June 8, 2017 Emily Lierle

Listening Skills In Recruitment: Best Practices For Leaders

Listening is more important than asking. Be present when interviewing for a senior leadership role — as listening skills in recruitment are paramount.

Good questions matter, but that’s only part of the formula to find the right top talent.

With 5+ years of experience in executive search, we’ve created this discovery series to share with you what we’ve learned along our journey of hiring innovation. Below we share the second in this series.

Discovery: The process of hiring to achieve the best possible outcome for every role requires active listening by the person(s) doing the interviewing

When interviewing C-suite and other senior-level leaders, we have found it important to uncover one’s authentic leadership traits. Below is a sampling of questions and some suggestions on what to really listen for in the process. Make sure you are committed to listening by removing all possible distractions and focusing with good intent to learn who the person is, and what really matters to them. This will then result in a better outcome.

1. If you were going to teach a college course, what course would you teach?

Listen to understand the subjects they care most deeply about

Listen for insight as to where they feel their strengths lie

2. What leader or leaders do you look up to and why?

Listen to understand their leadership style

Listen for their philosophy and alignment with your culture

3. What is one truth you believe in that most people disagree with you on?

Listen to learn about the candidate’s belief system

Listen to whether they are willing to challenge the status quo, or not

There is no shortage of great interview questions you can ask, but it’s just as critical, if not more important, to listen intently in the process. So, go on — give hiring the listening it deserves. You’ll thank your ears later.

Stay tuned for our next article featuring more expertise on Hiring Discoveries. Also, for more tips on utilizing listening skills in recruitment, contact Y Scouts.


Y Scouts, a leadership search firm, finds purpose-aligned as well as performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.