“There is no certainty, only opportunity.”

V for Vendetta (2005)


Active listening skills are a subtle but effective way to perform better in all areas of life, but especially on job interviews. Half of all communication is listening but few of us get any training on how to do it well. Fortunately, listening well is relatively simple and will become automatic once you learn and practice the basic skills involved. So, lets talks about some techniques that will help you acquire more knowledge and make a better impression on your perspective employer.

How to use active listening for your job interview:

1. Recognize your limitations. Many studies confirm that we only take in about half of what we hear and we forget half of that by the next day. Becoming more attentive, takes some deliberate effort.

2. Relax your mind. Most people feel anxious about applying for a new job. Take the time to quiet your mind and reduce distracting thoughts. Meditate, get a massage or listen to instrumental music, whatever works best for you.

3. Stay alert. Prevent fatigue from sabotaging your interview. Get a good night’s sleep and squeeze in a little aerobic exercise beforehand. Sit up straight and dress in layers. Being chilly makes concentration difficult, in fact, it makes most people sleepy.

4. Show your enthusiasm. Successful people often enjoy talking about their work, especially when they have an appreciative audience. Make eye contact and lean forward. toward your interviewer. Let your positive feeling shine through when you describe your past accomplishments and how they relate to the position you are seeking.

5. Position yourself as a good fit. Use the information your interviewer provides to home in on the type of candidate they are looking for. Explain how your background and skills enable you to contribute and to become a valued and valuable team member.

6. Take notes. People listen faster than they speak. Take advantage of that gap to take notes and collect your thoughts. Jot down keywords and main themes rather than trying to record every word.

7. Keep an open mind. It pays to be flexible. Remain neutral to avoid rejecting a new viewpoint or job opportunity before you have a chance to consider it from all angles.

8. Put yourself into the interviewer shoes. Your interviewer may feel a little uncomfortable too. Empathize with their responsibility in finding the right person for the job.

9. Restate key points. Summarize and paraphrase the most important messages. This will help reinforce their thoughts in your mind and show your interviewer that you are paying attention and are on the same page.

10. Seek clarification. Avoid misunderstandings by clarifying anything that is unclear to you. A good employer will appreciate your efforts to fully comprehend their expectations.

11. Ask thoughtful questions. Use open ended questions to illicit more information. Incisiveness also helps show that you are a strong candidate.

12. Meeting the staff:

  • Get to know your supervisor. Your manager will likely play a big role in your job satisfaction. Talk about the daily routine and the responsibilities. Learn about their work style and how they establish priorities.
  • Pick up valuable information from your co-workers. Try to meet some of your future associates. They can clue you in on the work environment and organizational culture. Plus, it’s usually a very good sign if employees are involved in the hiring process.
  • Learn about the big picture from leadership. You may also get the opportunity to speak with some of the organizations senior executives. Even if the time is brief, use those meetings to help get a better sense of the organization’s strategic plans and future direction.

Go to your next job interview better prepared to listen. The session will probably be more productive for both you and the people you interview with. And even if you don’t get this job, if you’ve kept your ears open, you may have positioned yourself for a different one. Active listening is one way to open up new career opportunities and build a better future for yourself.

Thoughts? What would you add to this list of how to make your best impression during a job interview?

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