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    Life Events | 3 min read

    Job Interview Tips: 4 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd

    So, you got the interview… yay! But now, those nervous jitters are starting to kick in as you imagine all the attention on you and everything that could possibly go wrong.

    Those thoughts in the back of your mind keep making their way to the front, reminding you that you’re not alone in this, either; you’re competing against an assumedly large number of other applicants. So, what should you do to leave a lasting impression and rise above the rest?

    Here are four tips for sailing through the interview process:

    1. Be Punctual

    There is rarely a good reason for being late to an interview. With life being so unpredictable these days, you must be proactive and just prepare for the worst.

    • To avoid any day-of mishaps, do a dry run before the day of your interview, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.
    • Always give yourself a 15–30-minute window to account for unforeseen events.
    • While you cannot always control what happens on the roads, you can control what happens in your car. Case in point: do not drink coffee or anything that can spill or stain your outfit.
    • If you’ve done everything you possibly can but still aren't able to make it there on time, call ahead to reschedule. Just remember, some hiring managers will give you another opportunity; others will not.

    If your interview is being conducted virtually:

    • Test your audio and camera on your device beforehand.
    • Join your “online meeting room” early.
    • Make sure you have a trustworthy connection to the internet.
    • Be aware of what your background looks like. If you do not have an office space at home, set yourself up in front of a plain wall, clean living area, etc.
    • Avoid distracting background noises.

    2. Make an Impression

    First impressions are everything to the hiring manager, to the assistant who leads you to their office, to the receptionist. Put your best foot forward with everyone you meet.

    • Be sure your phone is on silent and you’re not scrolling through any of your social media sites.
    • Make casual conversation, but don’t be overly talkative. It’s okay to ask questions about how long they have been employed at the company and if they enjoy it. It’s not okay to ask them what they did over the weekend.
    • Be courteous with your actions. The last thing you want to do is smack a piece of gum while the hiring manager comes out to greet you.
    • Dress appropriately for the position you’re interviewing for.
    • It’s ok to smile.

    3. Stay Positive and Exude Confidence with Preparedness

    It’s imperative to stay positive during an interview, particularly when asked tough questions about previous "difficult" situations. Sometimes interviewers ask these questions to judge your character. If you speak ill of previous situations or about previous co-workers, chances are you may repeat the trend in their company—not the smartest move here.

    By now, you should have had plenty of time to research the company and what the job entails. Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can give you some insight on the company and its corporate philosophy, and reference sites such as Glassdoor can provide access to current and former employees who anonymously dish on the pros and cons of their companies and bosses.

    Try these additional tips for positivity and preparedness:

    • Be sure not only to bring additional copies of your resume, but to also know your resume.
    • If asked questions regarding your previous work experience, don't be bashful; this is your time to shine. Talk about specific situations and note significant accomplishments when your involvement made a difference in a situation or project.
    • Rehearse general statements beforehand so you can express yourself without stumbling on your words. Practice answering commonly asked questions such as, “tell me about yourself.”

    4. Ask Questions

    If you’re truly interested in the job, you must have questions—ask them! If you don’t ask any questions, it could be perceived as lack of interest in the job and the company. Consider asking questions such as:

    • What have past employees done to succeed in the position?
    • What are some challenges that come with this position?
    • What is the path for advancement within the company?

    Leave questions regarding salary and sick/holiday pay until after you’ve received the offer letter.

    Genuinely use this opportunity to make yourself shine. No two situations are ever the same for everyone, so it’s best to use your own judgment if you’re ever in doubt. Have a goal in mind for your interview beyond landing the job; focus on what interests the interviewer and remember to highlight your most important accomplishments. Good luck!

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    Erica Arzu

    Erica has worked for SWBC for 12 years in recruiting and employee relations. Erica enjoys helping people in all capacities, from creating and maintaining a positive working environment to helping create career opportunities.

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