8 Ways to ensure you stand out in an interview
No matter how many interviews you’ve attended over the years, whether it be your first or your fiftieth, every-one can be nerve-wracking and present new challenges or questions that may never have presented themselves before.
Preparation is the key. Most of the time though, it’s the simplest of questions and scenarios that catch people out and can be the difference between rejection and securing that dream job.
Here are 8 ways that can help you stand out in an interview:
1 - Be yourself
More and more companies are putting as much emphasis on ‘team fit’ as they are on qualifying if the individual can do the job. There’s a saying that I hear regularly from employers; ‘You can teach someone skills, but you cannot change their personality’ and they are exactly right. So be yourself. Be enthusiastic, be passionate and be friendly. When you’re coming up against many other applicants with similar skills and experience as you, then just ‘being you’ may just make the difference.
2 – Know the company you’re applying for
It sounds so simple but so many people get caught out on the most generic interview question out there. If you’re making an application to potentially work for a business, at least take the time to find out what that company does. Most interviews will consist of a question along the lines of ‘What do you know about us?’ or ‘What is it about our company that interests you?’ so make sure you’re well prepared. A wonderful way to show this is to make a list and take it with you. It shows the interviewer you’ve prepared and that you care about the opportunity.
3 – Ask relevant questions
You’ve stormed the interview, you’re technically qualified to do perform the role, you get along with the panel and the final stage has arrived where you’ve been asked; ‘Do you have any questions for us?’. Don’t make mistake that one of my previous candidates made and ask, ‘How long do I get for lunch?’. Questions such as hours of work, benefits packages, holiday allowances etc can all wait and are questions that your recruiter can answer for you. What’s important is to ask relevant questions about the company such as, what it’s like to work in their team, what are the projects you’ll be working on, what technologies will you work with, what career opportunities/prospects there are etc.
4. Who are you meeting?
In most situations, you’ll be told who you’re meeting before the interview is taking place. With so many social media resources at your fingertips, it’s inexcusable to not at least try and find a common interest with the person you’re meeting. A simple Linkedin search of the person may show that you have a mutual connection who could recommend you, or you may find that they attended the same university and studied the same course. Anything that can help show that person you’re meeting that you care and that you have a common interest can only be a positive thing.
5. Know how to dress
People sometimes assume that when attending an interview, the only appropriate attire is ‘smart’ (i.e Suit). Believe it or not, this can go against you in the wrong environment. Think about it, if you’re applying to work at a digital agency where everyone is dressed in casual attire and you turn up in a suit, they may think you’re ‘too corporate’ for them. You may not be, but first impressions are everything and studies have shown that you only have 7 seconds to make a good first impression. Make sure you make yours count and ensure you ask your recruiter what the appropriate dress code should be at your interview.
6 – Don’t be modest
Employers want to hear about you, about what you’ve achieved and how you’ve done it. They’re not really interested in what your team did, because essentially, they’re not hiring your team; they’re hiring you! So, don’t be modest, if there’s a project that you delivered on time or a new cutting-edge function you created on a greenfield project, then tell them that is what you did. Whenever you describe an achievement with the terminology that ‘we’ did it, it completely dilutes it. Did you actually do it then, or did your team do it? Make sure you get the credit for the work that you’ve done, you can be sure that your competition will be!
7 - Listen
Sometimes, saying nothing is the best way to make a good impression. Sometimes employers give you the answers and all you have to do is repeat it back to them. Listen to what an employer is looking for and then repeat it back to them as a strength of your skillset. If they want someone who’ll take ownership of a project, tell them that you’re someone who wants to take ownership of a project and then give an example of when you have previously done this. Again, it sounds so simple, but many people simply miss the ‘listening’ part and are so focussed on thinking about what they want to say next, that they miss the answers that have just been given to them.
8 - Close
When you get to the end of the interview and you feel that you like the role/opportunity, reach out and grab it! Thank the employer for their time, tell them that you’re keen on the opportunity and then simply ask them if there’s anything they’re unsure of that would stop them from proceeding with yourself? It may seem daunting to ask such a direct question, but this allows you to overcome any objections they may have. Just make sure you’re well prepared just in case they do come back to you with an objection. What a great feeling though to be able to overcome that objection and receive an offer rather than receive a rejection with feedback and realise that you could have overcome that concern at the interview.
If you’d like any further advise or tips on how to prepare well for an interview, please feel free to get in touch with any of the team at Amicus Recruitment on 0203 907 8460 and one of the team will be more than happy to help.