The Power of Listening in an Interview
Posted: 12-04-2010 03:58 AM
Poor listening in the number one weakness of interviewers. Poor listeners miss the important information that the candidate is giving them in the interview and as a result make poor hiring decisions. While this is a weakness for most interviewers, the good news is that there are ways to become a better listener and make the hiring decisions that are best for your company and for your own future as a manager. Plus, applicants who rate the interviewer as an attentive listener rate your company hirer even if they don't get the job.
The following are some suggestions on how to improve your listening in an interview.Being completely prepared for the interview is the best way to improve your listening. Interviewers who are prepared can focus their attention on the candidate. The number one reason interviewers give for their lack of attention is that they are thinking about the next question. If an interviewer is prepared and has their questions pre-planned then this problem is immediately solved. The interviewer can focus on the candidate.
Taking notes during the interview is the next important step to good listening skills. By taking notes you are focusing on what the candidate is saying. Note-taking is imperative to the whole process. It is impossible to remember everything an applicant says during an interview, so your notes will be a valuable resource when making an hiring decision. Otherwise, an interviewer will remember their impression of a candidate more than their qualifications. Interviewing is more than a gut feeling - impressions leads to biases and they can cause a bad hiring decision. When taking your notes focus on the content of the information the candidate is giving you, not on judgments or inferences.
During the course of the interview make sure that you allow the candidate to finish. Silence is very important. When asking a question, let the applicant think and provide a full answer so that you can get the information that you need. If they begin to ramble or get off topic, redirect them in a polite manner so that you can get to the information that is so important in an interview.
Make sure that you are in a quiet place for the interview. This will help both of you. Try block out as much sound and interruption as possible. Be aware of your body language. Facial expressions and arm and leg movement can send the wrong signal to the candidate. It helps to practice this in front of a mirror or with a co-worker.
Make the best hiring decisions possible for you and your company. Listening skills is the greatest weakness of most interviewers, but it doesn't have to be. Following these suggestions will set you on the right track to effective interviewing.
Charlie Bentson King is a writer and producer of hiring and interviewing training videos for TrainingABC. TrainingABC is a distributor of behavioral interviewing video and DVD programs such as More Than a Gut Feeling.