Tips to Help You Stand Out in an Interview

In this economy, one of the hardest things to do is find a job.  With unemployment at just below 10%, many people don’t have jobs and few new jobs are being created.  This means more applicants for every job, not matter the qualifications or the education level needed.

Competition is high and very stiff and the only thing you can do to increase your chances of getting the job you are applying for is to set yourself apart from the rest of the candidates.

The interview process can be quite long and drawn out.  Some companies can require as many as four interviews to find the best possible candidate, and every step of the process is different.

If there is a phone interview, this would go first.  If not, you would be called straight into an in person interview.   From there you would either find out if you did or didn’t get the job or be called into another in person interview.

Interviews can be very scary and stressful.  A lot of pressure is put onto applicants and people often don’t know what to say or how to answer questions.  And often times it is the most confident sounding applicant who also has the desired experience that gets the job.  This means that it’s not just what you say but how you say it.

To help you stand out from the crowd (in a good way), we’ve compiled some tips to get you through your interviews with flying colors.

First goes the phone interview:

  1. Research the company.  Nothing is more embarrassing than telling your interviewer that you don’t know what they do when they ask you which they usually do.
  2. Have a list of questions that you want to ask the interviewer.  Otherwise you look passive and dispassionate about the prospect of this job which definitely doesn’t work to your advantage.
  3. Get dressed.  You might think that since you’re at home, you can wear pajamas on your interview and no one will be the wiser, but how you feel affects how you dress.  If you are dressed professionally, you will feel professional and will exude professionalism.
  4. Remember to speak slowly.  Because you are nervous, you might begin to ramble, and the more good stuff that they understand the brilliant things you say, the better for you.

The in person interview:

  1. Again, dress the part.  No matter how casual the company is, always dress up, even if you will be more dressed up than your interviewer.  It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  2. Say “we.”  You want to show your potential employer that you can and have worked in a successful team and can do so again.  It’s pretty rare that you work by yourself, so don’t think that taking credit for something you worked on with your team.  Saying “I” too much tells your potential employer that you are more important that the company.
  3. Focus on your strengths from the beginning.  If you cast yourself in a negative light from the beginning, the interviewer will spend the rest of the interview asking about your flaws.
  4. Come up with a two part answer for the “what would you say is your weakness?” question.  Be honest and tell them what you are struggling with, but also talk about how you are improving your weakness.  Everyone has one; there’s no point pretending like you are completely perfect, but show them that you’re working toward it.
  5. Again, ask questions.  Show an interest in the company and an interest in the position.
  6. Send a follow-up/thank you email within 24 hours after your interview.  Thank the interviewer and remind them why you would be good for the position.  This is a nice touch because few people do this.

Good luck on your interview!

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