How Do You Signal That You Are Ready to Listen?

I just read How to Listen. (Tip of the hat to Naomi Karten who tweeted it.)

I’ve been saying for years that great interviews are collegial conversations. The interviewer wants to learn enough about the candidate to know: can the candidate do the job and fit our culture? The candidate wants to know: can I do the job and do I want to work here? The conversation is two sides of the same coin.

When you start the interview with a nod, as the article says, or some other indicator that you are ready to listen, a smile, a settling into your chair, something, you indicate to the candidate you are ready to hear what the candidate has to say.

When the candidate is done speaking for now, the candidate does the same thing.

If you anticipate what the other person says, you are not listening. You are too ready to talk. That’s the end of the conversation.

This is one of the reasons group interviews don’t work. No one knows when it’s time to listen. Everyone is too ready to talk. Everyone has to get a word in edgewise.

Now, if it’s your culture to step on each other’s toes, be my guest. But if it’s your culture to give each other a chance to talk and listen, consider what the article says. Think about how you signal that you are ready to listen.

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