Helpful tips on how to stand out from other candidates during a job interview.
You’ve gotten the interview—that’s half the battle. Now, it’s time to ace the interview and get an offer. That might be a little more difficult. With the job market today, there could be dozens of others that are vying for the same job as you. Because of this acing the interview is crucial, but not enough. You need to find new ways to stand out from the rest of the interviewees, and do something that makes the interviewer remember you from the sea of faces.
Start out strong.
First impressions are often the most memorable. Besides the interviewer, make sure to be polite to all the staff that you encounter, including front desk attendants. When you finally do meet your interviewer, greet them with a firm handshake and eye contact. If you’re asked how you are or how your day is doing, answer in a clear and succinct manner. You can even memorize some different answers to the simple question of “How are you?”
Do your research.
Some of the most successful candidates are those that make sure to research the company and the specific position they’re applying for before the interview. Most companies have a website full of information specifically talking about their business and their mission. If you know who your interviewer will be beforehand, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on them as well. Do they have a blog where they talk about business? Do you they have a LinkedIn or other social media profiles? You should take a short amount of time to peruse through what’s available.
Talk about improvement.
Be prepared to talk about where you see yourself specifically in the company. In this case, talk about how you believe you would excel in the company atmosphere, and ideas you have for improving yourself and the company. Be very careful not to criticize current practices of the company—instead, talk about ways that the company could become more efficient or ideas for improving customer relations.
Stay in interview mode.
From the moment you pull into the company parking lot to the moment you leave that parking lot, you should be in interview mode. You have no idea who is watching and aware of your actions. As mentioned earlier, you should be polite and courteous to all employees, even if they aren’t directly involved in the hiring process. Even after the interview, it is possible that your behavior is being monitored to see your reactions. Don’t lose a potential job offer by making a simple mistake.
Ask your own questions.
Many times during an interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. This is your time to shine. Interviewers want to see that you’re interested and willing to learn more about the company and the position. This also gives you more control of the direction the interview is going. Some good questions to ask are: What are the main challenges of this position? What are you looking for in the idea candidate? What does a typical day at company look like?
Follow up afterwards.
Even after you leave the interview, your work isn’t over. It’s time to let the interviewer know that you are still interested in the position, and are thankful for the time they spent interviewing you. Sending over a personal thank you note can be a great way to gain more respect from the interviewer, as well as the added benefit of keeping your name fresh in their mind. Make sure to reference specific parts or conversations from the interview—avoid being generic.