Interviewing is one of the most stressful things. Obviously, no one wants to mess up. And it is so hard to set yourself apart from tons of the other candidates. I mean when you are coming out of college, you don’t have much under your belt. Most of us had maybe 1 mediocre job and spent the rest of our time studying or doing school work. Well, I have found tips to help you set yourself apart from others while you are getting interviewed (and you don’t need much on your resume). Remember to relax. Everything will work out at the end of the day.
1. Do research
When you are job hunting, you want to always do your research first. You want to really understand the role and company you are applying for. Hiring managers will be more impressed if you know things about the company. For example, address the company’s values and make a comment about how they align with yours. When you ask specific questions, that is a green flag for hiring managers. They see that you are interested and have done your research.
2. Focus on your key qualities
Once you’ve done your research, it is best to try to connect your skills to what the jobs’ role entails. Try to give details about how you are adequate in these qualities. At some point during the interview, they make ask you about your hard and soft skills. The interviewer wants to see how you used your skills. They want to know how you can use your hard skills to help the company flourish. When many candidates have similar hard skills, soft skills can be your saving grace. Soft skills are things like leadership, written/verbal communications, team building, problem solving, etc. If you can explain how you have been a great leader or solved a big problem, you are in a pretty good spot.
3. Wear bold colors
This may sound strange but you should consider wearing bold colors. Colors are eye catching and can be memorable. Don’t wear anything like neon green because then they may get distracted. Blue communicates confidence, trust, and being a team player. Brown scream reliability and dependability. Red says passion, energy, excitement and power. Colors like purple or green can communicate being fun and confident but some may take it as unprofessional.
4. Be honest
This is a big one. Hiring managers have been interviewing for a long time, so they can definitely tell what you aren’t being honest. When they ask you questions like, “What are your weaknesses?” Don’t say you have none. Obviously, we don’t want to explain a major weakness because we feel that will cost us the job but no one has not one single weakness. They would appreciate it more if you said, “I struggle with public speaking but I have been taking public speaking classes every Wednesday Night…” Now, they see you being accountable for your weakness and that you are trying to make it a strength.
6. Try to connect with interviewer
When you connect over your love of the Rams or where you went to college, that opens the door for so much. When you find an appropriate opening, it is good to give a little bit of personal information revealing something about your background or interests. Don’t go to far into it because it is a job interview.
7. Explain how you are different from other candidates
This question needs a memorable answer. When you research the job requirements, make sure that most of the skills are what you currently have. List your qualifications. Ask yourself before any interview, what accomplishment do I feel most proud of?
For example, I would say:
“When I was in high school, my dream school was San Diego State University. Sadly, I didn’t get in senior year but that didn’t stop me. Not only was I going to go to SDSU, I was going to go to complete 2 years of community college in 1 year. When I went to college counseling, they all advised me to not do that and to stay 2-3 years. They claimed that they had never heard anyone do that before. I said well, I am going to do it in 1 year because I know I can. I ended up doing as I said and ended the year with a 3.9 GPA and got into SDSU, while maintaining a job. This shows that I am determined and can handle my time very well.”
8. Share your successes and what you have learned from failures
Job interviewers want to know when you have had successes and sometimes even failures. Hiring managers will ask these questions because they learn about your work ethic. When they ask about failures, they are looking to see how you work through challenging workplace situations. To answer this difficult question, take responsibility (if it was your fault) and explain what you had learned. When they ask questions about your success, you don’t want to seem arrogant. Explain how that can be an asset to their company.
9. Be excited during the interview
No one likes having conversations where someone doesn’t seem interested. When a hiring manager sees that you don’t have enthusiasm, why would they want to hire you? Showing enthusiasm doesn’t mean that you should ramble though. It means smile, ask many specific/meaningful questions, talk slightly louder, perfect your posture and compliment them.
10. Use bigger language
Hiring managers typically will notice if you are able to communicate well. If you say “um, or like,” you seem nervous and unprepared. You need to practice being interviewed enough where you feel comfortable enough to speak without the ums or likes. Also, you want to seem intelligent and educated, so start learning one big word a day and try to incorporate it into the interview. For example, instead of saying smart, say resourceful, astute, sagacious, or perspicacious.