3 Ways to Stand out as a Candidate in your next interview

With unemployment still hovering over 9% it is safe to say that there are still many candidates in the market.  If you are one of those candidates you are always looking for ways to make yourself stand out.

I’ll spend some time today talking about 3 important ways you can make yourself stand out in your next interview.  Not every one of these tips will take place while you are physically at the interview, but I guarantee  that each of the steps will make a profound difference in how you will be viewed as a candidate.

Do your Homework

Many candidates go into the interview with a shallow understanding of the firm they are interviewing with and even less knowledge about the people they are meeting with.  This is not a good thing. 

You need to prepare for your interview like it is the most important thing you have to deal with.  You need to know who you will be meeting with, what they do with the firm and how they interact with the role you are seeking.  You also need to know what the firm does, who their chief competitors are and how the role you are being considered for makes a difference in the firm.  I could add many more items to know, but this list is the bare minimum.

Have a list of Questions Prepared

The interview is an interactive process.  You should be interviewing the firm as aggressively as they are interviewing you.  Having a list of solid questions will show the members of the interview team that you want to know more about the role and that you have taken the time to prepare in a deeper way.  The way you deliver the questions also makes a difference.

Consistent eye contact with those you are talking to is important and you need to prepare in advance with someone who will give you solid feedback about your questions, your pace and the diction you use.

Say “Thank you”

We live in an impersonal, electronic era.  Most of us are accustomed to corresponding by text, email or other electronic means.  This often carries over to the thank you process after the interview.  You can make a solid impact by sending a hand-written thank you note to each person you meet with.  This requires real discipline and most of you who read this will ignore the suggestion.  This one steps is so counter to our culture that you cannot afford to ignore it.  I would even suggest that you hand write or print the envelope as well.  The fact that you are saying thank you is important, but the time taken to thank each one personally, in writing, will certainly be noticed.

Doing your homework, having a list of prepared questions and sending a handwritten note are all key differentiators in the interview process.  With so many candidates in the pipeline, can you afford to ignore any one of these?

I think not.

Best wishes in that next interview!