You have most probably gone through the common checklist of things to do before an interview: do some research on the company, work out the common interview questions, prepare yourself to talk about your strong and weak sides, set a list of questions to ask at the end of an interview, and, of course, dress properly.
But there is much more to standing out during an interview than just going through this checklist because every possible candidate out there will do the exact same thing.
So how to stand out during your interview?
While the answer might sound a bit extreme to some people, the only way to be easily noticeable is to break some common rules that everyone is sticking to nowadays. With the recruitment process becoming more and more competitive and complex, both job seekers and recruiters are looking to up their game or they will risk losing good opportunities/talents. If recruiters take an average of 6 seconds to scan a resume, interviews usually last for an hour which means one has a lot more chances to attract attention during an interview. Then why not use those chances wisely?
Here is a list of 3 rules to break to help you stick out during an interview.
#1. BE YOURSELF
Show the recruiters your personality. Although many resources online state that in order to succeed you should act the way the recruiter wants you to, it is not always the greatest way to stand out from the crowd.
The interviewer usually meets several candidates a day (if not quite a lot of them), so you acting naturally and being yourself is something that they will appreciate. They might not expect you to act very naturally because they will probably have certain expectations from you, but you will already be memorable by being yourself and not being one of the run-of-the-mill candidates the interviewer pictured in their mind.
Do not think of an interview as a theater performance where you should disguise as a particular character. Look at it as an opportunity to present yourself the way you are in order to understand if you fit that company or not.
And remember that only people who appreciate you the way you are, deserve you after all.
Quick tip: one of the ways to stand out by your personality is to take a look at your most developed personal strengths. It will give you a much clearer understanding of yourself, which will positively impact your self-confidence and self-esteem. The more confident you are in yourself, the more it will reflect on your demeanor during an interview. Nearly 40% of interviewers state that the quality of a candidate’s overall confidence is a reason for not taking their candidacy further. So be yourself and be confident!
#2. BE HONEST – SPEAK THE TRUTH
Contrary to the common opinion, speaking the truth is something that will help you attract attention during an interview. There is nothing more boring for interviewers – and why not interviewees – than hearing stereotypical responses and cliché words and trying to kill time until the next interview.
If during an interview you do not agree with a particular question or opinion that has been raised, feel free to speak the truth and tell your opinion by giving supporting examples. After all, it will only prove that you have your own opinion and will not easily obey in certain situations.
Here is another example. Sometimes in the middle of an interview, the interviewee realizes that the job is a terrible fit for them. Again, there is nothing wrong in being honest and admitting that the role is not a great fit.
Quick tip: if you think the job is not a right fit for you, tell the interviewer, “It was my pleasure to meet you, but I think the role is not right for me. What do you think we can do?” By doing so, you will not waste either your or their time, which will help you both find a quick solution.
#3. ASK QUESTIONS WHENEVER YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE
Many people think that the appropriate time for a candidate to ask questions is closer to the end of an interview. Well, it is time to break that rule because you can ask questions whenever you think of them if your questions are relevant to the conversation.
There is no point in waiting until the end to ask a question about the topic that has been raised 30 minutes ago. Your questions will also help keep the conversation going and fill in the awkward silence moments.
Remember that you are checking the company as much as they are checking you. So asking questions is a natural thing to do and should help you both understand if you are a good fit for that particular position.
Quick tip: break the obsolete idea that you should not ask about salary. On the contrary, by asking about the salary you will be showing that you value yourself and that you are very much interested in that position. Besides, more and more companies are becoming transparent about the salaries they offer so it will be a very natural thing to ask.
The most important tip is to be confident in yourself and stay true to the person you are. Everybody eventually finds their job but very few stay true to themselves. So stay different!
In case your interview finished very quickly and you want to know why, take a look at this article on 4 reasons why your interview finished early.