SPOOKED by the Competition? How to Stand Out in the Big Interview

In this October series: Bewitching Business, we’re showing you how to tackle the ghoulish part of the working world, from enchanting your employer to eradicating ghosts from your position’s past. Don’t let the office life haunt you – spread your magic and craft the career you deserve.

Today, we’re talking giving a spellbinding interview – how to stand out from the crowd for a job you really want. You know to show up on time, maintain great eye contact, and to be polite to everyone, but so does your competition. So, what’s going to help you stand out from the crowd? We’ve got 15 powerful tips below to blow your interview out of the water.

Perfect the “Tell me about yourself” prompt: 

  • Take the time to craft a personal narrative that is engaging as well as informative. Keep it short and concise, but this is your first moment to make an impact.
  • What are some words that describe you and your career? Has there been a theme to the experience you’ve had that you can speak to?
  • Allow them to know you a little too. Throw in something unique about you personally – do you have an interesting hobby, or a cause you’re passionate about working with, or is your pet the center of your world? Just a sentence or two in this prompt about who you are will give them something to remember you by.

Make connection with your interviewers:

  • Research your interviewers ahead of time to ask appropriate questions for the position, but you might also notice you have something personally in common. Bring it up!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewers a few questions about them to build that connection at the top of the interview, but keep it brief.
  • People want to work with people they like. Stand out from the competition by being someone the team is excited to work with.

Convey enthusiasm for the position:

  • Something drew you to this job – let it show! If it’s the company, the specific job, or something exciting they’re doing in the field, don’t hold back from expressing that.
  • You might have the inclination to play it cool, but a hiring manager is looking for someone who will be happy to show up to the position each day.

Ask thoughtful questions: 

  • Asking questions that show you are invested in the position shows you can already picture yourself in the job. It also provides you with essential information to know if the position what you had in mind.
  • Some great questions include: what does success look like in this position? What do you anticipate is the most challenging part of the position? What is your favorite part of working at the company?
  • And the winner for most important question: “Is there anything in my background or resume that concerns you about my ability to do this job?”

Wear a great outfit:

  • Your outfit is your very first impression, before you even get a chance to speak.
  • Dress with personality but also, dress for what the job calls for. If you’re applying for a creative position, a splash of a print would be appropriate, or if you’re applying in a business formal environment, keep in line with that dress code.
  • Check out our tips for pushing the envelope for interview wear or inspiring workwear to find the look to help you stand out.

Bring something to leave behind:

  • Sometimes your resume is enough, but if you have a fun business card, or a delicious treat with your card attached, or a physical example of past work, a small physical reminder of your interview can set you apart.
  • BUT, make sure it’s relevant and not a hassle for the interviewer to deal with. If it’s a gimmick for the sake of leaving something behind, leave it out. Be thoughtful about what you give out.

Some final quick tips:

  • Be in interview mode from the minute you walk up to the building until you leave. You never know who you might run across!
  • Have a fun answer for “How are you?”. Start the interview off better than “fine”.
  • Be honest about your strengths and room to grow. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate, but an honest and confident one is just as good.
  • Don’t skip out on the handwritten thank you note. Drop one in the mail on your way home.
  • Be specific in your answers – examples show you understand the prompt.
  • Throw in a (genuine) compliment when appropriate – particularly if it’s around something they’ve said. Everyone appreciates being noticed.
  • Mirror your interviewer’s body language for subtle communication that you’re on the same page.
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh! Some light conversational humor shows off just what an enjoyable person you are to be around.
  • End on a strong note. Reaffirm your excitement for the position and that you look forward to hearing from them again.

If the work life is spooking you, keep an eye out for more editions of Bewitching Business where we treat you to the tricks of the trade.