Most jobs will have a large number of candidates applying for the same role. So in order to secure your dream job, you’ll need to stand out. Just make sure you’re memorable for the right reasons - job interviews are a performance, and you’ll need to dazzle your audience, rather than be noticed for your lack of passion! So how do you leave a lasting impression? We’ve come up with a number of ways you can make sure you stand out, for all the right reasons.
For any job interview, you’ll need to do research on the company, in order to demonstrate a genuine interest in the role. You need to show that you’re passionate about getting this particular job, not just a job within the industry. To truly stand out, you’ll need to do more research than anyone else, finding information from a range of sources.
Make sure you know the goals of the business, their target market, and find out a bit about competitors in their sector. Try to research the company culture too, as well as a brief overview of their history. Don’t just focus on the company’s website either - you can find a lot of information through the job posting sites, and through press releases and trade publications. You can also try to find employees of the business on LinkedIn, to get a fuller understanding of the company.
If you’re working with a recruitment agency, they should also be able to tell you a few extra things about the company you’re applying with. Often, the agency will have found roles for candidates in the same company, so will have a good understanding of what the business is looking for, and can provide more information about the job role.
At the close of an interview, most candidates will be asked if they have any questions for the interviewer. But you don’t have to save all your questions for the end - try to mix a few into the conversation too. Asking questions doesn't have to make you appear ignorant - they can alternatively be used to show passion for the company.
For example, you could explain the reason you were interested in the role, and then follow up with a question as to why the business varies a particular approach when it comes to their competitors. This not only shows that you’ve done significant research, you’re also demonstrating your interest in smaller details of the company. Try to treat the whole interview like a conversation, with questions from both sides, rather than an exam you’re taking.
It’s easy to make generalised statements about how effective and productive you are. In order to sound more believable, and more memorable, always try to back up your claims with specific examples, detailing the strategies you’ve implemented. Statistics work well too - if you can say that you improved team productivity by 25%, and can prove this with data, it comes across as even more impressive.
Try to relate your experiences through an interesting narrative too. People love hearing great stories, so instead of listing off your examples as a series of bullet points, try to weave them into a narrative that sucks people in. The best storytellers make you feel like you’re in the moment with them, and immersing your interviewer in the story will help them remember it more vividly.
This can be a tricky one, as there’s often a fine line between doing something novel, and doing something rather outrageous! But to be truly memorable, you’ll need to demonstrate something that surprises the interviewer, as they’ll have interviewed hundreds of people over the course of their career.
Your unique element can be anything from revealing an interesting fact about yourself to formatting your CV in an innovative way. Just make sure that it seems natural and not forced, and don’t sacrifice your professionalism in search of a novel trait. If you choose to stand out through your clothing, for instance, keep to the dress code, but perhaps add a splash of colour with your shoes or tie.
With a lot of interviews, it can be easy to just agree with everything the interviewer says. It’s tempting to try and keep the meeting positive, but you may end up appearing insincere. If you have a strong opinion about something, it can be a good idea to respectfully disagree with a view the interviewer holds. Just make sure you don’t get into an actual argument!
The goal when disagreeing with the interviewer on something small is to spark a casual debate, which will make you memorable, and your interviewer should respect you for standing your ground. Constructive criticism can be difficult to get right though, so be careful when employing this tactic.