There Is No Debate | Ladders

Why staying on message is one of the most important things you can do during an interview.

There Is No Debate

Why staying on message is one of the most important things you can do during an interview.

Regardless of which candidate flops or flies high tonight, there’s no debate about it: the best way for you to get ahead in your campaign for a better career is to mimic one of their most effective tricks.

Pick three points and stick to them.

Have you ever watched our candidates on TV? When the host asks them a real zinger of a question, you’ll notice they rarely get flustered. Instead, they reply right off the top of their heads with an answer that seems to be completely coherent and well-crafted.

No matter what the question is, and no matter how aggressively or rudely asked, our candidates seem to have an answer ready at hand and they don’t get distracted by the host’s badgering. I can’t say whether that’s good for us voters, but I can tell you it’s deadly effective for giving a great interview.

It’s called “staying on message” and they don’t do it by accident.

Before they go on TV, they write down (or have written down for them) “talking points” that make the key arguments they want to make. And whatever else happens, they make sure to get their talking points across.

So in order to ace your interviews, you’ll want to have your own talking points.

And here’s the truly amazing thing — you don’t even need to come up with them on your own. Unlike the fickle electorate, your target audience will tell you exactly what you need to say! All you have to do is ask them.

When you are setting up the interview, ask the recruiter or HR person: What are the three key things you’re looking for in this position? And why are they important to the company? (If you’re not able to get this question in beforehand, you can still ask it right at the start of the interview.)

They might say this position is for a new initiative, or this role is critical for the implementation of the strategy, or the boss needs an expert to help assist them in this area.

Whatever the three key needs for the role are, write down beforehand how you can accomplish those needs. Don’t over-practice, just make sure that you know their three needs by heart, and you’ve got a reasonable argument for why you can help them.

Then during the interview, if conversation gets steered away to the still-new NFL season (go Bills! please?), the snow coming this winter, or the latest Brangelina gossip, you just make sure that you steer it back to how you can contribute on those three key needs.

Stay on message and when you walk out, your message will stay behind with your future boss.

Good luck with moving up this week!

I’m rooting for you!

Marc Cenedella

Marc Cenedella is the Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ladders, Inc., the comprehensive career resource dedicated to helping professionals ‘Manage, Market and Move-up’ in their careers. Over the last decade, Ladders has transformed the way job candidates and recruiters connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella.

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