Listen More than You Talk

People naively think that the more they talk in an interview, the more successful they are in the interview.  This is often not the case at all.  It’s the old “two ears and only one mouth” for a reason.  To maximize your effectiveness, listen more than you talk.

Learn about the Company and the Position – You have already researched the company online and had a couple informational interviewers with their employees.  This preparation helps you in your interview but be careful not to assume you know all you need.  Listen to what the interviewer is telling you about the company and the specific position.  Evaluate this against what you’ve already heard.  If it is not consistent it could be a red flag.

Gain Insights on the Manager’s Style and Expectations – Interviews with HR, the hiring manager and other members of the team can provide valuable insights into the manager’s style and expectations.  How well does the team work together?  While sometimes they share information directly and other information can be gleaned from the questions they ask.  If several people ask if you can work with little supervision, don’t expect a hands on manager.  Listen carefully to understand what is important to them.

Assess the Company Culture and Your Fit –While the interviewer is trying to assess your fit with the company, you need to also be assessing whether their culture fits your style and whether this is a good fit for you.  Listen to how they talk about the company, their manager, the team and how they work together.  Is this an environment in which you can be successful?

Tips to Keep the Interviewer Talking – It is important to have insightful questions prepared to ask each of your interviewers so you can gain valuable insights during the interview process.  Consider asking the following types of questions:

  • What do you like most about working for the company?
  • What are their favorite aspects of their jobs?
  • What keeps them awake at night?
  • If I were in this position, how would I be evaluated in six months and at the end of the first year?
  • How do you train new hires?
  • What interaction would this position have on a regular basis within the team and across the organization?

While you certainly have to be well prepared to answer the interviewer’s questions, hone your listening skills to give yourself the most critical insights into the new position and the organization.  Developing strong listening skills during your interviews will help you identify the best fit for your future success.


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