It’s a jungle out there. Companies are hiring and the job market is competitive.
As a candidate, it’s important that you know how to stand out from the crowd if you want to land the job in your next interview. This is especially important for those of you fresh out of college who are looking for the perfect entry level position that will launch your career. With so many applicants vying for the same roles, what can you do to make yourself stand out? Hint: fudging your resume isn’t the answer...
If you got the interview, your resume hit the minimum skill requirements (at least). Now it’s up to you to stand out from the crowd as a person - someone others want to be around. Here are a few of our suggestions on how to nail that impression:
Have good manners
Since Day 1, your parents have been bugging you to use your manners. You would be amazed at how little of that education sticks with people in modern day society. Having good manners is a simple way to stand out from the crowd in 2017 (especially during a lunch or dinner interview).
Having good manners is more than just saying please and thank you: It’s all about being courteous to everyone you interact with - even if they’re not the one interviewing you, being respectful, and genuinely focusing on the moment at hand. If you are constantly thinking about the next step in the interview, you may appear distracted and disinterested. It’s a conversation - enjoy it!
It is also important that you have a confident handshake - no dead fish, please!
Dress for success
It only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. This means the perception of you has been solidified before you have a chance to introduce yourself. What goes into that first impression? It’s largely based on how you present yourself - with body language and attire.
As good as you look in the TB12 throwback jersey, it’s not going to make you stand out in a good way. Dressing up for an interview shows respect and that you’re serious about the opportunity. Plus, it shows the employer that you are willing to put in the effort to present yourself well, which bodes well for how you will represent the company in public. That starts from the moment that you walk in the door.
Now, different companies have different cultures and dress codes. If you are able to get the inside scoop from a contact or recruiter who knows the company, go for it! It will help you feel more comfortable and prepared. If you’re unsure what’s appropriate, here’s what we suggest as defaults:
Wear a suit. It is the best way to show them that you mean business and that you are serious about working there. If you feel too formal, you can ditch the tie and go with a patterned shirt. If it’s an old-school company, you can stick with a classic white button down and show a little personality with your tie. If you don’t own a suit, don’t worry; you can rent a suit from us whenever you need it.
Women have more options which can make things more complicated, but also makes it easier to find an outfit that’s comfortable and professional. My personal go-to is a dress and blazer. Other options include skirt, blouse, and blazer or pants, blouse, and blazer. If you fear the company is more casual, consider swapping the blazer for a cardigan. And ladies - if you’re not comfortable walking in heels, stick with flats or wedges!
Check back here in September to see our first line of women’s attire for rent. Then you won’t have to worry about what to wear for your interview - we’ll worry about that for you! The key is that all garments are well-kept, clean, and fit you appropriately. Same goes for you, gentlemen.
Do you have an interview coming up? Check back on our site at the end of June to download our free e-book on what to wear based on industry. We’re in the process of interviewing hiring managers across roles and industries to provide you with informed suggestions of how to dress for success depending on your situation.
Check your body language
Stand straight and smile. Whether you are 6’4” or 4’6”, you want to make sure that you stand as tall as you can. Good posture relays confidence as does smiling. Slouching (similar to crossing your arms over your chest) is thought of as a defensive posture and it may give the impression that you are not confident, not interested, or uncomfortable.
Try these techniques to get yourself in the zone. In order for your presence to help you stand out from the crowd it’s important that you embody the qualities that you want to project in your first impression.
Remember that an interview should be an exchange. You shouldn’t feel like you’re being interrogated, nor should you bombard the interviewer with information and stories about yourself. No one wants to be in a one-way conversation.
Yes, you are there to showcase that you’re right for the job, but you’d be surprised how little explanation that requires. The ability to communicate effectively and listen are critical skills for any role. Show off these skills by listening attentively during the interview, providing thoughtful and concise responses, and asking relevant questions.