How to make yourself stand out when interviewing for a job

Interviewing for a job can be stressful. This is especially true if you’ve been at your company for an extended period and your interviewing skills are rusty. With the economic upheaval that has recently occurred due to the COVID-19 crisis, a lot of companies have been forced to conduct mass layoffs. Professionals across all industries are having to regroup on what their future looks like. This makes for a crowded job market, bringing more competition than usual. According to the Washington Post, it’s estimated that over 33 million Americans have lost their jobs since March. 


While it’s true that some of these jobs have started to come back with businesses slowly re-opening, it will be a gradual climb and the competition for available positions will be fierce. If you are facing having to re-interview for your position or interviewing for a new one, how can you stand out in a crowded job market?  


Remember persuasion strategies

 Your work experience is certainly vital, but there will be a multitude of qualified applicants on the job market. Sales and marketing professionals, business leaders and students will stand out by embracing persuasion tactics to communicate their value. An interview is similar to any other conversation with a decision-maker and candidates are simply selling themselves. Here are a few tips for positioning yourself to be the most hirable candidate:


Do your homework – Would you go into a sales presentation without first learning about the company and their needs? No! You should also do research on your decision-maker (interviewer) and gather information to help you connect with them. The same is true for your interview. Make sure you do your research and learn about the company, their pain points and any other important information. Just as with other interactions with customers, pay special attention to generational, communication style idiosyncrasies.  


Create engaging visuals – Start your application process by preparing a cover letter and resume tailored to the job. No two presentations should be alike. Refresh your resume, make sure it’s clean, and easy to follow, and look up current layout trends for your industry as a way to stand out. 


If you’re able to secure an interview, chances are in the current climate, it will most likely be via video. Consider creating additional visuals to support your candidacy. This could be charts to showcase sales increases, or any other supporting material that explains how you met or exceeded key performance indicators. You’ll want to be on screen connecting with the decision-maker but some visual aids may be appropriate, and more importantly, impactful. People remember 10 percent of what they learn through oral communication only, 35 percent through visual only and an astounding 65 percent of what they learn is through a combination of oral and visual communication. Being able to share your screen and provide some visual backing might help you get the offer. 


Practice your performance – Jump online and check out reviews on Glassdoor to see if anyone has shared interview questions for the company you’re looking to join. Then, break out the video app and practice! Just as sports teams record and review their performance, so should you. Ask an associate to help you interview remotely and sharpen your answers. Review the recording and then practice the interview again. Does it look like you’re making eye contact? Are you inserting too many “ums” or “uhs” into your responses? Is your energy level coming through? Assess your performance and then practice again. The more prepared you are the better.


Stand out with persuasion

 With the competition at an incredible level, it will be crucial to make a good first impression. That starts with the visual representation of your skills in your resume and cover letter. The ability to portray knowledge, and confidence, over a video interview will position you as the most hirable candidate, especially if you can also connect with the decision-maker on a more personal level. Remember that an interview, at its core, is a sales presentation. You just happen to be selling your skillset, and yourself, as a member of the team. By utilizing persuasion tactics, as you would with any other presentation, you can set yourself apart and give yourself an edge in securing your new role.  


 Juliet Huck is author of “The Equation of Persuasion,” and founder of the Academy of Persuasion e-learning series, Huck has blazed a trail in the uncharted territory of Persuasive Communications for 25 years. She has been retained by some of the nation’s most prestigious organizations, corporations and law firms and has assisted in moving billion-dollar projects forward, securing billions of dollars in decisions through her proven process. From the Enron Litigation to a billion-dollar Exxon project, she has been involved in the strategic development and visual communications for some of the corporate world’s largest projects to date, as well as the nation’s top high profile and high-dollar exposure litigation.

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