Learning to Listen

A most important skill you need to acquire in order to turn interviews into job offers is learning to listen. That’s why I present a one-minute coaching vignette titled “listen first, talk later,” in my book Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.

Why do you—why do all of us—need to learn to listen? Because there’s a factor that blocks your ability to do so. It’s your inner voice. That voice often takes over your thinking to such an extent that you’re not listening to what’s being said but to what’s going on in your head. Your head is thinking ahead about what you should say next. Your inner voice is also analyzing what’s going on. You can take care of the analysis chatter by saving it for later. Because during an interview, analysis equals paralysis.

When it comes to stopping that inner chatterbox, you need to stay in the present. A technique you can use is take mental notes of the conversation. While the other person speaks, repeat to yourself what she says, word for word. That’s how to train your mind to stay with it as you learn to listen at the same time.

You can transfer your mental notes into written ones right after the interview ends. Find a private place to whip out a notebook and jot down what you recall about the interview. You’ll use this information to follow-up the interview.

I began this post by talking abut the value of “listening first, talking later.” So why not use that quote as a mantra you can say all during an interview day— “listen first, talk later.”

You might also be interested in reading a related post on Your Career Service, How to Give a Good Interview.

 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 yourcareerservice.com. 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.