Professional Development

5 Ways to Stand Out In Any Interview

Written by Peter Jones

Remember, you’re almost never the only person being interviewed for the job. The hiring manager doesn’t know how special and talented you are or what a good fit you’d be unless you show her. And remember, you’re not the only one trying to prove yourself.

Here are 5 tips to make sure you give the best first impression possible.

Dress for the Career You Want

Most new interviewees fidget constantly, tugging at their ill-fitting business-wear. This is immediately distracting and will have an impact on your confidence—and the interviewer’s confidence in you. Get yourself a good suit that fits you and your style. If you think you look good, you’ll be able to relax and be yourself and focus on selling your abilities. Dress for the career you want, not necessarily the entry-level job you’re applying for!

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Research Every Detail About the Job

So many new interviewees come in blind, expecting to learn everything they need to know about the job from the hiring manager. This does not inspire confidence in your abilities or initiative. Instead, make sure you research every detail that you can—about the company and especially about the position. That way, you can prepare to discuss how your particular background and prior experience make you the most excellent choice. Who knows, those years of babysitting or waiting tables might actually be excellent out-of-the-box qualifications that will help you stand out from the pack.

Impress Hiring Manager with Your Social Skills

Don’t be a creeper, but it it’s not a bad idea to look around your interviewer’s office for little clues about their interests or hobbies. Maybe they’ve got a diploma from your alma mater—look for anything you an use to find some common ground. Just be sure they’re using their own office and you don’t end up complimenting someone else’s children!

Be Smart about the Job You Are Interviewing For

We’ve all been at the interview that feels like a coffee date. You yammer on for half an hour, but you hardly speak about the job. This can be a sign of good chemistry, but it can also be a trap. Some interviewers might be testing you to see whether you can keep control of the conversation. Try (politely!) steering things back to your eagerness to explain why exactly you’re the best fit for the position. You’ll be surprised how few of your peers are prepared to do the same.

Prepare, prepare and prepare

So many young interviewees speak in one word or one sentence answers. Prepare a few example answers to questions you’re likely to be asked. Don’t turn your answers into a speech, but make sure that with every one, you’re demonstrating your intelligence and acuity and your suitability for the job. When in doubt, read your interviewer’s body language for signs of interest or boredom, and adjust accordingly.

About the author

Peter Jones