Job interview tips: how to actively listen
As a recruiter, it's not unusual to receive feedback relating to a candidate’s apparent inability to listen during the interview.
Not appearing to listen can be put down to nerves. However, if you’re aware that you can 'actively listen’ and learn how to do it, then the chances of impressing an interviewer are greater than they would otherwise be.
1 Listen to the interviewer and don’t interrupt, not even with little noises (hmm mm) or yesses – just listen
2 Take a moment to consider the question before answering – use this moment to think about what they’ve actually said
3 Don’t go off on a tangent in the middle of your answer. Keep the question in mind
4 Ask for them to clarify if you don't understand the question
5 Listen to the inflection in the interviewer’s voice to ascertain the importance or relevance of what they are saying
6 Likewise, clock the interviewer’s body language and style of questioning
7 Practise – get someone you know to interview you and practise really listening to what they’ve said
8 A lot of people have all the information in their head that they want to get out in a job interview, but forget to listen to what is actually being asked. This can cost the interview
9 When you’re listening, try not to jump forward to what you think they’re trying to say. Be patient and listen until they’ve finished
10 Stay focused – look at the interviewer while they’re talking and you’re listening
A good exercise to practise listening is to find a patient friend, family member or partner, and get them to ask you some questions. As soon as they’ve asked a question, try and explain back to them what you heard and what you think they’re looking for in a response. Ask them to state whether you’re correct or not. If they are, then answer the question.
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