The Interview (Part 2): 9 Tips to stand out in an interview

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Do you want to stand out in an interview?

Of course, you do.

Everyone does.

In the second part of our The Interview Series, we will focus on that interviewers’ playbook, so you can ace the interview and stand out.

Everyone can benefit from getting a quick look inside the typical interviewer’s mind.

  • What could an interviewer possibly be thinking?
  • What do they expect to hear?

These are just some of the things we will touch on today.

Here are some of the different things that often goes through the mind of your everyday job interviewer.

1. What makes a candidate stand out in an interview?

The harsh reality is that interviewers are looking for someone they are likely to remember.

This is especially true when there is a large pool of candidates applying for the same position.

Interviewers may remember you from many different quirks, so it is best to try and use this to your advantage.

Start with the basic things like your appearance and interesting facts about your life and career, and gradually build up to something more extraordinary.

Hook your interviewee’s interest and stand out in the interview by telling them about your most memorable career successes.

For instance, scoring a huge contract for your company and compel them to remember you for being a great fit for the position.

For those with gaps in their resumes, a good way to leave a positive impression is to be upfront about them.

Hiring managers are more understanding than one would think.

They know that layoffs can be the result of bad hiring from the company’s side.

They understand that parents will take time off to take care of their children.

And they can understand misunderstandings with previous bosses.

They can be forgiving when you’re honest.

That being said, you still need to remember the following reason.

2. Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons

Interviewers don’t want you to fail, but they are there to spot all the red flags.

So complaining about a previous employer, your co-workers, or customers is sure to leave things on a very sour note.

Point being, you need to be careful how you frame the answers to interviewers’ questions.

Show them that you want the job for the right reasons, not because you are trying to escape your current work environment.

Instead of saying that you don’t like being micromanaged, tell the interviewer that you are eager to earn more responsibility and independence.

All in all, honesty and tact is the key to address a difficult situation.

Which actually brings us to point number three.

3. How to start an interview

Please don’t start the interview by telling us you want the job.

Let the interviewer tell you what the job entails first.

Then you can show eagerness and aptitude for the position.

Listen carefully to what the interviewer has to say, ask them questions about the position, and use what they tell you to give the best answers for the interview questions.

Even if you research the company, chances are you won’t know exactly what the job entails until you are sitting in the interview room.

So use this as an information session as much as a showcase of your skills and assets.

4. Questions to ask in an interview

Ask us questions that are important to you.

Because there is no point in hiring someone who doesn’t perceive themselves as a great fit for the position.

This is basic “Interview 101” material.

Ask the interviewer about company expectations, and what you can do to get the best results.

Get them to tell you about what makes the company’s top performers great at what they do, how your performance will be evaluated, and anything else you feel could affect your decision to take on the role.

Interviewers don’t know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to each and every candidate they are interviewing, so make your intentions clear right from the get-go.

A few basic questions can really make a world of a difference.

5. But don’t deviate from the job-specific questions

Everyone wants a good work-life balance, but discussing things like vacation times and lunch breaks during an interview is a bit of a no-no.

Interviewers need to know you are a good fit for the job first.

Save your questions about time off for later when you get the offer.

If we haven’t hammered the point in already, the interview is all about finding a candidate that fits the position and is confident they can do the job.

6. Interviewers want to like you

This ties in with the first couple of points.

Skills and qualifications are important, but sparking a connection with the interviewer is just as vital.

Show them that you are a pleasant person to work with—be polite, be a professional, smile, make eye contact with the interviewer and show eagerness and enthusiasm for the job.

Again, your typical 101 stuff.

Make yourself look professional, but also likeable.

7. And they want you to show them you can hit the ground running

Interviewers expect, and like, candidates who are well-prepared.

But they also want you to go one step further.

Use your research to show the interviewer how you will benefit the company.

How you will hit the ground running when you start working there, and how you will leverage your skills to contribute straight away.

Interviewers are investing their time and money on you.

They want their money’s worth when hiring for the advertised position.

Demonstrating that you will be a great investment from the very first day will put you ahead of the competition.

8. How to end an interview well?

With the interview nearing its end, you should have a clear idea of whether or not you would take the job.

If you don’t, this is where you ask the interviewer for more information about the position.

If you know you want the job, this is when you act like a salesman and ask for it.

Then, tell the interviewer why you want this particular role.

Whether it is because of you thrive working in different teams, or you are at your best when working in an unsupervised role, show the interviewer that your skills are the best match for the role they want to fill.

Think of it as your last pitch before closing a really big sale. Prove to the interviewer your worth, and they will be impressed by your eagerness.

9. Genuine Follow-Up

Again, good impressions matter.

A brief follow-up note that shows genuine interest will make the interviewer see you in an even more positive light.

But, a polite gesture like a thank you note is only the beginning.

Take things one step further, and follow up on something that was discussed in the interview.

It will show the interviewer that you really listened to what they had to say.

Think of how the company could benefit from your knowledge and skills.

For example, if the interviewer discussed with you the company’s data analysis techniques, you could follow up by sending the interviewer information about tools and processes you would recommend.

This shows that you are eager to contribute, and you listened to the company’s concerns.

Simple, isn’t it?

Understanding interviewers will help you to stand out in an interview. Use these 9 tips to your best advantage.

Up next…

Now that you’ve learned all about how to stand out in an interview, let’s move on to the next topic.

Prepare yourself for the next instalments as we focus on Part 3: selling yourself to the interviewer.

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Amos Tay

Amos Tay

Amos Tay is the Senior Partner of Hatch Asia. He is a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrength Coach and lead our executive search, coaching and expand our partnership development across the region.

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