The Art of Listening During an Interview

The Art of Listening During an Interview

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!

Yewande Jinadu

Yewande Jinadu is a Young and Dynamic HR Professional who is a passionate about employability of Young Graduates. She is the Founder of CareerLife Nigeria ( and the convener of The Employability Fitness Program, a program that helps young graduates overcome interview phobia through live interview mock sessions Her passion for impacting others and starting CareerLife Nigeria was borne out of her own personal struggle to get a job. As an engineering graduate who finished from a public university with no previous employability training, she struggled to find a job. She made up my mind to switch to HR with the desire to help young Nigerian graduates achieve measurable success in their career. Through CareerLife Nigeria's initiative, several graduates have become employable and gotten job several Job Offers. Recently she was recognized as one of the top 150 global HR Professionals and Top 50 Career Influencers by The Workbooth Yewande is changing the narrative for Young Nigerian Graduates You can reach out to her by sending a mail to: and follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @careerlifeng

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