How long does it take to make a first impression? Just one-tenth of a second. When you are looking for a new job you need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd rather than fading into a sea of faceless, mundane candidates.
If your interview sticks in a recruiter’s mind (for the right reasons, of course), you’re much more likely to be considered for the role.
So, how do you make sure that an interviewer remembers you?
Present Yourself Well
Your interviewer will begin to build a picture of you in their mind, so make your time count.
You want to come across as professional, positive and enthusiastic – your interviewer wants to see that you truly want the job and that you are suited to it.
This isn’t the time for smart-casual, so dress to impress. You will never be marked down for looking too smart, whereas dressing in a way that appears too relaxed may paint you in a bad light.
It may feel silly, but try to pump yourself up and give yourself a pep talk; before you leave for your interview, stand in front of a mirror, adopt a strong, powerful pose and tell yourself that you’re going to do well – you’ve got this! It’s a proven fact that acting more confident makes you feel more confident, therefore, this is how you will come across to the interviewer.
A strong handshake, a genuine smile and eye contact will all work in your favour, but although this is a professional interview, they want to get to know you too. Therefore to be remembered, don’t forget to let your personality shine through.
Really Do Your Homework
Doing your research beforehand is always high up on everyone’s ‘Pre-Interview To Do List’. However many candidates fall into the trap of simply reeling off a list of facts from the ‘About Us’ section on the company website. Worse still, others will wait to be asked what they know about the company – you can’t guarantee that this question will be asked, so you may miss out on the opportunity to showcase your knowledge about the business.
A memorable candidate does things a little differently. A memorable candidate seamlessly works in facts about the company into their responses to other questions. They show that their research has gone beyond the company’s website by mentioning social media or blog articles, or even press releases about the business. They can casually relate the company’s values, ethos and culture back to themselves so that the recruiter knows that they will be a good fit within the team. Additionally, they can cleverly take key requirements from the job description and show evidence of these through their own attributes and experience, meaning that boxes are ticked in the eyes of the interviewer.
Therefore when you are preparing for an interview, thoroughly research all aspects of the company. Go beyond their website: research the director and your interviewer (connecting with them on LinkedIn is a nice touch), have a look on review sites such as GlassDoor for genuine feedback on the business, and look for any mentions of the company in the media (including acquisitions, awards or other achievements) that may be worth discussing. Then try to think of ways to subtly incorporate this information into your responses and use it to sell why you are perfect for the job.
Great experience? Team player? Excellent salesperson? Fantastic, but the chances are that your interviewer has heard it all before… Repeatedly. Clearly you need to have the right skills and experience for the role, and to tell your prospective employer all about this. However, to stand out from all the other perfectionists, high achievers and self-starters, it’s time to take a new approach: back it up. Don’t just tell them what you can do, prove it.
There are endless mediums you can use to evidence your abilities. For example, you can bring feedback or testimonials from a colleague, manager or a customer to highlight what an asset you are as an employee. If you work in a target driven field, use definite numbers and statistics to demonstrate your achievements, and if you really want to show off, display these with visual media such as tables and graphs. In other more creative fields, you may benefit from showing your interviewer some evidence of your work, such as an advert you have created, your personal website or blog, or an article you have written.
Think carefully about the talents and achievements you want to display to your interviewer and don’t just tell them, show them.
Any Questions? YES
How many times have you been asked “Do you have any questions?” at the end of an interview? And how many times have you sat “umm”-ing and “errm”-ing, before deciding that no, there’s nothing further you’d like to know. The cardinal sin is to ask about pay, benefits or holidays at this point.
With regards to the questions you could ask, it all depends on how brazen you want to be. Good questions that aren’t too bold, are:
What do you enjoy most about working here?
Could you tell me about a typical day in this role?
Who would be my manager? Will I get the opportunity to meet them during the interview process?
What sets this company apart from it’s competitors?
These are questions which will make the interviewer think, and are a little different to what they will be used to hearing. If you really want to go in all guns blazing, there are some questions you can ask such as:
What would be the perfect candidate for this role and how do I compare to this?
Is there anything that you feel makes me unsuitable for the job?
When do you think you will be making a decision?
Do you feel that I would do well in this position?
(N.B. It’s important to assess the situation before going bold, depending on the role or the interviewer, such questions may not be appropriate.)
“Thank You” Goes a Long Way
Thank You – it seems like such a simple thing to say, but it will always be appreciated. Of course, you will naturally thank the person who interviewed you before you leave (it’s only polite), but what about afterwards?
Sending a thank you letter or email, even making a phone call, after the interview is not something that every candidate does – so, as a memorable candidate, that’s exactly what you’re going to do! Make sure that your ‘thank you’ is timely. It’s advisable to do this within 24 hours of the interview; express your gratitude to the interviewer and everyone you corresponded with throughout the recruitment process. You can also use this opportunity to discuss what you learned about the company during your interview and what you liked.
This again will make you stand out and will also jog the employer’s memory about you, meaning that you are more likely to be remembered when it comes to shortlisting candidates.
Following this advice will give you a great chance to shine at your interview, now it’s down to you… Good luck!