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Listening Tips for the Interview

Listening Tips for the Interview

Carole Martin / Monster

March 10, 2010

If you thought interviewing was only about answering questions, you’ve been missing the point. You’ve also been missing an opportunity to gather valuable information. Listening is one of the most underused skills in a job interview. Most candidates go into an interview thinking about how they will answer the questions, and they forget they are also there to learn about the job and company. They fail to listen, observe and read between the lines.

A List of Questions Isn’t Enough

Reena sat in an interview answering questions. When she was asked, “Do you have any questions?” she was ready and took out her list of questions.

Sounds like she did everything perfectly, right? Not quite. She forgot to listen to what had been said during the interview and then follow up with related questions. If she had been listening, she would have heard the emphasis placed on retention. There were two questions asked about her plans for the future: How long she planned to stay with the company and why she had only stayed with her last employer for two years. If she had been listening, she might have been struck by the focus of these questions and followed up with something like, “I’ve heard some concerns about retention. What is the turnover rate for this department?”

She might have discovered the turnover rate was quite high. In fact, retention was a big problem for the company. Once that fact was discovered, her next question should have been, “Is there a specific reason employees leave?” She may have, or may not have, received a forthright answer, but she would have been able to make her own judgment and observe the interviewer for signs of discomfort with the question.

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