Communication is in my opinion the major determinant of the success of an interview. If we cannot make the right communication, we run the risk of being misunderstood, of being frowned upon, of being understood as less competent than we really are, and even of creating stereotypes about our person that can not only harm us in that moment but also in future interviews.
That said, the question arises: how can I be more effective in my communications?
The word communication has its origin in the Latin term communicare which means nothing less than “coming into relationship with” or “putting into common.” We often forget that communication requires a relationship between 2 or more actors and, as with all existing relationships, all stakeholders have the same responsibility to make it work, they need to be committed and put on strategies to solve possible problems and be ready to assume responsibility when the communication fails.
One way to achieve successful communications is to understand that there are barriers at various levels:
- Transmitter – Receiver
- Physical impairments (e.g. impairing speech);
- Few communication skills;
- Different frames of reference (eg a person who was raised Portugal will have different frames of reference than a person who grew up in Japan);
- Complexity – we must be able to adapt the complexity of our message to the target audience, for example, a doctor will use technical and scientific terms with his peers, but he will have to use a simpler and clearer language with his patients.
- The Channel – We often devalue the space in which we make important communications and this can be a very powerful barrier. If we meet in a place with noise or many distractions (e.g. people, cars, animals) there will be a greater difficulty of concentration on the part of the interlocutors and this will lead to the loss of information which will consequently result in a communication that is not effective and susceptible to misunderstanding.
- Different codes – This is one of the barriers that begins to gain more meaning due to increasing globalization. The language used in communication can appear as a barrier, let us look at the example of false friends words (e.g. to assist in English means to help while assistir in Portuguese means to see), which can change the total meaning of a phrase and cause confusion!
- Context – It is important to remember that we must adapt the language and themes of conversation to the context, we should not communicate in the same way when we are in a familiar context (more informal) and in a professional (formal) context!
Fortunately there are also some attitudes that facilitate communication:
- Self-esteem – The higher our level of self-acceptance, the good will we feel with others.
- Ability to listen – it is imperative to be available to receive messages from others and try to understand them, which implies:
- Knowing to let others talk;
- Empathize with others;
- Focus on what is said;
- Eliminate immediate judgments;
- Do not interrupt the other;
- Manage emotions;
- Reformulate messages;
- Ability to give Feedback. Feedback is a set of more or less conventional signs (e.g., nodding, making interjections) that we can use to maintain, guide and reinforce communication.
Basically for communication to be effective we have to a) recognize that we are people with feelings, that influence our communications; b) demonstrate tolerance towards the feelings of others as they affect their transmission / reception of messages; c) intends to introduce, as transmitter, feelings of security in the receiver; d) be willing to assume half of the responsibility for success / failure of communication; e) strive to give and receive feedback; f) try not to act / react according to preconceived ideas that “lie behind” the message of the other; g) be congruent in our verbal and non-verbal language and last but perhaps more importantly h) have the intention to listen according to the perspective of the sender, and not from our point of view!
Finally, and with special importance for us recruiters, here are some tips for us to “better listening”:
- Know to let talk;
- Put the caller at ease;
- Show him you want to hear;
- Keep distractions away;
- Put yourself in the position of the caller;
- Be patient, do not interrupt the other;
- Do not lose your balance because of censorship or criticism;
- Ask open questions;
- Eliminate immediate judgments.