Active listening #2

Active listening lessons from a talk with my hiring manager. Continued..


Active listening

In #1 I mentioned this particular meeting with a hiring manager because I am still learning from it. Before I continue I should add that over the next couple of months I stayed in touch with that person – over the office chat program, allowing me to verify some of my conclusions.

One of the lessons learned was that the starting point to the vital (real) part of the discussion may come 15 minutes after getting into the room; it may also take a few meetings to get to the point. I still don’t know of any proven way of forcing this process. Perhaps if you manage to take the high ground quickly? My personal experience shows that active listening comes easier to me if there is enough room for a dynamic conversation. Dynamic in the sense that assuming the high ground wouldn’t allow me to voice my reflections later in the discussion because the other person might be led to expect answers, or even worse – ready solutions.

In my conversation with the HM I managed to introduce reflections at a later stage only because I was still learning about major technical concepts of the work of this huge IT organization. I try using reflections to sum up information acquired by listening a lot earlier now. I figured this could be used two-fold – also as a way to slightly alter the direction of the conversation. This has proved useful in many talks since I try not to allow people to play the “I’m so busy” card over and over again.

Coming back to the starting point of any discussion, you can try and reflect on what the purpose of the meeting was or what the action plan you agreed upon is. By doing this from different angles at different stages of the conversation you are also validating the commitment of your partner, and checking if there has been a major change in the desired outcome. No good can come out of running towards a big goal if you have lost the connection with the initial request.

Please don’t get me wrong – requirements and goals can change often when it comes to recruitment. I just don’t think anyone can recommend accepting all changes on good faith without taking the time to see why they happen and how this would affect your working process.


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