"u..huh, â€¦.yeah,â€¦ rightâ€¦ yupâ€¦.makes sense to meâ€¦.., what was that?"
I was hoping that my colleague was actually listening to me but it sounds like he was sending emails and perhaps even texting someone else while we were on the phone. How many times has this happened to you? It seems today that we have become incapable of doing one thing at a time. The next time you are in the car, take a look the people driving by and make a mental note of how many are speaking on the phone. Or when you are walking down the street, count how many people are fixed to their smart phones. These trappings have made it impossible for most of us to really listen.
Which is a huge problem when you are interviewing.
If you are a candidate interviewing for a job the most important words out of your mouth will be the ones that reflect how well you have been listening to the interviewer. Assuming you have done your homework and understand what the company does, your conversation will need to resonate with what the interviewer has been speaking about. It is not what you have done or can do. It is how what you have done or do can help solve the challenges that the interviewer has been speaking about.
If you are a company interviewing a candidate you will want to listen carefully to what the candidate is saying. Do her answers reflect a deep understanding of what your company does? Does he articulate his experience solving problems with a level of detail that reflects a "hands on" approach or does he sound like someone that needs a lot of other people to get anything done?
Recruiters can be some of the worst listeners on the planet. In the rush to fill a position, they often don't effectively listen to what the client is asking for and subsequently send candidates that don't accurately fit the job description.
In F. Scott Peck's book, "The Road Less Travelled", the author speaks of a lecture he attended where he had to make a super conscious effort to listen to the speaker. At the end of the lecture he had a headache and was sweating. I don't believe we will always be faced with having to display that level of concentration when listening but perhaps stepping away from the keyboard is a good start.