Landing an interview is a great accomplishment to be proud of, but how can you ensure that you will be remembered as the best candidate for the job? You may be one of two, three or even five final candidates in the pool of applicant hopefuls – all seeking the same position. By the end of a long day of interviews, most candidates’ responses and resumes will likely run together in the mind of the interviewers. So what can you do to stand out?
To make yourself memorable, and valuable to the position, consider these tips:
1. You can’t re-do first impressions
A first impression happens within 7 seconds of meeting someone, so remember the drill: eye contact, sharp dress attire, a firm handshake and smile, and speaking directly to the interviewers and hiring manager by addressing him or her by name. Your enthusiasm (or lack thereof) will not go unnoticed. And of course, always follow up after the interview via email (in #3) or phone call to say thanks for the opportunity to interview for the position, which is also the perfect time to restate why you would be the attractive choice.
2. Pretend you already work there
That’s right. If you want to stand out from the other candidates who will likely be interviewing in the same chair, break out of the mold of the typical interview by asking the hiring manager, and perhaps the interviewers,.. “what are the two biggest challenges in your dept?” Most likely, the hiring manager will briefly share. If so, respond with a recommendation(s) but only if you have encountered similar challenges in previous jobs. If you are not sure, then listen and make a mental note. You can use that recall to mention possible recommendations in a follow up email after the interview.
3. Avoid sending an email follow up with “all flap and no throttle”
As noted above, a follow-up email (or phone call perhaps) is practically expected at this level of seniority. Most individuals on any interview team anticipate it. Ensuring that each interviewer recalls your discussions, it is recommended you follow up by specifically stating what topics talked about – studies, strategies, challenges, solutions, etc. – in that 30-60 minute interview time frame. In the body of the email list 3-4 bullet points that stood out. This tactic promotes depth and breadth of your thinking. Sure you can thank each person for their time but it gets to be redundant by stating the obvious. Dare to be proactive and different. Creativity in any situation is golden! I promise you will stand out above the rest.