You’ve worked hard to get this job interview. It is vitally important that you succeed. Now, how do you prepare? It is your job to communicate what makes you uniquely suited for this job. Of course, you must do all the research necessary on the company and the interviewer, and then make sure you are superbly well prepared to respond to questions with enthusiasm, clarity and confidence. (We will cover this basic preparation in more depth in another blog post).
And… regardless of the questions asked, you must commit to communicating your prepared talking points. Talking points are the most powerful communications tools you have for creating interview success!
What are Talking Points and How Do You Create Them?
A talking point is a brief anecdote that clearly and compellingly illustrates why you are a great fit for a particular job. First, make your professional capabilities/personal qualities list. Here are just a few examples: leadership ability; conflict resolution skills; excel at doing research and designing targeted solutions; money management acumen; human resources management; detail oriented; presentation skills; written communications skills; etc. Next, decide which of these capabilities are best suited to the job for which you are interviewing.
Now, brainstorm events where you demonstrated these capabilities, and create a separate, brief, clear anecdote (1-2 minutes at most) for each capability. This is not as easy as it sounds. You may want to talk to a good friend or trusted former co-worker, or use your resume, or any letters or documents you have to “jog” your memory. Cite facts and figures, statistics and profits, and measurable improvements you’ve generated. Remember to utilize sparkling prose, great adjectives and really tell a compelling story. In other words, you need to really paint a picture with your words…show what you have not done, not merely tell about it. Then, practice saying these brief anecdotes aloud until they feel and sound natural. This is immensely important. You must sound conversational; avoid sounding as though this has been memorized. Congratulations! You have just created your first set of talking points!
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Please feel free to post any comments on your interview successes or missteps. I’m always interested in your experiences and I’m here to help!