Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it. Nearly every role you apply for pits you against a sea of similarly-skilled competition. Yet here you are, celebrating landing the interview for the job you wanted most.
This is the time when the serious work starts. Once you reach interview stage, it becomes even more difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition. But that’s no reason to allow the other candidates who made it onto the shortlist to steal your dream job. In a tight field, the tips below will help you stand out.
Get ahead of the competition by finding out as much as is possible and relevant about the company you’re applying for. How is it organised? What’s the culture like? What’s going on in the industry the company operates in? These are all things you should be thinking about and most of the answers can be found with a bit of savvy Googling. Talk to people who work in the industry, as insider-information will put your understanding on a different level to that of your competition.
Prep on your career development and skills too. Think about how they correspond with the competencies the recruiter is looking for. And remember that it is impossible to invest too much time in your preparation (unless you’re still preparing during the actual interview).
First impressions matter
It’s remarkable; research shows that interviewers form opinions about your personality and intelligence within the first 30 seconds of meeting you.
That initial opinion is shaped by things like the way in which you enter the room, how you speak, and how comfortable you appear. They may seem like basic skills but few people have them mastered. By just walking with confidence and introducing yourself clearly but slowly, your interview will be off to a better start than most other people achieve.
If you struggle with confidence issues, try rehearsing your entrance several times before the big event. You could even try a video selfie – record yourself on your phone, then watch the video to get an external view on how you are coming across and what exactly you can improve.
Release your inner-storyteller
As human beings, we are all natural-born storytellers. We understand the world around us through story, projecting narrative structure onto random events, joining the dots to make sense of a chaotic world.
So when it comes to your interview, a great way to stand out and ensure a recruiter remembers your candidacy is by weaving your career history, skills and values into a story – a story that has been leading up to this particular job, at this very time.
That way, you’ll show the connection between what you have achieved, the kind of person you are, and the things that are needed to succeed in the job and industry you want to take on. Keep your stories concise and interesting – an engaging opening line is a great way to hook any audience’s attention. In every answer where it is possible, use a story to make your case.
Now that you’ve made all the effort to be the stand-out candidate, it’s time to make good on your hard work by sealing the deal with a ‘follow-up’.
Following up an interview is crucial. All recruiters will appreciate you getting in touch to say you enjoyed the interview and that you’re interested in exploring the next steps. It’s best to email rather than call as interrupting recruiters while they are busy can work against you. Sending an email neatly swerves that issue, allowing recruiters to check your correspondence at a time that suits them.
It also means they have a record of your message or, in other words, a reminder to call you back.