Making it to the interview stage is huge. It means you’ve got the right background and approach to do well on the job. However, your hard work has just begun. Here are seven ways to stand out during the interview process, make a great impression, and drive home that you’re the best person for the job.
Research with a purpose.
Not everyone researches the employer before an interview. Even those who do may simply spend time surfing company websites and news reports without a purpose.
To really impress the interviewer, research the company with the goal of answering one question: “Why do I want to work here?” Find a simple, yet compelling reason that this is the company and the job for you.
Find out what the job involves.
Don’t just research the employer – research the job as well. The best way to do this is to talk to someone who has held the role before. If you can’t do that, ask your recruiter to give you an “inside look” at a typical day on the job.
Go beyond duties and skills.
Take another look at the job description. For each item, list one or two times you used that skill or performed that duty on the job – and then ask, “What did I achieve by doing that?” Try to capture the accomplishment in just one or two sentences.
Tell stories about your accomplishments.
When you start developing answers to the most likely interview questions, practice answers that focus on your accomplishments. Talking about what you achieved by applying your skills or tackling your job duties helps answer an employer’s number-one question: “What value does this person bring to our company?” Your accomplishments describe your value.
Give yourself time.
Build in time to research the company, consider your accomplishments, and practice your interview answers before the day of the interview. On the big day, plan ahead so you have plenty of time to get to the interview.
Use your waiting time productively.
If you find yourself waiting, use the time to check out your surroundings covertly: How do people communicate with each other? How are the offices laid out? Is the equipment up to date? Are files or boxes left in piles, or is everything tidy? Does this look like a place you could be comfortable working?
Not only does this time help you get a better feel for the company, it can also provide a needed confidence boost. Instead of dwelling on what’s about to happen, you’ll be empowering yourself by gathering data and deciding whether this employer is good enough for you.
Never enter an interview without a list of at least three questions to ask the employer. At least one question should be specific to the company and the position. The others can be more general questions, such as “What do you love most about working here?” or “How will I know I’m on the right track to advancement?”