But, of course, the interview isn’t enough. Now, you must stand out — and you have just one chance to impress. So to help you stand out during your next job interview, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
What is one creative way that job seekers can set themselves apart in an interview with your company?
Be sure to read through this great advice carefully. Then, be ready to put these tips to good use during your next job interview.
1. Ask Insightful Questions to Start a Discussion
The best interviews move away from a simple one-way Q&A and become discussions. To do that, ask insightful questions that show you understand the company and can converse intelligently about issues important to the interviewer. Candidates that ask challenging questions that extend beyond surface-level stuff are, therefore, immediately more memorable.
2. Propose a Solution to a Problem
Find out what the company you’re interviewing with finds challenging. What problem are they trying to fix? Then, providing a solution to a problem will make you stand out from the other recruits and solidify your value to a company. Interviewers are looking for people who can help the company solve problems and move forward, so come prepared with an answer.
3. Connect With the Company’s Mission
Employers want to see someone who is in it for more than a paycheck. Don’t be afraid to connect with a company’s mission and vision, and show why you’re excited to be a part of it. Most companies are flooded with candidates who have the same skill sets and experience, so showing a sincere interest in a firm’s work will put you on the top of the pile of resumes.
4. Bring in a Sample Plan
Bring in a plan with ideas representative of the area of your company they are applying for. If it’s marketing, for instance, bring in a mock campaign to illustrate how you think or approach projects. Of course, base your campaign on the research you have done about the company. This can also tell you more about how they think and show them what makes you stand out.
5. Know Your Interviewers
When you meet someone socially, you’ll have a better conversation when a common acquaintance provides an introduction. The same is true for a job interview. If you know a bit about the interviewer, you’ll have a better conversation. That means doing background research on your interviewer – their work focus, accomplishments and possibly even their hobbies.
6. Give a 90-Second Summary
In less than 90 seconds, summarize your experience by telling the interviewer what you can do for the company. Do that — and you’ve set yourself apart from the pack. Why? Because most people aren’t so concise. Given the opportunity, they’ll ramble on and on. I once interviewed an employee who told her story well. I decided to hire her based on that first minute and a half.
7. Bring Something Tangible to the Interview
Bringing something physical (besides a resume) to the interview always leaves an impression. I had an applicant bring in binders she put together that highlighted why she was a fit for the position. I have also received small gifts as a thank you from the candidate for the time and opportunity. Even if I may not have hired them all, I still remember each of those applicants.
8. Know Where You Fit into What the Company Does
I’m always impressed when a potential hire knows enough about our company to be able to show exactly how they fit in it. This shows me they have done their homework, and understand the day-to-day challenges enough that their duties won’t be a problem or a surprise. Walk in with an idea of how you can help achieve our mission. Then you’re sure to impress.
9. Include Hard Numbers That Demonstrate Past Achievements
Show us the numbers or end result of a project that you were able to accomplish at your current or previous employer. Most often this is done via an online portfolio or a comprehensive report showing how much revenue or how many new clients you were able to help bring in during their tenure, for example. Hard numbers are better than vague success statements.
10. Be Passionate About Job-Related Interests
Passionately talking about hobbies or interests related to the field or job you’re interviewing for shows that you perceive what you’ll be doing as more than just a job. Employees who understand how their job fits into the bigger picture are more likely to work harder and better than those who just see the job as a means to an end.
11. Be Honest and Candid
Our biggest requirement is honesty. We want our employees to be open and upfront, communicating failures just as much as successes. We truly respect and appreciate the individual that doesn’t create a facade or put on a show for management. In the interview process, being candid and being yourself is the fastest way to land the job.
12. Get Visual
Attention spans today are minimal, especially in interviews. The more visual you can get with your resume and cover letter, the better chance you have holding my attention. Think bold colors and typography, which also shows off your creativity.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.