5 Tips to stand out in an Interview

24 Jun, 2022

Here are 5 tips that will help you stand out amongst your fellow candidates when it matters, and leave a lasting impression with your interviewers.

If you have been around the job hunting block a few times in your life, you will know this. If this is your first go at it, here's a piece of honesty for you... it is not just about your CV format (discussed at length here), your skills and/or your qualifications. A quick Google search will bring up numerous articles telling you to wear certain colours or to have a coffee cup in your hand and list all sorts of "tricks" to help you stand out in some way as if the colour of your shirt is going to win over your interviewers. Well, with thousands of interviews under my belt, I'm here to tell you that luckily, that is not the case. If you and a fellow candidate are both equally matched in terms of skills and experience (ie, you meet the job spec criteria) then rest assured, the colour of your shirt is not going to be the deciding factor that gets you the job or not.

Phew! Now that we've got that anxiety inducing thought out of the way, we have real tips for you. Things you can control and make informed decisions about, that will let you stand out amongst your equally matched fellow interviewees. It's your SOFT SKILLS.

  • Your attention to detail: A job application is always accompanied by various forms that need to be completed and "attention to detail" has become a standard phrase in a job spec as this is quite a scarce skill. This is one of the ways Recruiters and Interviewers can pick up whether or not you pay attention to detail. It is imperative that you are able to execute simple tasks and requests like completing a form thoroughly and in its entirety.
  • The way you answer questions: A Unique skill is being able to answer a question in a brief, intellectual and confident way. Candidates who answer questions in a verbal essay format give the impression that they will be the cause of meetings running over, or missed deadlines with all the talking. Candidates who answer questions with short 3 or 4 word sentences give the impression that they are not really interested in the job, or that they won't participate in meetings / the office culture etc. This brings me to the next point...
  • Your Attitude and Responsiveness: Most people like working with a positive person, and likewise most managers like to employ someone who will contribute to the office culture in a positive way. Your interview starts long before you leave your house. Being quick to respond to calls and emails regarding the interview, having a positive and friendly attitude in your responses leading up to the interview and within the interview itself as well as engaging with your interviewers will create a lasting impression of positivity, punctuality and that you have respect for others.
  • Your Presentability: No, this is not about being good looking or having a perfectly symmetrical face. This is about what you can control. Your hair, your makeup, your clothing. Consider how other people see you and not only how you see yourself or how comfortable you are. There are no hard and fast rules like wearing certain colours, or a tie, or 12cm heels, BUT you have to be groomed, have clean nails, clean hair, clean and ironed clothes, a pleasant scent. Hygiene and cleanliness is completely controllable and is also a complete deal breaker for most people.
  • Intellectual Curiosity: Candidates who dedicate themselves to their profession and use curiosity to drive their career forward are a pleasure to interview and to employ. An employee that uses initiative and is open to upskill, is flexible and adaptable, not a clock watcher or "just here for the money" is a valued employee. These are crucial factors that will be interpreted from the way you answer questions, your facial expressions and your engagement with your interviewers.

Now, you go get that job!

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