The Importance Of Active Listening Skills For Interviews

By Domonique Delgado

So after numerous applications for your dream internship or graduate role, you’ve now been selected for an interview. An often nerve-racking experience, it’s easy to become anxious about the prospect of attending an interview. Despite this, it’s important to remain calm and, most importantly, really listen to the questions posed to you by the interviewer in order to ensure success.

General feedback from employers following unsuccessful student interviews for internships is that students haven’t actually listened to the question posed to them. As such, students either give very short answers, or don’t actually answer the question at all. However, it’s very important to ensure that you do listen carefully, as employers generally feel that if you cannot properly pay attention during an interview, then you may not be able to take direction as an employee.

So, to stay ahead of the competition, follow the steps below on how to actively listen and succeed at interview.

1. Don’t assume you know what the question will be

It’s always advisable to practise answering common interview questions prior to attending an interview, however during the real interview you should make sure that you listen to what the interviewer is actually asking you, and not pre-empt what the question will be.

2. Take a short pause before answering the question

It’s easy to become anxious during an interview, which may make you want to avoid moments of silence. However, taking a short pause prior to answering will enable you to fully take in the question being asked, and increase your chances of answering it properly.

3. Give the interviewer what they are asking for

Whilst it can be easy to reel off as much information about yourself as possible, for fear that you might leave something important out, it is important that your responses are in line with what the question actually asks for. For example, if you are asked to name 2 of your strengths and provide examples, make sure you give the interviewer just that: 2 strengths with examples – no more, no less!

4. Have good body language

Your body language should show you are engaged with the interviewer and that you are interested in what they are asking you. One way to demonstrate this, is maintaining good eye contact with your interviewer. Smiling and nodding can also show that you’re actively listening, and understand what’s expected of you.

5. Do not interrupt or talk over your interviewer

Although you may be keen to get your point across, talking over your interviewer typically signals that you’re focused on your answer, rather than actually listening to the whole question or statement they are posing to you.


So the next time you have an interview scheduled, why not try to utilise some of these techniques by practising beforehand with a friend or mentor, and see how quickly you can increase your active listening skills?


Domonique Delgado is a Business Development Officer at UTS:Careers, where she is responsible for helping to increase the number of available internship and employment opportunities to UTS Students. Domonique has extensive recruitment, student, and graduate coaching experience, and is passionate about building relationships with employers to help UTS students and graduates connect                       with industry.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.


Author: Guest Contributor

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