A job interview is often the first impression you’ll make on a hiring manager, so you want it to be a great one. Even if you tick all the right boxes on the job description and have a strong track record, chances are other interviewees will too. In a competitive job market where you’re up against equally qualified candidates, being able to stand out amongst the crowd is essential.
So how can you stand out during the interview process and make a lasting positive impression? Get started with these tips for taking your interview skills to the next level.
Nail your intro
Most interviews start with general introductions, so think of this moment as an opportunity to share your elevator pitch – a quick rundown of who you are, your background and experience. Practise this ahead of time so you have a concise, compelling summary of about 50-70 words.
I’m currently a Marketing Manager at ABC Company, specialising in overseeing inbound campaigns from end to end. Along with my 6 years of professional experience, I recently completed my HubSpot certification with a focus on marketing automation. I think the work your team is doing in this space is really innovative and exciting, which is what brings me here today.
Prepare examples & use the STAR technique
Before the interview, revisit the job description and think about the types of questions you might be asked on the day. Prepare responses in advance, making sure you have concrete examples to refer to wherever possible.
Use the STAR technique – situation, task, action, result – to ensure your examples are structured in a clear and concise way.
Describe a time when you overcame a challenge at work to achieve a positive outcome.
Situation: I was tasked with overseeing an extensive inbound marketing campaign for a large new client. However, the client had set an extremely tight deadline, which was causing stress for my already under-resourced team.
Task: As the manager, it was my role to effectively manage expectations with the client while ensuring my team had the bandwidth to deliver on this project.
Action: I put forward a more achievable project timeline to the client, explaining the rationale and offering a small value-add as an incentive. I also reprioritised some of my team’s workload to give them more bandwidth to work on this high-value project.
Result: By clearly managing expectations with the client and giving more time back to my team, we were able to successfully deliver and launch the campaign within the proposed timeframe. The following quarter, the client doubled their budget with our company.
Research the company
This is an area where many candidates fall short, particularly when attending a lot of interviews. However, not knowing anything about the company is one of the fastest ways to end up on the rejection list.
Before you attend an interview, look at the company’s website and social media profiles to get an in-depth understanding of its products and services, values, mission and objectives. Be prepared to talk about these during the interview, and tie them back to why you’re interested in the job and why you would be a good fit.
Ask relevant questions
Asking great, insightful questions at the end of the interview demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in the role and the company. It’s also a chance for you to find out if this is really the right job for you.
First think about your professional goals and what factors will help you gauge whether this is the ideal role and workplace for you. Then use your company research to come up with questions that are relevant to both you and the company – this could include topics such as workplace culture, corporate social responsibility, challenges of the role and what qualities people need to succeed within the team.
Be yourself and show off your personality
Although you should be professional in any interview setting, it doesn’t mean you have to be devoid of personality. Be friendly and enthusiastic, and have some talking points ready to chat about your interests outside of work if the situation calls for it. This will not only humanise you in the eyes of your interviewer but also help them work out if you’re a good cultural fit for the company.
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