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Yewande Jinadu: The Art of Listening During an Interview

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There are a lot of things that put recruiters/employers off which most candidates are not aware of. One major thing is the art of listening. I am able to know to this because I once made that huge mistake. Fortunately for me, I asked the recruiter about my performance and she was honest enough to tell me. I was not a good listener, she said, and that was an important skill in the role (you can guess I didn’t hear from the company afterwards).

Moving forward, I also moved into that space and became a recruiter. I wore the same shoe she wore and I really wished I could pour out my mind, but not all candidates ask for a feedback or would take it well so I decided to put it down in an article for people who are in the job space looking for a new job as a fresh graduate or as a professional.

The art of listening is not something you are born with, it’s something you develop over time. It takes someone who’s willing to be able to consciously build that skill over time and become a pro. Being a good listener won’t only help you during an interview, it’ll also help you be a better team player, colleague and boss.

There is a popular phrase that is very true with humans: We listen to reply rather than listen to understand. That habit would lead us nowhere rather it becomes a huge turn off to the recruiter. Here are somethings that would help you become a better listener during interviews:

Do not interrupt
When you’re in an interview, make a conscious effort to genuinely listen. Ensure the person says everything and watch for non-verbal cues waiting for you to respond. An interview isn’t just an opportunity to get a job, it’s also a way to learn in a way that will forever impact your life. Some employers find it rude and see you as unteachable when you keep interrupting. It’s very true that some people are terrible interviewers but guess what, you have learned how not to do it.

While listening, stay connected to the interviewer
There is a way some candidates look that seem like they are thinking of the beans and bread they left at home or are just uninterested in whatever you have to say. All they want is an offer letter. That won’t go well with the hiring team. Ensure you maintain eye contact with a few nods (don’t overdo it!) to show that you are interested in what they are saying.

Ask for clarification and don’t always assume you understand
It’s not a crime to misunderstand what the recruiter is saying. The crime is when you assume and start saying something unconnected to the question. The nice ones will cut you short and reiterate while some will just allow you shoot yourself in the foot. To avoid all that, interpret the question in the way you understand it and ask if that’s what they mean. For example, do you mean I should explain how I was able to solve the challenges in my past job ?

Don’t be shy to ask for a feedback, it will help you become better at interviews. I wish you the best in your career journey!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Yewande Jinadu is the Founder of CareerLife Nigeria, an ICF Certified Coach and also the Author of 'The All Inclusive Career Handbook'. She has been recognised both globally and locally as an HR Leader and Career Influencer. She's a Senior HR Professional passionate about shaping the culture of an organization towards improved productivity and a positive employee experience. With CareerLife Foundation, she helps young professionals achieve measurable success in their career. With CareerLife Consulting Services, she partners with businesses to deliver value through its people by providing HR Services (Recruitment, Training etc). Visit to see how she can support you or your business

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