How to stand out in a job interview

iStock_000012989954XSmallA job interview should be seen as the perfect opportunity to show what you can offer to the company you are applying at. Good preparation can make you the candidate that they are looking for.

1/ First impression is important

Research has shown that employers have made their mind up within the first 30 seconds of a job interview. This makes the handshake and the greeting significant. Think about what you would be looking for if you were the interviewer. Find out what the company’s dress code is and research the website to find as much information about them as possible. Look at Facebook or Twitter to discover what the main issues facing the company are at present. If you can find out who will be interviewing you, that would be an advantage as you coud research their career history and interests.

2/ Use time to your advantage

If you are offered specific times for your interview go for the latest slot possible. This is because research has shown that people look more positively at candidates who come later. Do your research during the morning and then spend the rest of the day doing something active to take your mind off the interview. Going for a run would help clear your head for the interview.

3/ Ask what you offer

Be transparent with what you offer the company you are applying for. The focus should not be on ‘what you can do for me?’ but on ‘this is how I can help you’. Appreciate the values of the company and show that you understand these and know how the company works.

4/ Prepare for behavioural questioning

A popular interview technique is asking candidates how they behaved in specific situations.  To help answer this, write down examples where you have performed remarkably well, and be precise about the skills used.  Work out what skills they may be looking for (good management. ect)

5/ Don’t get too personal

Although an informal approach may be beneficial, you can’t afford to relax in your interview.  Keep your answers focused to areas relevant to the job; they don’t want to hear about your personal life.  Questions like ‘what are your weaknesses?’ are not the moment for jokes, instead explain your weakness but make clear how it actually makes you stronger for the role in question.

6/ Stand out from the rest

Turn a potential problem on your CV into a unique selling point.  Write out your list of weaknesses and write next to it why in fact these are positive. If you have taken time off your career to look after your children, explain how this makes you a grounded individual who knows what they what out of life.  If you have never worked in that industry before, explain how this gives you the benefit of looking in and changing the approach of the company.

7/ Imagine you’ve got the job

Try taking a different perception on the interview, and imagine you have successfully been hired. Use this confident attitude in the interview and think about why you would have been hired.  Now question why they would have hired you? what they are looking for?  Now you are in total control of the interview and have the confidence to get the job you want.


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