Effective communication is among the more difficult social skills one must face during a job search. It is one thing to be able to put your thoughts into words, but it is another thing to make them understood by others.
The ability to give and receive clear information during a job interview is critical to the success of the interview. Effective communication will help determine if you are among the pending candidates for the job.
Successful salespeople learn to ask "leading" questions of customers to learn of needs that will be satisfied by their products and services. But, they will learn little if they aren't prepared to listen -- actively listen.
Conducting a job search is conducting a sales campaign, no matter what your usual line of work may be.
You are the product and the sale (job) will come much easier if you listen to the employer's needs. As former President Calvin Coolidge said, "No one ever listened themselves out of a job." You must listen to the employer's needs before you can present yourself as a solution to those needs.
Say what you mean in a mature, business-like way, leaving nothing to be "read between the lines." Be brief, be concise; but say what you mean. Since many hiring authorities lack this skill, you must be prepared to ask questions that are necessary and intelligently presented.
If you are asked why you left your last job, don't say, "Well, you know ... the economy." Instead, you might say, "Due to the economy, several positions were eliminated, including mine." Say what happened, clearly and briefly, and not negatively.
Listen to each question and respond to that question; don't say what you might be thinking. My friend walked into the room the other day and I asked, "Is it raining yet?" The answer was, "Man, the temperature must have dropped 10 degrees and the clouds are black!" But, is it raining? Not yet? Listen to the question and then answer that question.
Interviewers want to hear answers to specific questions, not editorial observations that may or may not be relevant. Actively listen, and then accurately respond.
Do what others fail to do!
Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach based in Birmingham, Ala. For contact information, see marvin-walberg.com.