How successful candidates set themselves apart in the interview
Five simple interview tips to help you stand out from the pack.
Every interview requires a sales pitch—and you’re the hot commodity up for grabs. If you want to land the sale, you must stand out from all the other products on the market. Sure, you could take the Billy Mays approach and proclaim your problem-solving prowess in a loud, impassioned manner. You could also drape yourself in bling like one of hip-hop’s brashest rappers. Neither approach is likely to garner the result you desire. Instead, consider the following ways in which successful candidates set themselves apart.
1. Know who you are dealing with
A successful candidate spends time preparing for an interview by learning everything possible about the hiring company. Visiting the company website is a great place to start. Peruse the products and services. Review the mission statement. Check out the executive bio pages and read everything posted in the “press” or “recent news” sections. Seek out the company’s social networking sites as well.
2. Ask thoughtful, informed questions
Now that you know everything you can about the company, formulate a list of questions that illustrate you’ve done your research. There will come a point in every interview when you are asked, “Do you have any questions for us?” This is when you spring your list. Include relevant facts about the company within each question and your interviewer is bound to be impressed. For example, “I read that the company is planning to expand into five new markets this year. How will that expansion affect your department?”
3. Tell them a story
Everyone loves a good story. Interviewers love stories that illustrate past behavior in a similar role or situation. When you’re asked a question pertaining to a past job-related experience, how you behaved in a challenging situation or a time when you had a conflict with a coworker perhaps, don’t respond with a one-sentence answer—tell the story instead. Begin by describing the situation, then move on to your actions, and follow up with the results.
4. Prove your worth
Explain exactly why you are the right person for the job. Of course, this requires taking time to understand the job first. When preparing for your interview, carefully review the job listing. If you can acquire an official job description for the position beforehand, that is even better. Make a list of the skills they’re seeking, then prepare answers to possible interview questions that prove you not only meet, but exceed their needs.
5. Show some enthusiasm
Better yet, show lots of enthusiasm. Whether it’s your first interview or your thirteenth, you must appear enthusiastic about the opportunity. Smile, laugh (though not nervously), shake hands with gusto. And when the interview is over, don’t neglect to ask about next steps. This will show you’re eager to continue with the hiring process.
The job market may be tough, with fierce competition in most industries, but a successful interview candidate embraces the challenge. Like a good salesperson, take steps to blow your competitors out of the water—you may even seal the deal.