Stand Out and Don’t Suck: 4 Ways to Drastically Improve Your Job Interview Skills

February 16, 2015

Ah yes, interview tips. While they’re certainly a dime a dozen, we thought we’d provide our take on what can set you apart during a job interview by looking at it from a new perspective: as a presentation. Just because you don’t have a deck of PowerPoint slides and a stage doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity to be maximized all the same.

With that in mind, here’s four ways to improve your job interview skills and set yourself apart in your next interview:

1. Tell Them What You Believe

When preparing for a job interview, too often people focus on leading with their credentials and experience. They become a walking, talking version of their resume. Not only is this boring, but it’s also unnecessary. If you’ve landed an interview, it’s clear your experience has already gotten their attention.

Rather than lead with what a potential employer already knows about you, use an interview as an opportunity to tell them what you believe.

For example: let’s say you’re a content writer looking for work.

If you’re asked to explain a little about yourself and what you’re looking for in your next job, don’t lead with, “I have a Bachelor’s Degree from this University and when working on previous projects I developed exceptional content…”

You’ve already bored them to sleep.

While your credentials are obviously important, it’s not what will help you make the quick personal connection you need. Instead, say something like, “I believe in the power of written word.” This shows that you have conviction behind your ambition. It allows you to fit in more specific talking points within the overall framework of what you believe.

[bctt tweet=”Remember, your interviewer is hiring a person, not a resume. #InterviewSkills”]

Remember, your interviewer is hiring a person, not a resume. You are not defined solely by on-paper credentials. Rather, you’re defined by how those credentials have shaped you overall as both a professional and as a person.

Check out Orange – Lesson 1: Communicating Beliefs in Business

2. Bring in Examples From Your Personal Life

Any opportunity you have to incorporate stories from your personal life should be maximized. We often think of job interviews as an exploration of strictly professional experience and qualifications – but is that the only place we learn about ourselves?

Hell. No.

So much of who you are and what you aspire to be is driven by passions outside of the workplace.

Drawing on personal experiences like starting a family, creative hobbies and passions, or projects you aspire to start one day can speak volumes to who you are and what makes you tick.

There are lessons to be taken from all of these types of personal experiences that can go a long way to demonstrating how well rounded and passionate you are about what you get involved in.

3. Set Yourself Apart – Be Subtle but Memorable

Give your potential employer a reason to remember you. Differentiate yourself from the pile of resumes you’re competing against so that when they pick yours up at decision time they say, “Oh he was the one with the yellow checkered tie!” rather than, “Which one was he again?”

Subtle fashion accessories like a lapel pin can easily generate conversation and personal connection.

A flag representing your heritage can provide an opportunity to talk about where you come from and what your values are. It can also be a great chance to establish personal rapport with your interviewer. Do you wear thick black glasses? Great. Keep ‘em on. Is that big, bright ring your sister gave your for your birthday your favorite fashion accessory? Wear it.

This is a true extension of bringing examples from your personal life into the interview. It opens the door for conversations that have a little more depth than simply reviewing the logistics of your previous job description.

Check out Orange – Lesson 2: Standing Out With Contrast

4. Be Bold in Your Follow Up

Everyone knows it’s important to follow up with your interviewer after the interview is over.

However, what many people don’t realize is that the follow up is a golden opportunity to break from the pack and demand your potential employer’s attention.

Why send a bland “thank you for your time” email when a delivered pair of shoes with the message, “Just trying to get a foot in the door!” can say so much more about you and your desire for the job?

[bctt tweet=”Leave a lasting impression on your interviewer by demonstrating you aren’t like everyone else. #InterviewSkills”]

Whether it’s a leave behind that you bring with you to the interview itself or a creative follow up piece sent afterwards, go the extra mile. Leave a lasting impression on your interviewer by demonstrating you aren’t like everyone else.


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