Latest recruitment, leadership & industry insights

Interview Communication Barriers and How to Overcome Them


There are many communication barriers which can cause interference within an interview scenario. These have the potential to allow the interviewer to receive and decode your perfectly crafted answers incorrectly. Your intended messages regarding your suitability in terms of skills and experience may get lost and your chances of landing the job will be diminished. Here are just a few of the possible barriers which could stop your faultless replies from being received and how to overcome them.


The interviewer should be completely focused on you and the answers you are providing, but the interview process can be a monotonous one and they may have a backlog of work waiting for them on their desk. I am not excusing not listening, but it happens because all interviewers are human and in a moment of weakness their minds can wonder. They can even get preoccupied with simply looking for the next question! We have all been in a situation when someone has been talking to us, but then you slowly zone out and then all of a sudden you are back in the room. You then get that sinking feeling when they ask ‘Did you hear what I just said?’ If you feel that this has happened in an interview simply ask the interviewer to clarify that your answer was sufficient i.e. ‘Does that answer your question?’ A courteous interviewer will apologise or at the very least it will ensure that they remain focused for the rest of the process.


Again in a perfect world this shouldn’t happen, but in reality the interviewer may already have seen who they believe is the perfect candidate and they are simply going through the motions. Alternatively, they may have made a snap decision and have already decided that you are unsuitable for the role. On both these occasions, don’t get disheartened. You are starting at a disadvantage, but it is possible to turn things around. Although you will need to work twice as hard to ensure that your case is heard. Up the enthusiasm and give lots of eyes contact, use emotive keywords related with the job description within your answers. Again, like in the above scenario confirm that the recipient has received and understand your answer.

At the end of the interview ask for feedback on your performance. This will give you an idea of how engaged the interviewer was and it also gives them another opportunity to ask you about any skill gaps they think that you may have which you can respond to accordingly. If you don’t get the job, it won’t matter. As long as you did everything you could you will have no regrets.


You will probably be extremely conscious of your own personal traits that create barriers to you communicating effectively. For example you may have a strong accent or you may talk quickly or mumble when you are nervous. Being aware of the barriers is by far the biggest hurdle. It is then a matter of being mindful of them and adjusting your communication accordingly. Arrive at the interview early so that you don’t feel rushed when you are called to interview. Be aware of your posture and talk slowly and clearly when responding to questions. The interviewer is unlikely to be nervous but they may have a strong accent that you find difficult to understand. Don’t try and guess what the person has said. If your answer is off the mark; it will cause confusion and ultimately go against you. Simply say ‘Sorry, but can you repeat that?’ and the question will be clearly repeated.


Noisy distractions can materialise from a variety of sources, from air conditioning and the whirling of the fan on a digital projector to a raucous meeting in the room next door and road works happening outside the window. All of which can be a potential distraction from your answers being delivered sufficiently. Have the confidence to ask if anything can be done about any of these disruptions. This will demonstrate that you are self-assured, have resolve and can deal with problems effectively. If nothing can be done then adjust your volume accordingly to ensure that your answers can be heard above the disturbance.

These are just a few of the potential barriers to communication within an interview. Follow this advice and the reasons why you are the best candidate for the job will be crystal clear.