How to Be a Better Listener in the Interview Process
Both the candidate seeking employment and the interviewer looking for the right person to fill a job slot need to be good listeners during an interview. If you look around the room during an average staff meeting, you’ll probably notice that some people appear to be actively listening, while others are spacing out or checking their emails on the sly. Those who only half listen miss a slew of important information. To hire the right individual, you must be fully present; so, tune in and pay close attention to everything that’s being expressed. Even if you’re a very busy manager or small business owner, you need to slow down and practice excellent listening skills, because the individuals you hire for your team can make a huge difference in your company’s success. Here are some tips to follow so you can be a better listener in the interview process.
Open Your Mind
Each time you meet with a prospective employee, you need to watch your preconceived notions and biases. Sure, you’ve read the individual’s resume, but do you know whom he or she truly is Be careful not to make assumptions. Remember to:
-Be mindful of your closely held beliefs, opinions, and attachments; try to challenge and loosen up your thinking whenever possible.
-Suspend judgment by taking in entire statements instead of shutting down because of something that’s been said.
-Notice when you tend to lump people together because of their ages, schooling, gender, or background. Relax your categorizing.
-Ask questions to clarify your assumptions, such as: ïSo you mean thatï .ï or ïSo you feel thatï ï Let the person correct, confirm, or reword his or her position.
When you let go of assumptions and open up your mind, you can be a better listener in the interview process.
Keep the Conversation Moving Both Ways
A conversation is not a monologue; it is a verbal exchange between individuals. A big mistake that is commonly made by interviewers dominating the conversation and not letting the other person have his or her turn to speak. This can happen because of nerves, time constraints, or insensitivity, but it is a no-no. To monopolize the spotlight is not only disrespectful; it’s ineffective. The way to gather information for the selection process is by being quiet much of the time and listening to the other person talk. It’s helpful to:
-Be genuinely curious about who this person is.
-Ask open-ended questions.
-Although back-and-forth dialogue is important, don’t plan what you are going to say when the other person is speaking because it will keep you from truly listening to his or her points.
View your meetings with applicants as conversations, so you can be a better listener in the interview process.
Focus on Thinking Rather Than Doing
When you are conducting an interview, your goal is to learn about the candidate. To do so, you will need to be in a thinking mindset rather than a doing mindset. As a business owner, supervisor, or manager, you are used to solving problems, answering questions, and planning your company’s next moves. While this is a great frame of mind for running a successful business, it’s not so effective for finding out everything you can about a person you’re interviewing. With a thinking mindset, you can:
-Carefully listen to a person’s answers to decipher what he or she is saying.
-Watch the individual’s emotional reactions and body language.
-Notice the applicant’s gestures and tone, which can speak volumes about who this person is.
-Visualize how this individual would fit in with his or her teammates and the company’s overall vibe if he or she is hired.
When you get into the thinking mindset, you can be a better listener in the interview process.
Be Fully Present
Mindfulness is a helpful practice, especially when you want to be a better listener in the interview process. To do this, make sure you get rid of distractions. Close your door; turn off your phone and put it away, because even if you have it on vibrate, the buzzing sound can distract you and send the wrong message. To be a better listener in the interview process, give your complete attention to the prospective employee and be fully present.
Skillful listening is an essential practice at all times, but especially when you are interviewing potential candidates for your organization’s employment positions. To learn more ways to hire all-star team members for your company, check out the selection of tools and resources on Mighty Recruiter.