It is easy to agree that the job interviews are usually pretty awkward. The better job opportunity is, the harder the things are. Nervous people simply can’t focus to use these few minutes that employer gave them in a good way. Usual mistakes when doing an interview are sticking to templates, pretending, acting and performing. Giving an ordinary answer to an ordinary question definitely won’t help you, but neither will those silly seeking quotes and similar things.
I’ve been interviewing dozens of candidates, some of them were memorable in a good way, while others were really weird. There were a few people whom I’ll never forget. For example, once I had this guy who prepared too well, he wrote an excellent essay about himself. But in the interview process, it turned out he not only learned everything about the company but also researched the recruiter very carefully. You can tell that the things are not right when the candidate is mentioning things from the HR manager’s personal life, such as tries to relate to hobbies or pet names. This is an example of how to become memorable in the worst possible way. He definitely didn’t get a job but almost forced me to turn off or change all social media accounts.
Another girl was too nice. She went as far as those small bribing, like sending a cake to the HR department and texting twice a day after the interview. This is a bit of an extra mile that noone at the office appreciated.
These are just a couple of the most striking fails, but the list of bad moves is much longer. The art of interviewing is pretty much about balance. The point is to find a perfect measure, which mostly means usual behavior but spiced up with interesting details. If you use these spices, you will probably stand out. If you don’t, you won’t. Finally, if you overdrive with them, you will become a memorable candidate, but in a bad way, which definitely won’t get you a job.
Here are some tips to stand out
As you may presume, visual impression plays an important role in pretty much every conversation, including job interview. So, choose the outfit carefully. Follow the employer’s dress code but don’t be afraid to add some distinctive details. A “Donald Duck” tie is definitely a bad choice, but some interesting color combination, as well as some unique piece of accessory, would be great.
Now, when you picked up the right clothing combination, it is time to think about what to say. In my opinion, a detailed research of the company is one of the essentials. Find out something about the way the company works, some interesting projects, unusual details, and similar things. In many cases, candidates took this advice too personal.
The best way to get noticed and leave a good impression is to be kind and respectful to everyone. Be polite to the assistant manager, who scheduled the interview. Also, a short chat with the door guy will definitely be one of the pros of your complete interview performance. While doing a job interview, you will probably have to talk with more than one person. Treat them all kindly and equally, don’t focus on the person in the middle. Still, try not to overreact and exclude all bizarre gestures. On the opposite, a nice thank-you note after you finish the interview would be good. Most of the candidates won’t go for an old-fashioned cardstock, so you will get remembered for sure.
All the things mentioned above could be useful or counterproductive, but the essentials of every interview are the answers you give during this small talk with the employer. You need to be relaxed but still focused to answer briefly and straightforward. Don’t beat around the bush, it is the worst thing to do. Many studies have shown that this is actually a characteristic of the nervous people, so it is quite easy to predict what the employer will think of you after you live the room.
The biggest traps of every job interview are those usual questions. For most of the employers, the best way to find out your actual persona is to ask some usual, almost stupid questions. As far as my interviewing experience goes, the worst questions are those like “Why do you want this job?” or “Why should we hire you?”
These are some of the trickiest questions you can ever imagine. If you want to be a memorable candidate, avoid those common and generic answers. Mention some of the important things, but focus on details. Good research on the company’s business doesn’t mean knowing all those historical facts. You could speak about some interesting side projects, the way of business, about how this company treats the environment, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In most cases, a job interview actually includes this question section, where you will be asked something like this: “Do you have any question?”
The worst thing you can do is to ask some general question – about something that everyone knows. It is probably even worse than to ask nothing. On the other side, a question about some interesting project would be nice. Some even prefer to ask if there is something else to do to improve the chances to get the job. This could be a great way to intrigue the employer, to make it clear that these few minutes of the interview are just not enough to show all your qualities.
In some way, this could be a risky question, depending on how the employer will interpret your body language. Anyway, good or bad – it is always better to leave some impression than to remain unnoticed, like most of the job candidates.
After reading all this, you’ll see that there is no such thing as a universal formula to get the job. Like other people, employers are different. The only thing I could say is to be yourself, be natural, be relaxed but stay focused at the same time.