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Candidates: here’s how to stand out from the crowd in an interview

Posted: 20 September 2017

In the ever-increasingly competitive job market, one thing is clear: you need to stand out from the crowd. It’s all well and good telling you this, but how do you actually go about it? IRP’s Recruiter of the Year, Andy Cox, tells us his 8 steps to success:

1. Prepare – As with anything in life, it pays to be prepared. Start with researching the company and the interviewers that you will be meeting. Thoroughly read the job description and any other documentation you may have received. Go through some interview questions with your friends – or even in front of the mirror! Make sure that you’re the best prepared candidate that they interview.

2. Plan – Prepare your route to the interview in advance, maybe do a dry run to see how long it takes? Whatever you do, don’t be late! First impressions count, so if you can’t get to the interview on time, then your future employer will assume that you won’t be able to get to work on time either.

3. Sell yourself – Make sure you’re aware of your key strengths as a candidate and have them ready on the tip of your tongue. It’s vital that you can highlight your best attributes and show not only why you’d be great for the role, but also why you’d be better than anyone else.

4. Self-awareness – Knowing your strengths is all well and good, but you also need to be aware of your potential weaknesses. That way, you’ll be ready to address and, more importantly, overcome any potential concerns that may crop up.

5. Questions – One of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself in an interview is by asking insightful questions. Steer away from questions about salary, bonus or annual leave. Instead, ask intuitive, intelligent questions about the role, the company and what it’s like to work there.

6. Don’t forget the basics – I’ve already mentioned timekeeping so here’s your reminder of how important it is! Other basics include being dressed appropriately for the interview. This could be a suit, or more casual attire – do your research into how people at the company usually dress, and dress accordingly. Also, a firm handshake is a must, as is good eye contact with the interviewer.

7. Have examples of your work ready – This doesn’t necessarily mean coming prepared with a physical portfolio of your work. But, many employers will use competency based interviewing. This means they are looking for you to provide concrete, tangible examples to demonstrate the attributes that they are looking for. So, come prepared with a mental – or physical – list of your best achievements.

8. Enthusiasm and passion – Need I say more? This might be the single most important piece of advice for standing out an interview. Show your interviewer that you really want this role. Enthusiasm is worth its weight in gold, so don’t skimp on it!

If you need help finding your next role then get in touch here.