Job Interview–It's Not Just About Giving the Right Answers, It's Also About Hearing the Questions


There are several words to describe it: to hear, to listen, to be all ears, to be attentive, and more. But due to pressure, stress and a variety of other reasons, we often hinder our own efforts by not truly listening while being interviewed for a desired position.

Let me offer you some points for thinking:

  • Think hard, how many times can you recall being asked a question, and before hearing it all the way through, you already started formulating the answer in your head not entirely catching the remainder of the question? This issue is significantly more important during a job interview. Try to be patient and attentive, fully listen to the interviewer all the way through and only then answer. By doing this you'll show the interviewer respect and avoid missing important parts of the question that could be included at the end of the sentence rather than at its beginning.
  • By partially listening to the question we don't always get the full meaning intended by the interviewer. If this is the case it's clear that the answer we provide will be partial, insufficient, won't truly and fully let the interviewer know what he wants to know and will actually push us away from our goal.
  • Your conversation counterpart feels if he's getting 50%, 75% or a 100% of your attention. Your complete attention will relay to the other side a feeling of respect and patience.
  • Listen with your eyes. Meet the interviewer's gaze when talking and when listening (without intimidating), perceive his body language and his facial expressions, sometimes, they say more than words.
  • While listening to the interviewer try your best to avoid performing a compelling yet utterly redundant imitation of the dog on your car's dashboard, do not nod without pause. At best, it's irritating. In worse cases it can cause the interviewer to pause the interview claiming that a sudden case of seasickness had just overcame him.
  • Even if you were listening, but remain unsure as to the interviewer's intent or meaning, you can always verify what you think you understood. Repeating the question or the idea is a good way to do this: "If I understand you correctly, in order to join you organization I have to be…". This method can also be used to procrastinate answering the question, thus buying yourself a few more precious seconds to think and contemplate your words.
  • In more complex interviews it's completely legitimate to use a small note pad or notebook, taking down notes while listening and referring to them later on. Try not to turn your note into a grocery list or divert the interviewer's attention while taking down notes.


In conclusion, most of us enjoy having two ears. Put them to good use!

Interested in hearing more or professionally preparing yourself to a job interview?

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Wishing swift success to all you job hunters out there,

Ilil Lavi