Congratulations, you've scored the interview! But, now what? You're going to do your homework to research the company, practice your elevator pitch, and pick up your suit from the dry cleaners...exactly like your competition.
Getting an interview is a huge hurdle to clear and a wonderful sign that you're on the right track with your job search efforts. Now it's time to shift your focus to becoming a rock star candidate.
Approach your interview with the expectation that your competition is equally qualified. Having the skills and wanting the job badly isn't going to cut it in today's market. You need to figure out specific ways to stand out and be interesting.
Here are some strategies to do exactly that...
1. Get Your Interviewer Talking
We know that the more you make me talk, the more interesting I'll think you are. Humans are funny like that. Use this knowledge to your advantage, and immediately engage all the people you meet in conversation—about themselves.
Whether it's the receptionist, the HR manager, or your future boss, ask people questions about themselves, and do as much as you can to draw them out. At the end of your interview, they'll have a much more positive impression of you.
2. Be Prepared With Interesting Questions
Don't ask the same old, tired questions as every other candidate. You can combine this strategy with the one above and ask your interviewer about his or her experience at the company or perspective about a hot new product or service.
You can also use this as an opportunity to flex your creative powers and ask questions that show you've not only done your homework and research on the company (and the people who work there) but that you went above and beyond to create solutions for the problems they're facing.
3. Be Prepared With Interesting Answers
Most people will answer situational and behavioral interview questions with straightforward examples from their career. It is very important to do this in your job interview, and highlight the results you've achieved on the job. But the truth is, employers hire for three things: personality, aptitude, and experience—in that order. You need to let your personality shine through in the job interview in some way to show that you fit in with the company culture.
Differentiate yourself by being prepared to share stories from other areas of your life that are equally impressive. Did you survive a solo ride on your motorcycle to the Arctic Circle? Create a hip-hop website that gets hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per month? Start a non-profit to save a historic building in your hometown? Share those tales in ways that highlight your problem-solving skills, intrinsic motivation, and unique experience (and always relate it back to the job opportunity).
4. Show Off Your Style
Conventional wisdom says you should stick to neutral, conservative styles for your interview appearance. In general, it is best to go with classic suits and subtle accessories. But if you're the type of person who normally has some artistic flair to your look, you don't need to stifle it completely.
Choose one or two ways to let that style and personality shine through—a bright accessory, unique jewelry, or moderately funky hair. As long as you look professional, it's okay to have an accent.
5. Create A 30-60-90 Day Plan
When preparing for your interview, create an overview of how you plan to tackle your first 30, 60, and 90 days on the new job. This is called a 30-60-90 day plan, and it never fails to impress hiring managers.
If you've done your research on the company and position, you'll have a sense of what kind of strategy you'd employ to start adding value right away. Write it down on a page or two, and pull it out at the end of the interview to leave behind as a form of marketing collateral for you, a business-of-one.
6. Mind Your Body Language: Mirroring & Power Poses
Interviews are stressful, and it's easy to get tense and physically awkward. Pay attention to your interviewer's body language and do your best to mirror it. Mirroring tends to disarm people and make them feel more comfortable with you.
To really impress them, use power poses immediately before your interview, in private, and avoid weak poses at all costs. Everyone's subconscious will perceive you in a more flattering, confident light.
What have you done to be interesting in job interviews? Are there techniques that you've found to be particularly successful? If you think you need to work on being more interesting in job interviews, try one or more of these tips during your next job search to stand out from the competition!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.