During a job interview, a potential employer asks, “Can you take on more
than one project at a time?” If you respond, “Yes,” you may want to rethink
that answer. According to Dynamic Listening: Interview Skills, a computer
based training module from Mindleaders in Columbus, Ohio, you should avoid
one-word or one-sentence answers.
Be specific. And speak money-language. Here’s a preferred answer to the
question above, “In general, depending upon the type and length of projects,
I believe in efficiently handling more than one project at a time. This
could save a company as much as 30%.”
Let’s check out the definition of “active listening skills” and learn more
to help with your next interview…
Active Listening Skills
Just as everyday “speaking” is not the same as public speaking; “listening”
is not the same as active listening. Active listening means two things:
analysis and response to the message being communicated.
An active listener maintains eye contact and good posture with a slight lean
towards the speaker. During the interview, the listener nods, smiles and
takes notes. Be ware, however, that a daydreamer or pseudolistener, can
adopt these behaviors. So a listener’s physical response does not
necessarily mean good listening skills are at work.
Nonverbal communication, more than just the nod or smile, is important.
Gestures, appearance, timing, voice responses, facial expressions, spatial
distance – all affect how the speaker (or interview) interprets the
listener. So a person preparing for a job or work project interview should
consider the cultural climate and norms of society of the interviewer. In
short, perceived active listening based on nonverbal signals can vary from
culture to culture.
Especially in this age of such great cultural diversity, be courteous of
others regardless of cultural, sexual or societal backgrounds. If you are a
woman and get to a door before a man, open it. If your interviewer doesn’t
speak English very well and looks puzzled at your words, go back and explain
yourself again in different words and re-establish a good communication
Note: a major part of active listening is paraphrasing. It’s not the same as
summarizing. A summary is a shortened version of the original message,
focusing on the main point. To paraphrase means to re-state the message in
your own words.
Active listeners take notes by paraphrasing or restating what the speaker
said in their own words, and summarizing main points. A good listener is not
the same thing as a silent listener. Good listeners ask questions, even
something like, “Is this an accurate paraphrase of you have said?” to let
the speaker know that you understand the message being communicated.