05 Jun LISTEN BEFORE YOU SPEAK
Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
The Fifth Habit of Highly Effective Job Seekers is to stop and listen.
When you finally get that invitation to attend an interview, there is a lot at stake. Nerves start kicking in and you probably start rehearsing how the interview will go in your mind. You will probably start dreaming how things will play out when you get the job, the money, the promotion, the status. Visualization is great and positive. But then adrenaline kicks in!
I cannot tell you how many interviews I have done over the years, that have felt more like therapy sessions. The job seeker sits down, and before I have even had a chance to ask a question, they are telling me all sorts of things. As they speak, they feel like they are saying it wrong, so they talk some more. The job seekers that are in a bad employment situation, or have just left one, are particularly vulnerable for falling into this trap. The more they talk, the interview becomes about their previous boss, and not about them. All interviews (and therapy sessions) have a limited time span, and before you know it, the interview is over and I know nothing about the skills that I was really interested in, because you keep going off, talking about other stuff.
Job seekers that have also not take a few minutes to think about who they are, what they have to offer, and what they are looking for in their careers, will also be inclined to not listen to questions, and just tell me what they think I want to hear.
The job seekers that succeed at interviews, are the ones that stop and listen. They make sure that they understand the questions, and what information the interviewer is looking for. They know who they are, so they answer authentically, and they stay in the present moment, so they don’t get pulled into past employment relationships.
The jobs seekers that Seek First to Understand, make sure they know what the job is all about. They ask the right questions about what will be expected and because they have taken time to figure out what they are looking for, they don’t jump into jobs that they wont like.
The next time you go into an interview, try and be more mindful. Take a few deep breaths. Consciously stop yourself from speaking without listening first. Listen to questions and ask for clarification if you are not 100% what is being asked. Take your time to answer intelligently. When you are told what the job involves, ask questions. Not questions about what you will get out of it (salary, working hours, etc), that comes later when you are offered the job. Rather ask questions to clarify what they want to get out of it, if they employed you.
Knowledge is power, and you gain knowledge by listening, not talking.
(inspired by “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.