How to listen

It’s not what to say but how to listen that determines the successful outcome of interviews. Matter of fact, developing active listening skills is the fist aid of interviewing. That’s because active listening helps you determine a prospective employer’s needs so you can help to fill them.

Active listening is when you concentrate on the speaker with your ears and eyes, and with your heart and soul. Its formula consists of four simple steps: intention, listening, pausing, and reflecting.

Before an interview conversation begins, set an inner intention that you truly want to listen to what the interviewer has to say. Then act on that intention by listening. It’s not your job to solve their problem right away. You can do that later.

After listening to the speaker, pause before responding. You should remain silent a little longer than what you feel comfortable with. This shows interviewers you’ve heard and understand what was said.

Interviewers will like you more because you’ve listened. After all, people want to be heard. They’ll feel that they can open up to you as you listen actively. As a result, they’ll feel more connected to you as a candidate.

After you pause, reflect back what was said to you. You can repeat, “Oh you’re looking for TV news reporting skills.” Then identify the speaker’s needs by saying: “Then it must be important for the candidate to have also had street reporting along with anchoring experience you’ve advertised for. Would you tell me more about that?” Then listen some more. You’ll pick up more clues about what else the interviewer wants.

Remember, it’s not just what to say that gets you hired. It’s how you listen. A nice way to practice for interviews is to practice listening in all of your interactions today by applying the four steps mentioned above: Intend to listen. Then listen to what’s being said. Pause a bit before speaking. And reflect back what you’ve just heard.

You might also be interested in visiting our “How to Find a Job Page.” And as always, your comments are always appreciated and questions will be answered.

Copyright ©2015 by Ransom (Randy) Place





About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.