10 Ways Qualified Candidates Rise to the Top During an Interview

qualified candidatesLet’s face it. If you were hired for a job based on your resume alone, there would be no need to interview. But no one is hired solely as a result of their work experience and/or accomplishments. So interviews are a necessary evil. The face-to-face meeting does, however, offer an opportunity to set yourself apart from equally qualified candidates.

So, how do you leverage the interview to rise above the rest? It all comes down to communication. A recent study declared verbal communication the top skill employers value in recent college grads.

With that in mind, here are 10 ways qualified candidates rise to the top during a job interview.

Make Your Excitement Obvious

Companies want to hire people who are eager to work for them, so express enthusiasm while you’re answering interview questions. Oddly enough, qualified candidates don’t always realize that they aren’t fully expressing their interest. More often than we want to admit, recruiters get the following feedback from clients:

“I like this candidate but s/he didn’t really seem excited about the position.”

Ouch, that stings and is definitely hard to recover from. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Wouldn’t you pick the candidate who showed more interest and excitement about the opportunity, assuming all the skills were there?

Don’t Make the Interviewer Dig for Answers

Qualified candidates recognize what the interviewer is trying to uncover based on the line of questioning and respond accordingly. This means they don’t just say, “oh I have great organizational skills.”

They actually offer unprompted examples of how they organize their priorities. They show their organizational skills positively impacted the outcome of a certain project.

Leave the Generic Responses at Home

Qualified candidates usually have a unique point of view and thoughtful answers to questions asked. Don’t be afraid to gather your thoughts in front of the interviewer before responding to a question. Rather than rushing to give the generic answer the interviewer has heard a hundred times, take your time.

Convey Flexibility

It’s wonderful to be committed to a five-year plan or to have clear, professional goal in mind. But you don’t want to come across as rigid. This is especially true since your specific, and perhaps stringent, goals may limit your opportunities.

Command the Conversation Regarding Your Previous Experience

When responding to questions, you are either in control of the answer, or the answer is like a runaway train. Qualified candidates with excellent communication skills talk about their past experience in precise terms with specificity. Prior to an interview, brush up on the details of your work history and the progression of your career. Then you can talk about any aspect with ease, and use it to your advantage when needed.

Quantify Your Value

If you have numbers to back up your experience, use them. It may dollars saved or earned for a company. Or perhaps time-saving efficiencies you introduced. Whatever your quantifiable successes, be sure to articulate them during the interview process.

Show that You Can Take Initiative

Effectively communicate that you’re they type of employee who takes initiative. Even at the entry-level, companies hire individuals who will evolve into leaders. Convey this during the interview by providing an example of a project where you self-started or went above and beyond.

Talk About Being Growth-Oriented

Qualified candidates are able to express a desire to grow within a position. Both for their own betterment and to add to their own skill set. But not necessarily to climb the ranks. So talk about mutually-beneficial growth, but for all the right movies.

Be Genuine in Your Delivery

An interview can put people on edge and make them tense. Although easier said than done, be yourself. It’s critical that you come across as genuine and authentic in order to build rapport with the interviewer. And when you do this well? The interviewer will know what it would be like to have you on his/her team.

Keep the Conversation Fluid

Make the interview enjoyable for the interviewer! Ask questions that engage the interviewer and facilitate back and forth dialogue.

The best way for qualified candidates at every level, in every industry, to gain an edge over their competition? Being well-spoken.

Do that… and be one of the qualified candidates to rise to the top during your next job interview.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Campus to Career!


Campus to Career



This entry was posted in Job Interviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.