You may be an experienced professional or a fresher, but you’ll still need to make a mark within no time in an interview. The interview process treats everyone at par – and it’s where you need to stand out once you are shortlisted. A simple checklist can go a long way in helping you not only prep for an interview but master the art of standing out in one! How you make yourself stand out as an individual with unique qualities when compared to the rest of the applicants is key:
#1 – Pre-interview prep
There are a few things which you need to do in order to be prepared for the interview day. For example
- Gather up all required documents.
- Do a detailed SWOT analysis on yourself, and exploit it.
- Prepare for structured questions such as ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, ‘What can you offer to our company?’, ‘Why we should hire you?’.
- Prepare yourself to ace the ‘Any questions?’ session. Ask the right questions – they’ll help you with your decision, and offer valuable insights.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Nurture your mind and body. A composed self can do miracles.
- Prepare answers, but remember that an interview is a conversation, not an exam.
- Make sure that you have a clear understanding about the job description. If you happen to have questions after your research, you can set those aside for the ‘Any questions for us?’ part of the interview.
#2 – Attire
Your interview begins the moment you enter the room. Your attire and attitude impact the interviewer’s first impression about you. A well-groomed look with a subtle and sweet smell can lighten up the interviewer’s mood in no time. Avoid going overboard with the cologne.
Try to dress appropriately for the organization environment. Some organizations prefer a professional attire, while few others – like start-ups prefer casual dressing. A quick look at the organization’s culture helps you decide with this part. However, it is better to lean towards a more professional look even if the office culture is casual.
#3 – Win them over with the right attitude
Assessing the technical skills of a candidate is the easy part for an interviewer. What matters the most is having the right attitude for the role. You may be lacking the ideal attitude the interviewer is craving for, but a positive outlook could help cross the threshold in convincing the recruiter that you are the right person for the job.
Accept the past mistakes or employment gaps with valid reason if any, stated in the resume.
Here are few things to keep in mind to maintain the right attitude for an interview.
- A firm handshake and a warm smile on the face can lighten up the panel as soon as you enter the room.
- Carry a positive attitude during the entire interview. There may be questions or unexpected challenges but never get carried away because of them. Try to stay focused on the objective. Respond positively and don’t let tough questions affect the rest of the interview.
- Focus on your posture as it affects your body language.
- Do not be over-friendly, the interviewer wants to see the real you and a fake attitude can frustrate the employer.
- Exhibit enthusiasm while you interact with them. Let them know you are genuinely interested in the job you want to work for.
#4 – Getting to know your panel
Before you step into the room, try to know your interviewers ahead of time. If possible, try to go through their profiles on LinkedIn or their company website. Learning about them helps you to be prepared to face them.
While interacting with the panel, try to involve them with your answers. Maintain eye contact and acknowledge the points they mention or ask you about. A panel interview can seem intimidating and stressful but engaging every member of the panel in the conversation is really important.
#5 – Basic etiquette
By the time you set foot inside the interview zone, make sure you have basic corporate etiquettes imbibed into your system.
- When interviewer offers coffee, don’t turn down that offer. It means he/she wants to know more about you.
- Make sure to smile, a pleasant one. There’s nothing like an awkward grin that makes your interviewer flinch.
- Don’t wear strong body fragrance. You don’t want to shoo away your interviewer, do you?
- Along with the above, use your SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) analysis to convince them that your work ethic and strengths match the company’s values are at the same pace.
Remember, the interviewer or the panel wants to hire the right candidate for the job. The employer is aware – skills can be taught, but not attitude. He/She is looking for the right person who fits into their work culture and has a can-do attitude towards the job role.
Now get out there and ace all those interviews! Good luck!