with others through speaking, writing, or non-verbal cues in order to collaborate, express priorities, and understand expectations. There are three main types of communication: verbal, non-verbal, and public speaking.


Conflict management

Regardless of whether hiring for a managerial position or an executive position, every employee, at some point or another, may have to face conflicts. They may be involved in the conflict directly, or it may be between the organization and its clients. Candidates with strong interpersonal skills can listen to both parties carefully and use creative problem-solving skills to resolve the conflict. Conflict resolution, mediating, counseling, constructive criticism, and problem-solving are all part of conflict management.



Whether it is an employee, colleague, or manager, the ability to show empathy to others is a crucial skill that recruiters should look for during the recruitment process. If there is a colleague or a customer who has a complaint or issue, it is important for an individual to carefully listen to the complaints they have and respond with empathy. Candidates with these interpersonal skills also prove to be effective in improving team dynamics and enhancing overall performance.


Active listening

Active listening is a skill that goes beyond hearing what people are saying. Active listeners devote all their attention to the person that they are speaking with, absorbing verbal cues, retaining key information, and responding with relevant questions. Hiring candidates with active listening skills allows employers to foster successful teams.



Leadership is one of the most important interpersonal skills that recruiters should look for, regardless of whether they are hiring for a managerial position or not. Leadership skills include having strong decision-making skills, the ability to guide other team members, and the ability to inspire and motivate, influence and instruct, encourage, and provide positive reinforcement to others.



There are certain job roles that require candidates to have the ability to negotiate well. Depending on the responsibilities associated with a specific job role, the negotiation may involve helping colleagues solve problems or creating formal contracts or agreements between clients. Negotiation skills involve listening to others and using creative problem-solving to arrive at satisfactory outcomes.


Positive attitude

There is always a higher preference for candidates who can contribute towards fostering a brighter and friendlier environment in the workplace. Interpersonal skills, like having a positive attitude, the right set of behavioral skills, social skills, networking skills, and the ability to develop a positive rapport with others, are in high demand for the same reason.



Even if a job role involves independent work, having the ability to collaborate with others is still important. Listening to others, effective communication, collaboration, group facilitating, and team building skills are all interpersonal skills that foster effective teamwork.


Emotional intelligence

A candidate’s emotional intelligence or emotional quotient defines their ability to understand and manage their own emotions and that of other people. Emotional intelligence is an important interpersonal skill to look for in candidates, as EQ is an aspect that directly impacts workplace relationships. Individuals with high emotional intelligence tend to get along better with others, approach work with a better attitude, and have a better work-life balance.


In-demand interpersonal skills that should be highlighted

There are several highly sought-after interpersonal skills that recruiters tend to look for. These interpersonal skills include active listening, caring, behavioral skills, collaboration, communication, conflict management and resolution, creative thinking, rapport development, diversity, inspiring trust, leadership and mentoring, negotiation, networking, problem-solving, sensitivity, social skills, teamwork, and tolerance.

The exact interpersonal skills that organizations look for during the hiring campaign should be tailored to the specific requirements of the job role.


How to enhance interpersonal skills in the workplace

Assess the current skill set

The first step towards strengthening interpersonal skills is to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses through self-assessment. This helps us understand which interpersonal skills need to be developed and how. Based on the list of interpersonal skills necessary for one’s field and job role, previous interactions with managers, colleagues, family, friends, partners, and strangers should be assessed. Each skill should then be reviewed based on positive and negative experiences from the interactions to categorize which skills have been honed to perfection and which have room for improvement.



Plan interpersonal skills development

After the self-assessment and the identification of the interpersonal skills that need work, a proper development plan should be mapped out. Hiring managers must determine the best way to upskill employees in each area. Hiring managers can create targeted professional learning courses to help employees improve their interpersonal skills. Constant learning and growth are key to professional development and career success.


Interpersonal skills in different domains

Interpersonal skills are vital across various domains and industries, playing a pivotal role in driving success and fostering positive relationships.


1. Sales and marketing

Interpersonal skills in sales enable sales and marketing professionals to convey messaging clearly and persuasively, enhancing customer engagement and driving sales. Further, the ability to actively listen to customers’ needs and concerns is essential in tailoring effective solutions and building long-term relationships.


2. Leadership and management

Interpersonal skills equip leaders and managers to navigate conflicts within their teams, promoting a harmonious work environment and maintaining productivity.

Strong interpersonal skills are crucial in providing guidance to team members, encouraging their professional growth and development.


3. Healthcare

Interpersonal skills are instrumental in healthcare settings, allowing professionals to demonstrate empathy, build trust with patients, and effectively address their concerns. These skills additionally enable healthcare teams to work cohesively, ensuring effective coordination and communication in delivering patient care.

4. Education

Interpersonal skills are essential for educators to connect with students, understand their individual needs, and create an inclusive and supportive learning environment. They empower educators to engage and collaborate with parents, fostering a partnership in supporting students’ academic and personal development.


5. Technology and IT

Interpersonal skills ensure seamless collaboration across diverse teams, encouraging innovation and problem-solving. In technology and IT, these skills are crucial in understanding client requirements, building rapport, and delivering solutions that align with their needs.



Mercer | Mettl is one of the leading online assessment platform providers in India, offering a range of solutions to help scale the talent acquisition and management processes of the organization effectively. Mercer | Mettl has a library of reliable, scientifically validated online assessments that have been designed by leading industry experts. The assessment platform is a robust and scalable solution equipped with AI-based proctoring tools to provide recruiters access to end-to-end assessments. Hiring managers can choose from a range of pre-built tests or opt for a customized assessment based on the unique requirements of the organization to effectively evaluate candidates on their interpersonal skills, like communication, active listening, teamwork, networking, delegation, establishing trust, effective presentation, negotiation, empathy, openness to diversity, and conflict management.




1. Why are interpersonal skills important for an employer?

2. What interpersonal skills are required for effective teamwork?

3. What are five ways to develop good interpersonal relationships?

4. What are the best positive interpersonal skills?

Originally published July 4 2024, Updated July 4 2024

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Personality assessments are a method of identifying candidates whose characteristics match the role and organization’s requirements. Personality assessments help HRs make effective people decisions by placing people in positions suited to their disposition.

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