After days/weeks/months of searching for your dream job you’ve finally found it! Your resume has been tailored and on paper you seem the perfect match for the position. After submitting your application the hiring manager has reached out to schedule the interview. Congratulations! But not so fast. While you may have cleared the first hurdle, acing the interview presents an all new set of challenges. After all, you’re not the only one interviewing for this position and if it’s your dream job chances are there will be stiff competition. But don’t fret – this is your chance to shine!
Below we’ve outlined the ways to stand out in an interview making employers want to hire you ASAP.
Be Prepared – This is the number one rule for all interviews. Your past experiences and how you look on paper won’t matter a lick if you don’t come prepared for the interview. So before that first meeting – whether it be over the phone or in person – make sure you’ve done your research on the company, the company’s culture, any industry trends, and even on the interviewer themselves (possible these days with the advent of social media). Not only will this show your desire for the job but it’ll let the interviewer/employer know the quality of worker they’ll be getting in return.
Just researching the company and its key players isn’t enough, though. After all, this is a blog on how to stand out. You want to be ready for the tough questions so that when they’re asked – and they will be asked – you’re ready. If you know your weaknesses be honest about them. If there are any gaps on your resume be prepared to speak openly and candidly about why they’re there. Don’t shy away with excuses because any seasoned interviewer will be able to see through that.
You’ll also want to come prepared with a list of questions to ask the interviewer themselves. This, in itself, is a whole other blog post but thankfully we’ve already tackled the topic.
Be Engaged – During first meetings you can rest assured that there will be nerves on both sides. This can lead to pauses in conversations and oftentimes people will fill these silences by talking about themselves and their interests. This is when you need to listen. Take in what they’re saying and look for ways to work those topics in later on during the interview. This will emphasize your potential and show the interviewer your competence which can go a long way – especially if you’re lacking any of the desired experience.
Remember to Relax – A relaxed person exudes a sense of confidence and confidence in oneself can go a long way. Remember, first impressions mean A LOT. How you speak, how you enter the room, and how comfortable you look are really important. If they ask you if you’d like a drink of water, make sure you say yes. But just as important is the way you’re dressed. Make sure you’re dressed the part and dressed to impress.
Before they meet you in person, though, know that they’ve already checked you out online. So make sure your digital first impression is just as appealing. To do so, you’ll want to make your LinkedIn page pop. Achieve this with a professional headshot, a colorful banner, and work in a graphic or video. Posts with bling attract more attention than ones with just text – remember, you’re trying to stand out here.
Adapt – All interviews are different. Sometimes you’ll be tasked with most of the talking but sometimes the interviewer could be the one speaking more. Be perceptive to how the interview is going and be ready to tweak your performance. This is your opportunity to show that you can adapt to your surroundings – a most desirable character trait.
If you find that the interview is going poorly, acknowledge it. Speak up with an “I’m not sure I’m giving you what you need” and see how the interviewer reacts. Don’t dwell on what’s already happened and act as if the next question is the first. Take the opportunity to redeem yourself and leave it on a high note.
Follow Up – The interview doesn’t end when you walk out the door. When you get home send the interviewers a thank you letter expressing your gratitude for them giving you the opportunity. A handwritten letter gives a nice personalized touch but a well written email can convey just the same. If a few days have passed with no word, follow your letter up with another email or even a phone call. Your persistence will show your desire and that will not go unnoticed.
If you follow these tips, you are sure to stand out. We know we may have missed some too so what other ways can candidates stand out in an interview?
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net