Interview Tip: Listen Up!

By Megan Kuethen


One of the most common mistakes that we hear about is also one of the easiest to control. Many candidates get into an interview and feel that they must talk about themselves from start to finish.

 First of all, remember who’s running the show. Your interviewer will fill the silence with information about the company, questions for you, and opportunities to ask questions you may have.

 Secondly, be aware that silence is okay. If an interview is quietly perusing your resume, this is NOT the time for you to discuss your current job duties. Wait for the question.

 Listen well–this is most important. Studies show that most of our conversations are being formulated in our minds while we are supposed to be listening. Instead of quickly forming an answer while the question is still coming out, listen to everything the interviewer is saying, then take the time to formulate the right words before you say them. Nearly all interviewers appreciate when a candidate puts thought into an answer, rather than answering off the top of their head right away.

 Give clear and concise responses. No need to ramble–get to the point, and do it elegantly. Use appropriate verbage, elaborate where you need to, get the point across, and shut up. Your interviewer will be grateful that you haven’t wasted their time, and be glad that you’ve returned the ball to their court.

 Listening is possibly the most crucial part of the interviewing process. This is a time for you to consider whether a job is right for you, or whether it’s just another job. As always, it’s like being in a relationship. No one wants to rush a first date–you have to listen and observe, carefully considering future potential. The same is true as you search for a job, and the better you listen, the more effectively you can make a good decision.

 A final note from Dean Del Sesto, CEO of Breviti, Inc. ( “Words: The older we get, the less they mean. It seems the only way we take notice of what others say is found in their passion, conviction and care for us when they’re speaking. It’s not the words, but a person’s way-of-being that makes the communication relevant, compelling, and worth the time. To be an effective communicator, your physical posture and how you say what you say clearly reveals your intentionality. It’s wise to ‘test run’ your conversations; put yourself on the other side of them to experience what your communication will be like, how it will be received. Empathy is the driver of effective communication. The right heart creates the right posture, the right tone, and breathes life into your words so your words bring life to others. Be aware of how you communicate today!”

By Megan Kuethen – © 2010

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