When going into an interview, it’s important to find the ways to differentiate yourself from the pool of candidates who are also interviewing. You will most likely be asked a range of ‘typical’ interview questions, like “Tell me about yourself” or “What is your greatest weakness?” While these types of questions are going to be asked by recruiters and hiring manager alike, it’s important to learn the ways to stick out from the crowd and be memorable. Follow these helpful tips in order to be more interesting and make a lasting impression in your interview.
Make the interview more of a conversation
An important aspect of interview success comes from turning it into a conversation with the interviewer. By keeping a smooth conversation flowing, with you answering and asking questions, it will keep the interviewer more engaged and attentive. If you notice yourself talking too much or being the only one who is, make sure to start asking questions. This way, you will look more interested in the potential employer, as well as keeping it a two-way discussion.
Have specific situations to use in answers
When interviewing, you need to be able to reference specific situations when explaining your achievements and successes. Having these stories to reference in your interview will help to give a better understanding of how you handled certain conditions in the workplace. Think of a variety of situations that you’ve faced at work and how you worked through them. Write them down in your notebook to use as talking points in your interview so you’ll have examples prepared. These types of stories tend to be more interesting than a robotic answer to questions.
Know how you’ll make an impact at the organization
As significant as it is to highlight your past experiences, it’s just as important to demonstrate how you’ll also make an impact with this future employer. Research is critical here, as you’ll need to learn where your skillset and experience can have the biggest effect. Develop a strategy of what you want to accomplish as soon as you start, as well as down the line. Once you determine where you can make a difference in the organization, be sure to demonstrate this in your interview.
Prepare interesting questions to ask
As mentioned earlier, in order to keep your interview more of a conversation, you also need to ask questions. There are obvious topics to discuss, such as “What is the company culture like?” and “What is a typical day in the office?” While these are important to receive information about, you can also ask them in more interesting ways, such as, “What is your favorite part of your day?” It’s not new to know that you need to have questions prepared for any interview, but in order to stand out from the crowd, you need to think of questions that other candidates may not ask. Here are several examples:
- How has this position evolved and how do you see it continuing to evolve in the future?
- What is one thing that attributes to this organization’s success that somebody from the outside wouldn’t know about?
- How did you get started in your role and this industry? What about it and the organization makes you want to stay here?
- What are the most important things I can accomplish in the first 30/60/90 days in this role?
Avoid saying over-used phrases and buzzwords
When answering questions about your skills and work experience, be aware of the words and phrases you are saying. To remain interesting, you don’t want to use the buzzwords or phrases that all other candidates will be using, such as “I think outside the box” or “I’ll hit the ground running.” It’s important to avoid other clichés when answering questions. For example, when asked about your biggest weakness, avoid using phases such as “I care too much” or “I work too hard.” Interviewers will appreciate honest answers that display more of your personality and learning styles.
Practice your answers, then practice again
At the end of the day, you need to practice answering interview questions as much as you can before the big day. The better you know your answers to interview questions, the more comfortable you’ll be when answering them out loud with the interviewer. This kind of practice will allow you to speak more freely so your answers don’t come off as memorized. By talking naturally and demonstrating your knowledge, you will make more of an impact.
Before your next interview, find the information about yourself that will sell yourself as a top candidate. These types of stories, along with excellent questions, will keep the conversation with an interviewer flowing and ensure you stand out from the crowd.
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