By Lisa Parker

If I had a magic wand one thing I would do is cast a spell on job seekers that helps them get to the point faster. I know my wordy self has a lot of nerve saying that, but stick with me for a minute.

I’m not sure if it’s the mistaken belief that every detail matters to an interviewer or the thought a drawn out build up to information adds suspense and excitement, but I often find myself waiting in agony to hear the gem of substance that is supposedly on its way. Then once the ending arrives I’m underwhelmed and wondering why I had to be subjected to such a long lead up to nothing. At times it feels like the Heinz ketchup commercial where the person is waiting for the ketchup to finally flow. Thing is, the end result in interviews is rarely a flow of goodness. It’s often a drop in the middle of an empty plate. And before that drop got there, the interviewer was imagining churning a stick around in the person or thumping them on the back a few times in the hopes of getting something out faster. Hiring managers are busy and don’t have the time or patience for job seekers who aren’t faster than ketchup.

At the end of the day, there is no reason for any answer to a question to go on for more than a couple of minutes. Responses should be concise and on topic. Leave out the details only you care about. Though it’s possible for a topic to be on the table for a longer than a few minutes, it shouldn’t happen without the candidate coming up for air and yielding the floor to the interviewer on occasion. The best interviews are two way conversations full of valuable content, not rambling one-sided accounts of irrelevant details.


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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