Hans F. Hansen said, “It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.” It isn’t enough just to be “great” in your particular field. You can bank on the fact that there is a ton of competition out there for every single role, and employers truly love to see what unique aspects you’re able to bring. When you’re trying to make an impactful impression during an interview and don’t just blend in with everyone else, here’s how you can stay a step ahead:
Understand the Company’s Mission
Don’t just memorize the company’s About Us page. Understand the core values, the work environment, and the type of community service projects the organization is involved in. Check out their social pages. Do you have experience or volunteer work in any of those areas? And what could you bring that adds value to that mission?
Be someone that others want to be around
Hiring someone that is team focused and a pleasure to be around is huge! Sometimes it depends on the specific role, but most employers are looking for someone that is an all-around great person vs someone having every single skill checked but may be hard to get along with!
Leave something tangible behind
This could be a printed sample of your work, a small object that defines one of your personal core values, or even baked goods for the whole office!
Don’t be afraid to ask meaningful questions
When you come prepared with specific questions in mind, it shows that you are really serious about the job opening and that you are genuinely trying to find out if this would be a good fit. You can ask things like, “what training opportunities would I have here” and “is my position a brand new role?”
Present a plan for the future
It’s important to know where the company is heading in the next 5 years, but it’s also great for you to take initiative and show you are a go-getter. Try making a proactive plan for where you’d like to see your skill set flourish over the next 3-6 months and then after one year.
Follow up and show your appreciation
As your interview is winding down, be sure to tell them thank you for the chance to speak with them. Send a follow up email (or handwritten card) 24 hours later outlining all the takeaways from your interview.