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5 things you must do to stand out in an interview

·4-min read
How to stand out at a job interview/. Source: Getty
How to stand out at a job interview/. Source: Getty

How you perform at a job interview could have a major impact on your career prospects. No matter where you are in your career and how good your career record is to date, the interview remains an important step towards the fulfilment of your ambitions.

In every interview you should focus on what you have done and how you did it. Take preconceived blockers out of your head that prevent you from going into the interview as confident as you should be. Leave self-doubt at the door and focus on what you can deliver.

See the interview process as an opportunity to meet someone new. At this interview, you will learn about what their company or division does and how you can help them, and achieve your personal career goals all at the same time. Remember the interviewer knows little to nothing about you, so here is your opportunity to shine.

Over the years as a recruiter, I saw some very basic things that candidates did that put them in front of other candidates. 

Here are my top 5:

1. From the moment they walked into the interview they were professional and engaged the receptionist and anyone else they met during the process. People will give their opinion to the interviewer so be nice to everyone.

2.They did their research on the company as well as the interviewer - and called anyone they knew that could give some information that would help. You can never be over prepared so do your homework.

3. Ask questions about the role and treat the meeting as a two-way street. This will show that you are a person who will ask questions, not just someone who will wait to be asked. The best interviews are conversational.

4. They showed passion for the role and expressed why they were interested. Thank the interviewer for their time and let the interviewer know you are interested in the role.

5. Before any interview they had their achievements clear in their head. Know what your achievement was and how you did it. Make sure there is a result when you talk about your achievements.

So those are my top 5 that accelerated candidates over others – but what are some basic things candidates did that knocked them out of the process even though they had a good resume?

During the interview process, the interviewer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive attributes. Some of the negative factors frequently evaluated during the interview and which most often lead to rejection include the following:

· Being late without a good excuse (traffic is not a good excuse) or re-scheduling.

· Speaking negative about past employers or people in the industry or your current company.

· Having a – ‘what’s in it for me’ approach and talking salary before they have discussed the role.

· Being abrupt or rude to the interviewer’s assistant – big mistake!

· Taking too long to answer one question.

No matter the result of an interview, don’t give up. What you learnt in the first interview process will help you next time. Ask for feedback – they may only give you a standard reply, but at least you asked, and you never know someone may be willing to help you improve.

Never show your disappointment by getting angry at the person who tells you that you are not going forward. Accept the rejection gracefully and thank them for their time. The decision to hire someone else could have simply been because they had more complimentary skill levels to existing team members. I placed so many candidates who didn’t get the role the first time, however because they handled themselves professionally, the company offered them something later on. Don’t burn bridges and learn from every experience.

Written by Judith Beck, author of No Sex at Work (Major Street Publishing), which shares the dos and don’ts from her experience as founder of executive search firm, Financial Recruitment Group. Over her career, Judith has successfully placed thousands of candidates at senior to managing director level with some of Australia’s most successful financial institutions. Judith also founded Financial Executive Women (FEW) and is a sought-after speaker and media commentator. For more information visit www.judithbeck.com.au

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