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How to Show a Hiring Manager You’re Actively Listening

The Betts Team
June 23, 2016

One-on-one interviews can be daunting. Trying to take notes while making constant eye contact but at the same time avoid being off putting is a lot to do simultaneously. Here are some easy tips to remember to show someone you’re actively listening to him or her.

Stop Fidgeting

Although this sounds like a no-brainer, it’s actually a lot harder to do. Take the time to practice sitting skill before jumping into in-person interview rounds. Fiddling with a pen, your clothes, or your hair can be really distracting to someone else. Keep the focus on your skills and experience instead of little disturbances. Keep your behavior as professional and clean-cut as your outfit.

Ask Follow-Up Questions

Having prepared questions for an interview is a must. But don’t forget to ask in the moment follow-up questions as well. Anything new or interesting you learn about the company should spark another question delving into more details. By asking questions about topics at hand, you’ll show that you are actively listening, understanding, and expanding the concept. This is a great opportunity to showcase how you would be additive in a team dynamic: don’t be afraid to brainstorm with the hiring manager as part of your follow-up questions.

Register Statements in Real-Time

How many times have you said something, and then someone reacts five minutes later to your information saying, “wait, what?” If you’re spending too much time trying to prep for the next question you want to ask, you’re going to miss the appropriate reaction time. Bear in mind that your interviewer is also looking at you. If they don’t see facial reactions that match their statements, they’ll know you’re not fully listening. Trust your interview preparation and let your attention be fully on the discussion to avoid the “wait, what?” feeling in an interview.

It Isn’t Just About Eye Contact

Staring at someone during an interview is off-putting. While paying attention is key, people communicate with their body language as well as their face.Actively listening to someone means you’re paying attention to all the different methods someone can convey an idea. Keep your focus on the person as a whole, and you’ll avoid getting locked in awkward eye contact for the entire interview.

Learn How to Take Notes

You should definitely take notes during an interview. Practice writing down key words only, so you can focus on the speaker. If you find yourself looking at your paper, your head has been down too long. Also, narrow down what you’re taking notes on. Company-focused information, personal information, and information on next steps are important things to take notes on. Information regarding your background, mundane small talk, or company specs you already know doesn’t need to be recorded.