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A recruiter is essentially an interviewer, in part. Not unlike a TV reporter, radio personality or even a talk show host, an interviewer must know the right questions to ask candidates. But perhaps more important, a recruiter must know how to listen.

A well-formed list of questions is essential, but to listen, really listen, to what and how candidates respond is an art.

In his article about Walter Cronkite’s views on being a good listener, Daniel Jacobs recounts the story of two boys who had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of interviewing Cronkite. They had their question well-mapped out and rehearsed, but in the end Cronkite asked them a question… “Do you know what makes a good interview?” From there he went on to explain the importance of listening.

“Being a good listener will always lead you to the next question,” Cronkite said. In other words, your list of questions may need to take a back seat to listening to answers and responding organically.

Jacob goes on to say, “It involves hearing what people are saying and adjusting our words and actions to respond to the words and meaning we hear.”

As a recruiter with a limited amount of time with each candidate, this could spin out of control. So the key is to be able to reign in a tangent. Don’t lose site of the goal of the interview, but do try to be a bit more organic when asking questions.

Ultimately, take the time to listen, and learn to organically ask questions while keeping goals in mind. You may find you gain a deeper insight into a candidate, allowing you to make the best choice and place the correct person to the right job.

— M. Christine Watson, Global Marketing Director, DaXtra Technologies

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