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Interpersonal Communication

Every company needs employees who communicate effectively. This keeps everyone on the same page at work and provides a sense of professionalism and understanding among coworkers and clients. People who have the best communication skills are assets because they keep everyone involved in a situation in the loop and share information that improves overall work progress.

Interpersonal Communication is a competency that gives insight into how effective a person is at listening to and developing rapport with others. People who are stars at communicating clearly articulate their thoughts and ensure that they are understood. They are straightforward and constructive at work, and have a sense of professionalism.

This group of scales that make up the Interpersonal Communication competency model are shown visually in an assessment report. Colors indicate whether or not a candidate falls in a preferred range for each scale.

Research and experience show that measuring how likely a person will be at communicating successfully with people inside and outside of their organization relies primarily on these three scales:

  1. Sociability

    Communicating effectively requires a certain level of sociability. Employees who feel comfortable around coworkers as well as people outside of the company have a much easier time conveying their thoughts than those who prefer to keep to themselves.People who fall on the low end of this scale often prefer to work alone and may be seen as shy. They may prefer to work independently and are unlikely to waste valuable time socializing. But, when it comes to interpersonal communication, this can be a limiter. These employees may have a more difficult time staying engaged with their team and may avoid long amounts of people contact. They might feel uneasy in group settings or when presenting in front of a larger crowd, which could make it difficult for others to get to know them and build rapport.

    On the high end, a person is more likely to seek out conversations and display robust social skills. These people find it easy to work in group settings, and building relationships with new people comes more naturally. Employees who show these characteristics are more likely to connect with others, build relationships, and communicate effectively.

  2. Assertiveness

    Assertiveness is a scale that measure a person’s tendency to take initiative and have their presence felt versus a preference to remain in the background of a situation. Interpersonal Communication requires a balance between these two behaviors for optimal results.When a candidate or employee falls on the low end of Assertiveness, it means they prefer to not be in the spotlight of a situation. They may be quiet or reticent when they communicate with others and may be uncomfortable speaking their mind or standing their ground. If they are extremely low on Assertiveness, they may lack the personal power to lead and direct others.

    On the opposite side, the high end of Assertiveness, people are more likely to be forceful in their dealings with people. They are comfortable in positions that require visibility and power, and show the desire to take charge of a situation. To the extreme, these employees might be too aggressive and are more likely to do all of the talking, rather than listening to what others have to say.

    The best communicators are found in the middle of this scale. Here, they’re likely to be assertive enough to stand their ground and take initiative in a situation. They listen carefully and follow up with questions to ensure that their ideas are fully understood by others. People who score here aren’t so forceful and aggressive that they have a hard time building a positive rapport with coworkers, and are more likely to share information that improves progress at work.

  3. Self-Control

    This scale measures a person’s tendency to be have a deliberate and serious appearance as opposed to a more carefree and unrestrained style. In order to communicate professionally and build rapport in a company and to clients, a person needs to be able to find a balance between these two behaviors.

    People who tend to be spontaneous and vocalize their feelings (even when, at times, it may not be appropriate) fall on the left side of this scale. These employees are enthusiastic and expressive, and are generally open about their thoughts. They may be seen as impulsive or even immature at times, and might speak their mind too readily or say things they’ll regret later on.

    On the far right, people show a more consistent and controlled behavior. They may be more reserved and difficult to get to know, in that they don’t reveal much of their emotion. They are seen as mature and responsible, and have a better ability to remain quiet when it’s appropriate to do so. The downsides of having too much self-control may include a person refraining from taking action or expressing themselves, as well as being seen as stiff and unfriendly.

    When communicating with others is an important aspect at work, it’s important to find a balance between these two opposite poles on the scale. When a person says whatever comes to their mind, even if it’s inappropriate, they could easily lose rapport and be seen as unprofessional. On the other hand, when a person is too buttoned-up, they might not want to communicate as often, and when they do involve themselves in conversation, they may be hard to read and relate to.

Since these three scales give clues about the effectiveness of a person’s communications style, it’s important to measure these behaviors in candidates before they’re hired. This practice gives you a much clearer understanding of how a person performs at work and helps keep turnover rates down by knowing, before the hiring decision is made, whether or not they will be right for their role within your organization.

To learn more about using competency models to predict success, download our Competency Spotlight eBooks for Corporate Managers, Retail Managers, or Restaurant Managers.

The Competency Spotlight series focuses on the personality traits measured by OutMatch assessments, and how these traits impact performance. No one measure can say with 100% accuracy how an employee will behave, but considering these competencies can help you identify candidates that are ‘prewired’ to be successful in a particular job type.

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