Some are great at job interviews. They exude confidence, nail each question and have magnetizing charisma. It just comes naturally to them. Others do not, and that’s okay. If the thought of an interview keeps you up at night, here’s how to stand out in your job interview.
Sure, everyone knows the basic tips of interviewing, but here are 10 unique pointers to win over that hiring manager.
1. Do Your Research
Firstly, researching the company before you interview with them is a no-brainer. You wouldn’t show up to a negotiation without knowing what you’re selling. But researching the job is more than knowing the basics. It is about going full-sleuth (without the trenchcoat and hat, probably).
Whether a temp agency or direct hire business, you should know everything about the company.
Overall, ask yourself how you can prove you went the extra mile. Try to figure out the company’s culture. Read reviews on job boards by former employees to sense how the business operates. Do they seem artistic and expressive? Do they implement lightheartedness on their website? Are they serious and to the point?
It isn’t prying to look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn to get a sense of them. Overall, you’re attempting to sell yourself to them during the interview process. Tailor your responses to the company’s values.
Secondly, find ways to prove you did extensive research without outright saying it. For example, if you found that the company worked on a specific study a few years ago, bring it up in conversation organically. “I saw that you did a study about IT back in 2017. I, too, worked on a similar study at my last company.”
If the hiring manager mentions something about you doing your research or knowing the company well, you’re already a step above other candidates.
After all, knowing how to stand out in your job interview starts with acknowledging how the job wants you to stand out.
2. Start With Casual Conversation to Stand Out
Everything does not need to be business. It is critical to stand out beyond your work values. Employers tend to remember when candidates have similar interests or provide engaging conversations outside of the job.
It is not always about how great your resume is. You don’t want to just impress the employer; you want to make a genuine connection.
Furthermore, if your interview is in-person, take note of visual cues in the office. Is there a sports team banner on the wall? Maybe there is a book that you’ve read on the desk. Use whatever you see as a gateway to banter.
If your interview is not in-person, this technique can be a little arduous. Try to look for things when researching the company you can bring up. If you saw an interesting post on their social media, ask them about that. This can also be a double win, showing them you did your research and having a genuine conversation.
When all else fails, ask them how their day is going. When they ask you in response, be open. Mention something interesting that you did or are going to do. All in all, prove that you are more than just your work. You’re an interesting person, too.
Of course, keep the casual talk brief unless the interviewer continues the conversation further. You do not want to come across as if you’re uninterested in the job or are stalling.
3. Sprinkle Some Wit
Much like the casual conversation, you do not want to seem like work is the only thing you do. You’re not a robot.
Never has an interviewer said, “That person had no personality, let’s hire them.”
Feel free to show a little charisma. This lets the employer know that you are not a bore and expresses your confidence in the interview.
Granted, this is not an open-mic opportunity. Do not start rattling off jokes as if you have practiced them. Keep things professional, but do not be afraid to show some personality.
Nevertheless, if you do not believe you’re funny, or the company seems fairly serious, show your personality in another way. If they ask you what your hobbies are outside of work, don’t give dry answers. Give them a little more detail about yourself.
At the end of the day, being unique is key for how to stand out in your job interview.
4. Dress to Express
Knowing how to stand out in your job interview is more than just what you say. You want to look good, and when you look good, you feel good.
While this does not mean to go full Craig Sager with a floral suit, you do want to stick out physically. Dress within the confines of professional attire, but have a look the hiring manager will remember.
Ultimately, remember that there are psychological values behind colors and patterns. Brighter colors like red and green exude confidence, while darker colors like black and grey show power and drama.
As stated, showing personality is pivotal. Your appearance for interviews is more than just looking well-put-together.
5. Ask Thoughtful Questions During the Interview
Remember that this is not an interrogation. Have unique questions ready for the interview and attempt to ask them throughout. Do not wait till the end of the interview.
While you do not want to take control of the interview and reverse roles, you want the process to come off as a conversation. A back-and-forth of questions between you and the interviewer can help ease you and show confidence.
Importantly, try to fit the questions in organically. Do not interrupt or talk over the hiring manager. Feel free to say, “Sorry to interrupt, but I have a question.” This will show them that you are polite and engaged, helping the interview continue to flow naturally.
Finally, remember your research. The questions should be distinctive and show your interest in the company.
6. Accept the Beverage
This is an odd one, but it’s useful.
If the interviewer asks you if you would like a glass of water (or any beverage), take it. Do not hesitate. This shows that you are relaxed and confident.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Brag
Confidence is key. You need to express that you are sure of your abilities and proud of your accomplishments. The fact that you got to the interview shows that you have something they’re looking for, now you just need to show it.
Therefore, do not be afraid to talk yourself up. Bravado is impressionable, and companies want to hire someone that does not second-guess their skills.
Let them know what you bring to the company and how you can improve what they’re doing. For example, if the job calls for IT but you have knowledge of sales, let them know how you can implement your outside skills.
If the employer asks you to rate yourself on a scale of one to ten, don’t be modest. Say you think you are a 10 because you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Bonus: You can throw a bit of wit in with your confidence as well.
Things like this leave a lasting impression. Do not be too braggadocious, but be headstrong.
8. Eye Contact and Posture
More so than saying confident things, you want to express confident energy. Make sure to keep eye contact and good posture during the interview.
Do not cross your arms or seem bored. Keeping a straight back and eye contact will let the interviewer know you’re both engaged and excited.
If you’re particularly bad at eye contact, force your way through it. The interview will not last forever. The effort will pay off in the long run. You’ve got this!
9. End With a Call to Action
Much like a cover letter, ending your interview with a call to action is one of the best ways to stand out in your job interview.
Therefore, when the interview is over, and you are about to say your goodbyes, ask what the next step in the hiring process is or when you can plan to hear from them. This, like everything else on this list, shows confidence and seriousness in the job.
Knowing what the next steps are can also help with some post-interview anxiety. If the company says they will get back to you in a week, you do not have to fret every day that you don’t hear from them.
10. Follow Up After the Interview
Send an email or handwritten letter to the manager a few days after the interview. Let them know that you appreciate them taking the time to speak with you and that you are excited about the potential opportunity.
This action may seem overbearing, but it goes a long way. This shows respect and appreciation, things that reflect positively on your character.