The Importance of Listening

Interviewing is kinda my thing. I’m great at it. I present well. I know what to wear. I know what to say. I know what buzz words employers love to hear. I know “which are your best 3 qualities and worst qualities” like the back of my hand. I know what to look for in the office of the interviewee to make “pleasant conversation”. These skills have allowed me to been given the opportunity to work for every company I have ever applied for. But this article isn’t to toot my own horn … OK, it was a little bit but it gets interesting further on. Now I know you are reading this “like OK… what’s the catch. what monumental lesson am I supposed to take away from this and how does this all tie back together” and to that I say… be patient.

Couple months ago I was applying for this recruiter position. I did no outside prep for this interview. I knew two things of the interview to be exact, it was a phone interview (So I knew to pick a quiet environment within my house as to not be distracted by noise) and that the recruiter was younger. (Most of us expect our interviewer to be some old fart but due to some casual Linkedin stalking I knew that he was in his mid 30s at best). The call was scheduled for 7:15pm on a Friday. My interview time rolled around and no call. I immediately went back to the confirmation email to see if I had mistaken and was supposed to call him. I wasn’t. He called at 7:30pm. We jumped right into the interview questions after I gave a brief story about my work history. He said “That sounds amazing Lauren. Now let’s get into the interview. We are only allotted 15 mins per person so I am going to ask you a series of questions and I want you to answer them”. I said “OK. I will. I’m ready”. He asked “In your last position was there ever a time when you had to deal with an unruly customer… how did you combat that?” In my head I’m thinking “BARRY BONDS!” bout to knock this question out the park. So I go off in this long drawn out tangent/scenario of what I would do if a customer came in and was upset with me and or the company. He lets me ramble for a bit and then cuts me off. “Lauren, I’m asking you how did you deal with with an unruly customer, like how did you calm them down?” Now I’m thinking …. um I answered this already so I just put a new spin on what I had already said. He then cuts me off again and goes to the next question.

He asks me about four other questions and then he cuts me off again. His tone changes completely and in my head I’m thinking “OK this guy is very very rude”. “Lauren, at this time you are just not the kind of candidate that we want.” I’m guessing he could hear the confusion in my voice because then he said “Are you aware this is a job interview? You have great energy and would probably make a great sales person but you just do not listen. I have been asking you very specific questions and you have been jumping all around and not answering them. I didn’t ask you to create a scenario of what you would do, I asked you what you did. This is being taped. Now I am going to call you back and we are going to do this all over again because if I submit this shit right now, you would never get a call back. Now I’m going to hang up and call you back in a minute”. I was stunned. I had never been spoken to that before by an interviewer nor had I ever heard any of that kind of commentary about myself before. He called me back and the interview went smoothly and I was even hired for the position but that situation really taught me so much.

Listening is so crucial in life but especially in sales and marketing and you cant stop at listening you have to listen and apply what you are being asked. Whether you are just starting up you business, or whether you have been in business for months, listening is so crucial to your success. I was listening to what he had asked me but I was processing it as something else. Learn from this. I went through that so you don’t have to.

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