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  • Writer's pictureRachel Koblic (Staff Contributor)

How to Crush an Interview with Conversational Ownership

Many of us walk into interviews ready to react and respond. But the best interviewees take a more proactive and assertive approach.


That’s what CEO of ThinkWarwick Jacob Warwick says. And he should know. He’s helped more than 2,500 leaders land new roles and has negotiated more than $100 million in annual compensation increases for his executive clients.


The advice rings true to me, even though I’m not quite in the same stratosphere as Jacob’s clients. Especially in the early and even middle stages of our careers, we often walk into interviews and immediately hand over the power. We’re nervous, we want to please, we’ve over-prepared for this, and want people to like us (we all do it, just remember that a sense of belonging starts with self-acceptance). With deferential language and mindsets, we automatically assign ourselves a lower status than our interviewer. It’s only natural—afterall, they are in the position to give you a job or not.


But you, too, are in the position to give away something valuable: your time, energy, brainpower, and brand. Never forget that the interview process is as much about you evaluating a prospective employer as it is about a prospective employer evaluating you. I have found that the more I interview with genuine curiosity about the problems that need solving and how I might solve them, the more I tend to earn follow-up interviews and offers. The more I enter the room as an equal, the better the conversation tends to go.


So, as you prepare for an interview, spend at least as much time researching the company and interviewers and generating your own questions as you do practicing how you might respond to theirs. Walk (or Zoom) in with the confidence that you have something to offer, and, as Jacob says, take ownership of the conversation. Or, as I say, at least take an equal partnership in it. No one says you have to wait until the end and be given permission to ask questions. No one says you can’t answer a question with a question if you need more information to be able to answer it. No one says an interview can’t be a conversation instead of a one-sided interrogation.


Jacob teaches his clients exactly how to gather information and glean insight into the company’s strategy, steer the conversation toward the future instead of the past, and approach the interview like you already have the job. He coaches top executives on how to be assertive without being an asshole, how to speak in ways that build credibility and trust, and how to boost confidence in their own abilities.


That’s why we’re excited to host him for a special interactive members-only workshop on Harnessing the Power of Conversational Ownership (November 9 at 12PM ET). Because, even if you’re not an executive, these skills can really help you crush your next interview.


Join our community today to attend this event and others like it.


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