5 Ways to Make Yourself Stand Out in the Job Interview
By Frankie Eybsen
Your hands are sweaty. Your mind is racing. You can’t stop tapping your foot as you sit in the waiting room, nervously glancing at the clock, and trying to make witty chatter with the receptionist.
A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. Being nervous is natural. Employers even expect it, but you can help calm your nerves and stand out from other candidates by following five pretty simple rules.
1. Be prepared
Don’t just walk into a job interview cold. Prepare as much as you can. Research the company at which you are interviewing, so you know about its history, products and services, and its goals. Visit the company website, check out their social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.), and read the latest news about them to really get a feel for what the company is all about. Google News will even allow you to create email alerts, so you receive an email any time the company is mentioned in the media.
Knowing about the company will allow you to ask insightful questions and to show that you are interested in the company. Not all candidates take the time to do due diligence before an interview, so if you do, you can set yourself apart from the crowd.
2. First impressions count
You know that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” In an ideal world, that would be true, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Make your first impression a positive one. Show up to the interview on time, leaving enough travel time for accidents and any other problems that might crop up. Greet the employer with an upbeat tone to your voice and with a firm handshake, and be sure to look at the employer. Looking away portrays a lack of confidence or might tell the employer you’re intimidated, even if you’re not.
3. Dress the part
Your appearance is almost as important as what you say in the interview, so make it count. Choose your outfit wisely. Experts advise that women who opt for a blouse and skirt should ensure the skirt is at least knee-length. Never wear anything with holes or tears, and make sure you iron your clothes before your interview. Men should shave, if they are generally clean shaven while those with beards or moustaches should make sure they are trimmed. Fingernails should be clean and hair should be neat.
4. Provide a solution
Show the employer how hiring you is going to benefit the company. Ask questions to determine problems the employer needs solved then show him how your skills and experience can help provide a solution. Maybe the employer is having a difficult time getting traffic to the company website, and you just happen to be an expert in the area. Share with him how you would increase the company’s website traffic and monitor it on a regular basis to ensure you’re getting maximum exposure. Showing what you bring to the table is going to help you stand out from your competition.
5. Stay positive
So, you’re not such a big fan of your former boss? You still harbor resentment toward the professor who took away your perfect grade point average? You think your ex is the lowest form of humanity? Well, you’re probably not alone on some of those things, but that’s not what the hiring employer wants to hear (and interviewers have probably seen and heard it all).
Stay positive during your interview. If you insult your former boss, the interviewer is going to think one thing, “What is he (or she) going to say about ME when he leaves the company?” Even if your boss was the worst boss you’ve ever had, don’t say anything negative about him. It only reflects poorly on you.
Even in a tight job market, you can make a positive impression and stand out from the competition if you just remember and adhere to five basic rules – be prepared, make a great first impression, present a professional appearance, ask questions, and stay positive.
Frankie Eybsen is a career and education blogger. He also helps recent college graduates use a sample resume to make the best of their job search.