Are you a good listener? Do you hear what’s being said or like many of us, do you switch off and make up what you think you heard?

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As a recruiter, I believe listening skills are the most crucial tool in our kit. How can we understand a client’s requirements if we don’t actively listen? And by the same token, how can we help a candidate find their next role if we’re not really listening to what they are telling us?

In her book, ‘You’re not Listening’, Kate Murphy talks about how often we interrupt the person talking and shift the conversation to ourselves. Guilty, right?

She discusses how the cacophony of modern life discourages listening and yet in her opinion (and mine too), listening is arguably more valuable than speaking. Calvin Coolidge is quoted as saying “No man ever listened himself out of a job”.

When I’m taking a brief from a client, or when I’m interviewing a candidate, I’m hyper-aware of listening. I ask open questions such as ‘what’s the reason you’re moving on?’ or ‘tell me about the working culture here’ and I try super hard not to interrupt, despite never being short of having something to say!

If you genuinely listen, you’ll pick up nuances, you’ll hear hidden meaning, you might also ‘hear’ what’s not being said as much as what is spoken aloud.

Truly listening is a real skill and the best way to elicit all the detail you need to make an informed decision or choice, which might well lead to your next hire.