Standing out during an interview increases your chances of getting a job offer from your prospective company. Understanding the different techniques employers look for can help you showcase your skills, work experience and why you're the right fit for the job. In this article, we discuss what standing out during an interview means and provide helpful tips for doing so.
What does standing out during an interview mean?
Standing out during an interview means you're leaving an unforgettable impression that can lead to your hiring. The company may take an interest in how much you know about the organization and your inspiration for applying to this role.
For instance, if you're interviewing for a registered nurse position, you can expand on the type of care the facility provides to patients and what separates them from other practices in their area. You could also give an anecdote about an experience volunteering in a nursing home that motivated you to pursue a nursing position.
Read more: How to Sell Yourself in an Interview
How to stand out during an interview
Here are steps to help you stand out during an interview:
- Research the company.
- Wear bold colors.
- Arrive early to your interview.
- Showcase your strengths and areas for improvement.
- Describe your accomplishments.
- Give them samples of previous projects.
- Present a 30-60-90 plan.
- Ask unique questions.
- Watch your body language.
- Engage in casual conversation.
- Reiterate your interest in the position.
1. Research the company
Researching your prospective company helps you answer questions about the company you're interviewing with. Review the organization's mission statement, history and target audience to give yourself more confidence to provide a clear and concise response. For example, if you're interviewing for a marketing position, discuss the clients the company works with, the amount of growth they've experienced and where you pulled the sources from to show proof of the research you've conducted. Pull information from the company's website or published articles in trade publications.
2. Wear bold colors
Follow the dress code given by the employer before the interview. You can wear a bold-color tie or dress shirt to exhibit your personality, but you need to make sure it matches with the rest of your outfit and is still professional. Do not go overboard. The point is to have an accent in your outfit that is bold so it will be memorable, not over the top. Explain what led you to choose a specific color to give the interviewer more context about your outfit.
3. Arrive early to your interview
Arrive early to compose yourself before walking into the building. Listen to music and practice proper breathing techniques to help you relax and improve your mindset. Read over your notes and questions as well as the answers you'll present to the interviewer. Use your notes to formulate your questions and responses to the interviewer. This approach helps you showcase your experience and can increase your chances of getting hired.
4. Showcase your strengths and areas for improvement
Write a list of your strengths and weaknesses and bring them with you to the interview in case the interviewer asks about it. Review your resume and the job description to identify your top skills that relate to the position you're interviewing for. Highlight how your strengths can help the company reach its goals while improving your performance. The quality of your response shows the preparations you made for the interview.
5. Describe your accomplishments
Delineate the results you've produced for the companies you've worked for. Discuss how your strengths lead to your previous accomplishments. Emphasize the approach you'll take to replicate your accomplishments and what you can do to produce better results for the company.
Even if you've produced high-quality results, convey that you're still focused on improvement to display the forward-thinking vision you have. A forward-thinking vision attracts an employer because it showcases your future with the company.
6. Give them samples of previous projects
Hand the interviewer a physical copy of a project you've worked on. Explain the significance of the project, the results you've earned and how it impacted the company. You may send them a link if it's only available online. Magnify your approach by creating a website that keeps your previous work in one place.
For example, you may create a website if you're applying for a graphic design position to show the designs you've completed for multiple clients. You might bring a print portfolio to the interview to show the print designs that you've produced for a marketing campaign. In this case, discuss the metrics you earned to indicate how your efforts correlate with the campaign's success. Your company's marketing team may have used your designs for social media, which increased engagement by 30% during the campaign.
7. Present a 30-60-90 plan
Give the interviewer an outline of the results you expect to accomplish in the first 30, 60 and 90 days of the job. Describe your plan for learning how to perform in your role during each of these periods and how it aligns with your department's performance. Incorporate how you can use your strengths to reach the goals you're setting for yourself. Study the job description and make a note of the employer's expectations during the interview.
8. Ask unique questions
Ask pointed questions to the interviewer to help you determine if it's the right position for you. Companies like answering questions because asking them shows your inclination to understand key details about the position. Stick to asking questions associated with job responsibilities and qualifications. Bring a list of questions to ask the interviewers and check to see if they want to know more about your skills and experience.
Here are additional questions to ask an interviewer:
- Can you describe important projects that you're working on now?
- What skills does a candidate need to perform well in this role?
- Name a few challenges that a candidate may face in this position?
- Is this a new position?
- What training opportunities do you offer to employees?
- How does the company evaluate the performance of employees?
- Can you discuss how your role has changed since you've started working for the organization?
- Where do you see the company going in the next three to five years?
- What is the most exciting part about working in this role?
- What is a typical career path for someone working in this position?
9. Watch your body language
Give the interviewer your undivided attention by sitting straight and giving them eye contact. These signals show that you're engaged with the interviewer and you're intrigued by the information they're providing to you. Take deep breaths to remain calm and focused on the interviewer when answering their questions.
10. Engage in casual conversation
Speak with the interviewer briefly about their hobbies and interests outside of the workplace. This discussion shows that you're trying to build an authentic connection with them.
11. Reiterate your interest in the position
At the end of your interview, reiterate that you're interested in the position and thank the interviewer for speaking to you. The interviewer should provide you with more details about the next steps if they're interested in speaking with you further. Send a follow-up email 24 to 48 hours after the interview to underline the insight you got from the interview and get an update on your candidacy.