The Value of Active Listening in Your Interview

Active listening. Raise your hand if you grew up hearing that phrase. As it turns out, all of those adults might have been onto something. If you haven’t heard the phrase before, active listening is defined as fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. It involves listening with all senses.  Active listening takes focus and concentration to do it well.

Listening is a very important step in the interview process.  Sometimes our focus in preparing for interviews is on what we will say and our delivery to questions we are asked.  An equally important step is listening. Vital information can be missed when we forget the value of both sides of the equation. The interviewee will want to make sure they are listening very closely to what question is being asked.  Mentors and coaches counsel us to show “listening body language” by focusing our eye contact and nodding our heads but active listening is more than nodding and making eye contact.  Active listening is giving your undivided attention and acknowledging the message that is being delivered.

A great candidate is confident and well prepared for an interview.  Here are some reminders we believe will help you get off to the right foot as you use your active listening.

  1. You have already won! The manager pulled your application out of a stack and asked you to come in to discuss your qualifications further. They see something in you that makes them think you would be a good fit in their organization. When they are sitting across from you, they are observing things like vocal inflections, tones, tendencies and personal leanings that suggest strong character. Truly listen to the question. Give an answer that is honest and shows how your qualifications make you a great addition to the company.

  2. Interview questions are designed to be more than a “yes” or “no” answer. These questions are meant to be open-ended, allowing hiring managers to see the flow and organization of your thoughts, in addition to the substance of your answers. So take a deep breath, collect your thoughts with clarity and confidence, and show your interviewer why you are truly a perfect fit for the position.

  3. Hiring managers are listening to you. But what exactly are they listening for? They are listening for a demonstrated competence as it relates to the job. They will hear moments of hesitation as well as signs of uncertainty. They will notice if those moments overlap with the responsibilities with which you will be entrusted in the position. That’s why it’s important to be honest when you submit an application. Your qualifications should line up with the requirements of the job, and the more composed you are in your answers, the more confident the hiring manager will be in your abilities.

  4. Listen for signs of genuine enthusiasm. The conversation might not present a perfect moment for you to announce, “I love this kind of work!” So listen for those hints in everything that is said. Signs of genuine enthusiasm are something every hiring manager is interested in. Even if the conversation does not present a “perfect moment,” you can still insert signs of eagerness and joy into the answers you give.

Listening is an invaluable asset in your interview, and we hope these reminders will aid you in your upcoming interview! For more guidance on listening carefully during the interview process—contact the employment experts at Palmer Group.