Are You Listening? 5 Tips For Better Interviews

Some job seekers think that listening during an interview means waiting for their chance to talk about themselves and answer questions the interviewer asks. If this describes you, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive a call back for a second interview.

“Many candidates are so anxious during their interview, they don’t realize what is really being asked of them,” says Cindy Underwood, CEO of The Underwood Edge.

These expert tips can help improve your listening skills and prepare you to answer the toughest questions during your next all-important interview:

Know How You Respond Under Pressure
Do you clam up when you’re nervous, or do you talk nonstop, just to calm your nerves? Knowing how you respond when you’re nervous in an interview is key to your success in presenting yourself well.If you tend to be quiet when you’re anxious, practice being more relaxed when answering interview questions. Or, if you talk too much when you’re nervous, learn to condense your responses to be concise and focused on what your interviewer is asking.

Improve Your Listening Skills
Listen carefully to your interviewer. What is the recruiter really asking?“When I pose a challenging question, it’s perfectly okay to ask for a moment to gather your thoughts,” says Underwood. Instead of answering the question too quickly, take a moment to think carefully about what the interviewer is asking.

If the question is, “Tell me what you’re looking for in a job,” don’t ramble about your long-term career goals. Be honest about what is important to you. If a good salary, flexible hours, and work-life balance are important to you, don’t be shy. Answer your interviewer by addressing their exact question. Remember not to stray from the original topic or dodge the question.

Practice Answering Typical Interview Questions
Before your interview, it goes without saying that you should educate yourself about the company and be able to carry on an intelligent conversation about the role for which you are being considered. But it’s also critical to be aware of commonly asked interview questions – and have some articulate replies in mind.

Use the Internet to research typical interview questions or look for a book at your local library. Don’t walk into an interview unprepared. Do your homework so that you have answers and scenarios readily available if a recruiter asks you to provide examples of accomplishments or situations in which you had to use problem-solving skills.

Be Aware of Your Body Language
During your interview, it’s important to form a connection and demonstrate that you’re listening intently to what your interviewer is saying. Lean forward slightly and do not fold your arms across your chest or tap your foot impatiently. Be aware of non-verbal cues that your interviewer might notice. If you appear bored, impatient, or not engaged, you are telling your interview more than you realize. You’ll also want to avoid these body language interview mistakes.

Be sure to offer a handshake when you meet your recruiter or hiring manager. This is an opportunity to show your recruiter that you are approachable, professional, and eager to learn more about the position for which you’re being considered.

Be Polite
The art of showing respect and gratitude is still alive and well. However, many job candidates forget this basic necessity and skip sending a thank-you note altogether. Thanking the interviewer for their time and interest not only sets you apart from the other candidates and job applicants, it also shows basic respect. A simple e-mail goes a long way, although some people choose to send a written thank-you note instead. Whichever method of communication you decide, keep your note concise and respectful.

Do you need strategies to help further your career? Check out our blog for articles about a variety of topics for job seekers. If you’re looking for a new position, The Underwood Edge can help you find a role that is best-suited to you and your skill set.

The Underwood Edge uses a highly personalized approach to bring client and candidate together in a seamless recruitment process. Contact us today to learn about new career opportunities that you’re interested in.

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