You need to take some control of the conversation
Politicians are masters at this. And as we slug through the morass otherwise known as a presidential election campaign, you’ll probably be able to notice it, if you’re looking for it.
We’re talking about talking points. Every politician who has held a press conference, done an interview or given a stump speech has them – and the more successful politicians, the more masterful they are at getting their talking points across.
And just what does this have to do with your job search? Plenty. At every opportunity the politician skillfully makes the points that will advance the campaign. Likewise, when you’re in a position to exercise your talking points, you need to be certain that you’re making your points, in your way without letting the interviewer – or networking connection – drive the conversation in whatever way they want to take it. That’s your job.
When a politician has a particular point to be made on, for example, taxes, whenever faced with a question that has anything whatsoever to do with taxes, that’s the particular point that has to be made – whether it actually addresses the question or not.
The same can be said of your interview. When asked about your responsibilities on your most recent job, rather than just reciting what was written in the job description, here is your opportunity to focus on your strongest points: spearheading the cost-cutting program, opening up a new territory, increasing sales, launching a new product – whatever was your shining moment, that becomes the primary topic of discussion – whether it specifically addresses the interviewer’s point.
You can’t allow the interview to set the topic(s) of conversation. You don’t ever want to leave an interview mumbling to yourself how you should have this; you should have emphasized that; “why didn’t I tell him about…?”
You have your chance during the interview. Steer the conversation on the course you want (or need) it to go.