Recruitment executives ask “How do you build relationships?” For several main reasons.
And if they ask you this interview question, you can be sure that building relationships is an important skill for the job you are discussing.
So soon, I will share how to discuss building relationships so you can be successful in your interview and win the job … Includes sample interview answers.
Why employers ask about building relationships in an interview
Employers ask interview questions about how you build relationships for one main reason:
They feel this is an important skill for the role they are discussing with you.
And beyond that, they want to make sure that the way you work to develop relationships is appropriate for the company culture and their current course of action.
Depending on the position you are talking about, the recruiting manager may be concerned about:
- How you build customer / customer relationships in a sales or customer service role
- How you build working relationships with team members
You will likely hear this interview question as you discuss roles that require building customer / customer relationships for the business.
But you may also hear it for a role where it is essential to build strong relationships with people within your organization, such as co-workers, leaders, project managers, etc.
Roles that are likely to ask you questions about how you build relationships:
- Sales Representative
- Customer Support Manager / Customer Relationships
- Product support / customer introduction
- Group leadership
- Project management
Before answering interview questions about your relationship building skills, think about the type of relationship that will build you the most in this exact job, and strive to demonstrate your ability to make relationships in that context.
I will soon share answers to a sample interview verbatim.
How to answer relationship building questions
Use the steps below to answer “How do you build relationships?” And other interview questions about how you build good working relationships, whether it’s with co-workers, clients or both. Be prepared to go into details on all of the following key points:
1. Show that you have a pre-planned strategy
The best way to answer interview questions about how you build relationships is to discuss a pre-planned strategy that you follow.
It is better to sound like you have a trusted process that you are confident in, rather than understanding it in the process.
Therefore, discuss a pre-planned approach to how you develop key working relationships when needed. Consider pointing to past successes as well
2. Focus on discussing the type (s) of relationships you will build in this work
Before your interview, carefully review the job description so you can discuss how you are building the types of relationships you will need to create in this new job.
Does the job involve talking to clients / clients?
If so, the recruitment manager probably wants to ensure that you can develop relationships with those people.
If not, then maybe the interviewer is wondering if you can make connections and trust with your co-workers.
Alternatively, if you are being interviewed for a managerial position, they may want to ensure that you can build trust with the employees who work for you.
Always check the job requirements before your interview so you can share an attitude (and examples / stories) that fit the job.
Demonstrate confidence and comfort in the subject
The most important thing is to answer with confidence, and sound like you have built successful relationships often and you will have no problem doing so in a new job.
An interviewer not only listens to the words in your answer, he judges whether you sound like you enjoy this job, do you sound energetic when you talk about it, and so on.
So you want to sound like building relationships is part of your career that you enjoy.
Remember, it is unlikely they would have asked this interview question if this task was not particularly necessary for the job.
So you need to show your interviewer that this is a topic you love, and the need to build and maintain relationships in the role does not worry you.
4. Finish with an example of how you have built good working relationships in the past
After describing your general approach to creating strong working relationships, give an example of how this has worked well for you in the job in the past.
You can say, “For example, in my last role …”
Then talk about a time when you needed to build trust and closeness with your teammates, with a client, and so on.
Voting on past successes is one of the best ways to prove you will succeed for this next employer as well.
I will soon be sharing full word-for-word examples, so do not worry if you are not sure what to say to this step.
The approach described in the steps above also works for behavioral questions, such as, “Describe a time when you needed to build a relationship and earn someone’s trust in the job.”
If you are answering a behavioral question (questions that start with phrases like, “Describe a situation when …”), you will just want to shorten the “how” in your answer (step 1 above) and jump faster to a specific example. While building a relationship with customers, colleagues, etc.
5. Focus on positive stories and outcomes
Whether you decide to share an example of building a relationship with a customer, team member or anyone else in the company, make sure you share positive stories with successful results.
Think about the relationships that have helped you achieve the greatest success in past roles, and discuss these.
Companies always love to hear you talk about how you have helped an employer in the past with a similar need, because it shows how you can help them as well.
In fact, one of the best ways to get an important role in a company is to show that you have done a close job and succeeded in it.
Of course, if the interviewer explicitly requests a period of struggle, share it.
For example, they might say, “Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important.”
Still, you will want to give an answer that ends in a positive tone and not a failure.
Example answers to “How do you build relationships?”
Next, let’s look at some sample answers to interview questions about how you develop relationships.
Remember to focus your response on the discussion of how you build the most important type of work relationship in this position and company.
It could be customer relationships, internal team relationships, or just the relationship with your boss / manager, if you mostly work closely with them.
Example Answer 1:
I take time to get to know the customer’s needs and concerns and recommend one of our products only when it makes sense.
I found that it helped me gain trust and find a common ground with my clients, which keeps them in business for a long time and brings in more revenue.
In my current role, I am among the top 5 sales representatives out of 100 employees in terms of average monthly income, and I think my sincere and sincere approach is a big part of how I am able to close the deal and retain customers. On board long-term to achieve these metrics.
Example Answer 2:
I build trust and relationships with clients by being accountable. I am also proud to be patient and have excellent listening skills.
For example, in my last customer support role, an angry customer came in demanding a refund because the product we sold to them stopped working after a few weeks.
I apologized, remained calm and asked if they could describe what had happened.
After a quick call, it does sound like they just got a faulty unit.
I was able to deal with the problem quickly and give them a new unit to take home that day, and I sent a technician to check the unit so they would not have to spend more time dealing with this issue.
A few months later, the same customer came back to buy from us more, and they noted that my reaction to their initial problem was a big reason they were willing to come back to us.
Employers may also ask you a behavioral question, such as, “Describe a situation where you had to build a relationship with someone at work.”
Alternatively, “Describe a time when you needed to build a relationship with one of your clients.”
So here’s how you would answer behavioral interview questions about periods you have built relationships in the past.
Example Answer 3 (for behavioral questions):
In my last job as a project manager, I got a project at the last minute when another project leader resigned.
It tested both my time management skills and my ability to quickly build relationships and earn the trust of this new project team.
To get started, instead of telling each team member how I want the job done, I started by calling the meeting and asking a few questions:
What has already been completed in the project, and what was up and running? How were they used to working in terms of roles and with her? How often does their project team meet right now and how did they handle milestones, communication with the client, etc.?
By having my new colleagues describe their current process, I was able to step in and be an effective leader without disrupting their existing work.
Of course part of my job as a manager is to dictate how the work should be done and intervene to make adjustments when needed, which I also did.
However, I think the main starting point for connecting with everyone on the team and understanding how they approach each task was to ask and listen, not tell.
When answering behavioral interview questions, consider using the STAR method to organize your response:
First draw a clear picture of Situation You were in.
Then, what was task That had to be performed?
Then, talk about action You chose, and why.
Finally, what was outcome (And maybe a learned lesson)?
This will help you create a concise and clear answer and get your message across without losing focus.
Examples of building good relationships in the workplace:
You can use the following ideas / examples to prepare your response when an employer asks, “How do you build effective working relationships?” Or any behavioral interview question like, “Tell me once you had to build a relationship at work.”
- Finding a common denominator with another person
- Finding ways to help new members of your team build their trust
- Get to know someone on a personal level and find out a little about their personal interests
- Be open to feedback
- Listen when others speak
- Ask great questions to learn about a business, colleague or client
- Taking over the clients / accounts of a former employee in a new job and having to regain the trust of those people
- Filling for colleagues who have resigned, been ill or missed a job for any other reason, and need to quickly build trust in their contact list
- Treat team members with respect even if you do not agree on certain points
- Ability to receive feedback from a fellow team member and use it as a learning experience
- Finding compromises to achieve a positive outcome even when there is disagreement
- Develop leadership skills and build relationships with those who work on your team (if you are a manager)
Last step: Practice before your interview
As a final step, create and practice your interview answer.
Or conduct a mock interview with a friend or colleague, or record yourself giving answers to practice using your voice recorder app on your smartphone. Then, turn the recording back on to see how you sound.
This will help you stay calm and sound more confident in the interview.
In the interview, you may be asked to describe a period when you needed to build a relationship, or how you are coping with that goal in general.
Managers ask about this topic in an interview because skill is essential to so many roles in the company.
If you have read the sample tips and answers above, you are ready to describe your approach to networking and trust, which will help you get your next job.