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Interview Tip: Why Active Listening During an Interview is Important

Most of your interview preparation is spent researching the company, studying the job description, and brainstorming your responses to common interview questions. These are very important tasks in your interview preparation, but there’s something else to consider: active listening! 

Active listening can help you learn more from the interviewer about company culture, job responsibilities, and what the future of the company might look like. There’s quite a bit of value in active listening, and it’s also noticeable to the interviewer when they see a candidate who is actively listening and in the moment.

Why is Active Listening During an Interview Important?

What Do Interviewers Want to Learn?

It’s important to consider what an interviewer wants to learn about you when you consider active listening. When you understand what they’re looking for, you may be able to better decide how to respond to their questions. They are trying to learn:

  • If you CAN do the job: These questions will refer to your skills, knowledge, experience and accomplishments. They will also be considering your learning potential, as well as any physical demands of the job.
  • If you WILL do the job: These types of questions pertain to your interest in the position, company, and industry. They will include your work ethic and energy level too.
  • If you FIT into the job and company: Finally, these questions are meant to discover your personal chemistry, communication skills, values, and general interests.

When you understand that these are the three areas an interviewer is trying to learn about you, you can listen to their questions better and determine how you can answer them to help them learn this information.

3 Tips for Active Listening During Your Interview

Listen to What is Actually Being Said

In addition to the words leaving an interviewer’s mouth, they are communicating in other ways: eye movement, body language, hand gestures or fidgeting. Listen to your interviewer with your ears, and by observing other means of communication, you may learn more about what they are saying or asking. 

Ask for More Information

Interviewers understand that they are talking to a human being, meaning they don’t expect you to know everything. If you have a question about something they are talking about, be it a job responsibility, a curiosity about the company, or you just need clarification on what they’re asking, just ask them! It’s true that there are no stupid questions, and instead, your questions show that you are engaged and actively listening to the interviewer, not just waiting for your turn to speak.

Engage with the Interviewer 

If you can engage the interviewer, you will show you are actively listening to them. By turning the interview into a “give and take” experience, you will be memorable. People want to work with people, and candidates who show their ability to give and take in a conversation are demonstrating an ability to engage with leadership and coworkers alike. 

A simple way to engage more with your interviewer is to ask if they’ve had any experience with a certain situation that they’re referencing or how the company has handled a particular development. Keep things relevant, but don’t be afraid to engage when you see the opportunity.

Practice Active Listening

Like anything else, it can take practice to actively listen. Thanks to more communication happening over devices, there have become even less opportunities for people to practice active listening. Ahead of your interview, turn every conversation you have into a chance to practice your active listening skills. 

Find the Right Job for Your Career Goals

It’s not always easy to find the right job that fits your career goals. Chat with the pros at Axiom Staffing Group so they can help you find the right opportunity. 

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