Active Listening or Happy Ears?

Active Listening or Happy Ears?

Happy ears, not hoppy ears

When you are talking to someone on the phone, what are you doing? Are you actively listening and paying full attention to the person’s words and tone? Are you hearing what’s said as well as what is not said? Or are you playing on social media, watching TV, texting someone else at the same time? As an employer, I can tell you nothing irritates me faster than trying to help an employee while that person is playing on Facebook or texting someone. Instead of “put that coffee down” the line now would be “put that cell phone down! Social media is for closers only.” 


I have worked with sales/business development professionals and recruiters who missed important details simply because they were not paying attention. They missed an important detail that a hiring manager mentioned or a possible issue with a candidate due to distraction. Don’t sabotage yourself because you just had to text your BFF or you needed to like a cute cat picture on Insta. It’ll be there later. Also, it’s just plain rude. How seriously is your prospect going to take you if you’re goofing off?

Listen objectively.

Your goal is not to take a job order at all costs or represent a candidate no matter what. Each engagement you have is important and arguably the first interaction is very, very important. You set the stage for how this person will engage with you moving forward and you are also determining whether or not you should work with this company or candidate. For the love of all that is holy and good, take a deep breath, slow down, and don’t get happy ears. Happy ears = I only hear what I want and ignore red flags because I don’t want them to be there.

Walk away if you need to.

If the red flags are flying and/or you realize you are not the correct resource to help this person, walk away. It’s not wrong to say, “I’m not able to help everyone I speak with and unfortunately, it sounds like I am not going to be the best choice for you.” You aren’t working to shove a square peg into a round hole. If you can refer the person to someone else who can help, that’s great. Pay it forward when you can. The objective is not to paint yourself into a corner with a prospect you can’t help

Are you missing important details from conversations? Do you find yourself with incomplete job orders or candidate profiles? Let’s do some troubleshooting.

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