Is listening difficult?

Well, it depends.

Listening is easy if you’re only interested in the words being spoken.

It’s difficult if you’re interested in uncovering the feelings, values and world views behind what’s being said.

Good candidate interviews require the latter and it’s a skill which requires technique and practice.

Here’s how you get better;

Tell me more

A candidate’s first response rarely tells the whole story. Probe further by asking candidates to elaborate. Use "Tell me more” or “Help me understand” to dig further.

Get comfortable with silence

Don’t rush the interview. Use silence between questions and answers to give candidates the extra seconds they need to process the question and to think about their responses. It also gives you time to process what’s being said.

Acknowledge Emotions

Look for emotion and when you find it, acknowledge it. If a candidate gets excited when speaking about a past project or displays frustration with an ex-manager, consider these signs that there’s more behind what’s being said.

Focus on the person

Really listen to what’s being said. Don’t think about your next question or start writing notes. Pay attention to what’s being said so your candidate feels you’re engaged in the conversation. They’ll naturally be encouraged to elaborate on their responses.


Navin Muruga