I spent a 14-year career interviewing people for all types of jobs. I typically knew within the first five minutes of the interview if that person was going to make it.
It is not difficult to set yourself apart from other candidates during the interview. Most candidates don’t interview well. They make the same mistakes. When interviewing several different candidates for a position, most begin to sound the same.
How do you make yourself stand out during an interview? Don’t make the same mistakes other candidates make. There are effective techniques that hiring managers notice during an interview that can improve your chances of getting hired.
9 Tips To Make You a Better Interviewer
Here are nine tips to instantly set yourself apart from everyone else, and show the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job (that have nothing to do with your resume).
1. Dress to impress.
I’ve never said no to a candidate who overdressed for the interview. You don’t necessarily need to wear a full suit. Use your best judgment. Know what’s expected of you in your line of work. When in doubt, wear something more formal rather than less formal.
While dressing up for an interview may not be as crucial as it used to be, wearing appropriate clothing is still critical to putting your best foot forward and making a good impression.
2. Carry a notebook.
A trick I always use in interviews is to carry a notebook. I rarely wrote in the notebook, but bringing it with me to the interview still conveyed a sense of professionalism and organization that impressed many hiring managers. This trick applies best to higher-level roles like managers and supervisory positions but can still work in virtually any interview.
3. Smile often.
I cannot count the number of candidates who looked like they wanted to kill themselves in the interview.
- They were tired.
- They never smiled.
- They looked angry.
Smiling during the interview will immediately give you the upper hand in a sea of average candidates. Make the interviewers believe that you want to be there.
4. Talk requirements.
Know the specific demands of the job. Then speak to those.
If the job requires particular skills, confidently talk about your experience with those things. Discuss the most important elements of the job you’re interviewing for.
For instance, if the company is looking for specific skills, such as:
- WordPress CMS,
- Agile Dev Process.
- Cisco Networking.
Use those words and prioritize those specific skills to answer questions about your professional experience. Similar to how using a person’s name in negotiation helps to establish a personal connection, using particular technologies and experiences will help solidify that you are the perfect candidate for the job.
5. Do research.
Before the interview, do a little research about the company.
- Know the company’s leaders
- Understand its business model
- Memorize its mission statement
Even the slightest bit of research will help you answer questions correctly.
Tailor your answers based on the company’s mission. Very few candidates do this, and the ones that do instantly stand out.
6. Ask questions.
Most interviews end with: “Do you have any questions for us?” Ask a question at the end of the interview.
Have a question prepared. Never say “Nope” or, “I think you already answered all my questions.” Those are not good answers.
Ask a good question.
A couple of my favorite questions to ask:
- Are there opportunities for a promotion with this position? What do they look like?
- Does this company offer any professional development opportunities?
- What training programs are available for people who work here?
And here is one bonus question: “Have I answered all of your questions?”
7. Answer “why us?”
I asked this question a lot. The answer told me all I needed to know.
What made you apply for this job?
Is there anything specific that made you want to work here?
Specific answers are best. Generic answers mean you didn’t prepare.
Maybe there is something specific about what the company does that attracts you.
Know your answer.
8. Be honest about weaknesses.
Many candidates will dodge this question, answering, “I’m equally strong in all areas.” Or, “I care too much,” yada yada.
Wrong answer. It’s nonsense, and your interviewers know it.
We all have weaknesses.
Here’s a secret: Your interviewers don’t care about your weaknesses. They are more concerned with your level of honesty. If you’re willing to admit to fundamental weaknesses and discuss ways to improve them, you will instantly set yourself apart from other candidates.
9. Conserve the cologne/perfume.
Wearing too much cologne and perfume can be incredibly distracting.
It’s okay to wear some cologne and perfume, but don’t overdo it. Be conservative when it comes to smells, jewelry, or other distractions. You want the attention during the interview to be on you and your answers.