By Lisa Parker

Have you ever been in the position of having what you felt to be a great conversation with a decision maker only to never hear from that person again? It’s incredibly frustrating to go from the high of assumed success to the low of begging for some nugget of follow-up, knowing as the days pass by rejection is on the horizon.

Why does this happen? Chances are the criteria the person used to dub a conversation a success was off the mark. Many times job seekers believe long interviews and discussions with lots of friendly banter equal a slam dunk.  Frequently, that’s not the case. Was the interview long because it lacked focus? Was the interview laced with personal stories and chit chat because the professional side of the candidate wasn’t interesting? Bottom line, interviews are mini business meetings and it is crucial for job seekers to not lose sight of that. When evaluating interviews, a great conversation with a decision maker means you swapped essential information about what each of you bring to the table, found synergy with those offerings, achieved an effective rapport, outlined a plan for where to go next and accomplished all of that in an efficient manner. Those components need to be there before doing the “that went great!” happy dance.

To be candid, there have been several people through the years I’ve had long friendly conversations with and it didn’t amount to a hill of beans. In fact, there were times when I’ve avoided some of those individuals because I didn’t have time to get sucked into a long discussion that, though fun and friendly, left me even further behind with my work.

I suppose the most basic point I can make is to call a conversation great when you know you’ve got a decision maker needing you in addition to liking you. Either one by itself simply isn’t enough.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insight-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; career content blogger.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.



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