7 Ways to Stand Out When Interviewing

Abbie Martin

Believe it or not, there is a lot of bad behavior when it comes to the interviewing process. People will show up in flip flops, not show up at all, or even show up without a copy of their resume. These should be the most basic things “to-do” (or not to-do) when interviewing. Here are 7 ways to not only meet these minimum requirements but exceed them.

  1. Do Your Homework: Candidates that ask the most in-depth questions of the hiring company are the ones that stand out. And those questions shouldn’t be related to your perks (ex: “How many sick days will I get?”). Instead ask questions related to the company culture, current industry struggles, and ways in which you can best position yourself as an asset to their team.

  2. Ask if You’re Not Sure: The interviewing process can be long and tedious to both the candidate and the hiring company. If you answer a question and you receive a vague head nod from the interviewer, or they seem to not be engaged while you’re talking – these are non-verbal cues that you may not be answering the question correctly. Maybe you’ve gone off on a tangent, or maybe they didn’t frame the question correctly. If you feel like you lost your interviewer at some point, simply ask: “I’m not sure I answered that question right. Did I give you the information you were looking for?” It will help you in the long run and the interviewer will be glad you brought it to their attention.

  4. Print Your Resume: Chances are, they’re not going to ask for it. However, if they do, it would be a small, silly reason to look unprepared. You’ve made it this far in the hiring process, so don’t let this small task trip you up. Take the time to print your resume, put it in a folder you bought at Staples for 15 cents, and you’ve just made yourself stand apart from your competition.

  6. Know the Dress Code: Every office is different. Be sure to ask before you go in; don’t assume that every company wants to see you in your Sunday best. If they tell you their dress code is casual, and you show up in a business suit, you’ve set the tone that you won’t fit in. However, no matter what they tell you – always aim a little higher. For instance, if they are casual, be sure to wear nice, un-ripped jeans, an unwrinkled shirt, and nice shoes rather than sneakers. Whatever you do, don’t aim for the low-end of their dress code. Flip flops, beach shorts or yoga clothes will make you stand out in a bad way.

  8. Be on Time: People’s time is valuable, and if you are running late for whatever reason, be courteous enough to send an email or call. If you’ve decided you don’t want to work for the company anymore (for whatever reason), then it’s important to let them know you are no longer interested in the interview process. If you decide not to take that extra step and simply do not show up, it not only wastes people’s time but it also burns bridges. Even if you don’t think you’ll ever work for that company, people move positions, and that Manager may end up at another company you want to work with in the future. If you don’t want to continue the interviewing process, simply call or send an email. You don’t have to give a reason why you’re no longer interested, but the courtesy will be much appreciated.

  10. Write a Thank You Note: Timely follow up is key. Be sure to send a hand-written, personalized thank you note as well as an email to the people that you met. And always make sure that you don’t “step over” the person that brought you in for the interview. For example, if the HR Manager brings you in, but you meet with 2 directors and the CEO, you should definitely thank them if you have their information, but don’t forget to also thank the HR Manager. They’re the reason you were there to begin with.

  12. Make Sure to Close: It’s vitally important to make sure you leave with clear, next steps. What is the next step in the process? How many other candidates are they interviewing? Where do you rank? How do they anticipate they will make their decision? Was there anything else you could answer for them that wasn’t clear? Everyone is happier when all are on the same page.

When you present yourself professionally and responsibly throughout the interview process, you’ve just made the hiring decision much easier for the hiring manager. Use these tips to stand out from your competition and it’s a win-win for everyone.

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