Ac­tive lis­ten­ing in job in­ter­views

NOW Magazine - Career Companion - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAY BAUDER

Dur­ing a job in­ter­view, a po­ten­tial em­ployer asks, “Can you take on more than one project at a time?” If your re­sponse is “Yes,” you may want to re­think that an­swer. Ac­cord­ing to Dy­namic Lis­ten­ing: In­ter­view Skills, a com­puter-based train­ing mod­ule from Mindlead­ers in Colum­bus, Ohio, you should avoid one-word or one-sen­tence an­swers.

Be spe­cific. And speak money lan­guage. A pre­ferred an­swer to the ques­tion above might be “In gen- eral, depend­ing upon the type and length of projects, I be­lieve in ef­fi­ciently han­dling more than one project at a time. This could save a com­pany as much as 30 per cent.” Let’s check out the def­i­ni­tion of ac­tive lis­ten­ing skills and learn more to help with your next in­ter­view. Just as ev­ery­day speak­ing is not the same as public speak­ing, lis­ten­ing is not the same as ac­tive lis­ten­ing. Ac­tive lis­ten­ing means two things: anal­y­sis of and re­sponse to the mes­sage be­ing com­mu­ni­cated. An ac­tive lis­tener main­tains eye con­tact and good pos­ture with a slight lean to­ward the speaker. Dur­ing the in­ter­view, the lis­tener nods, smiles and takes notes. Be­ware, how­ever, that a day­dreamer or pseudo-lis­tener can adopt th­ese be­hav­iours. So a lis­tener’s phys­i­cal re­sponse does not nec­es­sar­ily mean good lis­ten­ing skills are at work. Non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, more than just a nod or smile, is im­por­tant. Ges­tures, ap­pear­ance, tim­ing, voice re­sponses, fa­cial ex­pres­sions, spa­tial dis­tance – all af­fect how the speaker in­ter­prets the lis­tener.

A ma­jor part of ac­tive lis­ten­ing is para­phras­ing. It’s not the same as sum­ma­riz­ing. A sum­mary is a short­ened ver­sion of the orig­i­nal mes­sage, fo­cus­ing on the main point. To para­phrase means to re­state the mes­sage in your own words. Ac­tive lis­ten­ers take notes by para­phras­ing or re­stat­ing what the speaker said in their own words and sum­ma­riz­ing main points. A good lis­tener is not the same thing as a si­lent lis­tener. Good lis­ten­ers ask ques­tions, even some­thing like “Is this an ac­cu­rate para­phrase of what you have said?” to let the speaker know that you un­der­stand the mes­sage be­ing com­mu­ni­cated.

Jay Bauder is the owner of

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