When you really think about it, job interviews are essentially a hyper reductive advertisement of, well, you. So it's crucial that you knock that brief window of opportunity out of the park. It's crucial that you make a memorable first impression at your job interview. Here's how you can stand out from the crowd face-to-face with recruiters, and bring life to those shiny accomplishments written down on paper.
Look sharp, feel sharp.
Dress well (obviously). This one goes without saying, but just in case you're in the 0.5% of people who haven't been told in their life: shower, comb that hair, groom well, and dress the part. If heads start to turn in the waiting room, know that you're either incredibly attractive... or you've done too much. Probably the latter (sorry, bud).
Preparation is key!
Do your due diligence. Research, research, research. Be prepared for any and all questions beyond the usual (though often poorly handled) "Why do you want to work with us?", "What are your strengths/weaknesses?", and so forth. Read up on the company you're applying for, know all the relevant public information you can, and seamlessly integrate whatever you can gauge about the company culture into this particular side of yourself being showcasing. Which leads us to our next point.
Don't pull punches...
No one likes a kiss ass. I recently spoke to someone who applied for a software position at a certain telecommunications company (telecommunications with a capital T). And she did not shy away from speaking about mishandling of past contracts which lead to very public prohibitions from regulatory bodies. Prohibitions which have only recently been lifted. Not only that, but detailing where and to what extent the company fumbled certain projects. In that moment, she demonstrated:
- a critical and discerning eye for operations
- that she intended to work for the greater benefit of the company without blindly following incompetence
- as well as knowledge beyond the technical
Needless to say, she got that coveted call back.
... but don't be smug about it.
It's also important to know when to rein it in. There was a point where this certain person noticed the interviewer looked uncomfortable with the aforementioned professional roasting and pulled it back in. No one likes a kiss ass, but no one likes a blatant prick either. Remember, you still don't have the job (yet).
Avoid asking questions for the sake of asking a question - be calculated.
Establish an economy of words and expressed thoughts. If your interviewer has already covered a point about your prospective employment, only refer back to it during question time if you are genuinely interested in delving further. Don't go on and on for the sake of it until the very syllables coming out of your mouth becomes meaningless. You'll come across as though you're an inadequate listener, long-winded, haven't been paying attention, or even worse, dull. And on the other side of the spectrum, don't be so withdrawn either. Three out of the four very same conclusions may be drawn from someone who seems aloof and disconnected. Strike a delicate balance.
And now you're ready to get on that full-time, salary package, annual leave inclusive, "Carol from accounting is kind of annoying" hustle.