In a job interview, you’re often up against a bevy of other candidates with similar skill sets and qualifications for the role. No matter how much you think you may be the right fit for the job, the final decision is up to the hiring manager.
The question you have to ask yourself then is how you can make yourself memorable in the job interview in order to secure the role. What things can you do to leave an imprint in the interviewer’s mind that when it comes time to make the hire, you’re the one they want.
Make the Mundane Memorable
There are numerous opportunities in the interview that most candidates miss out on to stand out from other applicants. These moments can be as simple as having an upbeat, unexpected response to a question such as “How are you today?” to greeting an interviewer by name and commenting on a quote they gave for a industry publication that you admired.
Be a Great Story Teller
When responding to questions in the interview, look at your answers as short little stories you are sharing with the interviewer. Break your answers down to have an introduction explaining the situation, a middle covering what you did and why you did it, and a conclusion addressing the outcome and what you learned. But make your stories standout. Pick events in your experience to talk about that are interesting, address challenges, focus on creativity, or center on how you unified and connected people on an issue. And remember, if you’re bored listening to yourself, the interviewer will be too.
Have Unique Identifiers
Find qualities about yourself that are unique when describing yourself, your skill sets, and experience in an interview. Remember that hiring managers are seeing multiple people and have heard every generic response out there, so hearing that you’re organized or a quick learner has little impact on the interviewer’s impression of you. Think right now what 3 to 5 words describe you and make you unique, choose distinctive words and use these when talking about yourself.
Know Your Research
Companies love when you already know about what they do and tidbits of knowledge about the corporate culture, etc. You’re saving them time having to educate you during the interview process. But, there’s nothing really noteworthy about reciting lines to them from their company website.
Why not really blow them away with what you know and go the extra mile in your research. (After all, if you get the job, it’s only going to benefit you to have this knowledge in your back pocket.) Check out their competition, know where they stand in the market, what challenges they face, examine the organization’s leadership team, and read any articles that have been published on them.
Not only will you impress the interviewer with your knowledge, you’ll also be impressing upon them your interest in the company and the job.
All too often our nerves get the best of us in the interview and everything flies by in a haze. Make sure you are paying attention to everything from the time you arrive to the interview to when you leave. Greet the receptionist, smile at people, absorb the office surroundings, and take note of how people are interacting around you.
Get out of your own head and pay attention to small social cues like someone holding the door for you or asking you a question and show your manners. Take a moment to comment on things of note or to address someone in a positive way. Sometimes it’s the smallest details that make the biggest impression.
While there are a number of factors to landing a job, many which you have little control over, the one thing you can do as a candidate is to do everything you can to leave a good impression on the interviewer. Ask yourself what makes you memorable and make sure that comes across in the job interview.