Are you one of those people who talk when they are nervous? It’s pretty easy to do — and very damaging to your career if you don’t learn how to control it. That old adage about having two ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you talk is actually good advice for every part of your working world, from the interview to get the job to the moves into management and executive leadership.
The Big Mistake You Can Make
When you sit down for an interview, one of the big questions in the interviewer’s mind is what you will be like to work with. It’s a valid question because most jobs do involve some level of teamwork. So in order to answer the big questions, the way you answer smaller questions is observed. Speaking without listening is a red flag because it indicates that since you don’t listen here, in the job interview, you won’t listen later, on the job.
If you are rehearsing your “hire me” job spiel in your head, waiting for the chance to present it, then you aren’t going to be hearing the questions they ask. You’ll be answering the questions you think they will ask — and that is not the same thing at all.
It is a good preparation tactic to think through questions that may be asked in an interview. But that’s not a script you are rehearsing, and the interview may not involve those questions at all. It’s better to make sure you actually hear what is being asked so you can answer the question.
The Leadership Skill of Listening
One of the reasons that the skill of listening is a mark of leadership is because truly hearing what people are saying gives added perspective to a problem so it can be solved. Listening is a mark of respect for the speaker, and true leaders value those on their team as important contributors. Learning how to listen is part of honing your interview skills, but being able to listen and contribute value to the conversation by being on the same page is a skill you will need all your life.