If you were interviewing for a job that only had one opening and twenty other people were also interviewing would you be worried about getting it? Do you think those are bad odds? I have done my fair share of interviewing and have also interviewed others to offer them an opening and I can say this, whether or not those are good odds has more to do with how well you stand out in a positive way. The reality is that in a group of twenty people the odds are really more like 1 in 4. This is because that out of a group of twenty you will probably only have 4 people who will wow you. All you have to do is be one of those four and be memorable.
What can you do to stand out?
- Pause – often times people fear the empty silence so much that they feel they have to just talk. Taking the time to think and give a good answer will help make you seem more confident and professional. Say things like, ‘that’s a good question, let me think about that for a moment.’ Then after a long pause provide your response.
- Ask the interviewer about himself– Ask them what do you like about working here? Or, what does a good day look like for you in your role? This allows you to get the interviewer to talk about himself in a positive light while providing you an inside glimpse of the company. This is very powerful because most peoples favorite topic is themselves and if you can listen and engage the other person to talk, they will see you as a person who is easy to talk to and connect with.
- Get an image of greatness – Ideally, before the interview, connect with someone at the company and ask them what does great look like for the role you are interviewing for. This gives you a more solid image to aim for and will help guide your answers during the interview. This is another powerful strategy because you will use this at the end of the interview to mention how you bring these particular skills that are being sought after.
- Ask what problem they want to solve for – This question can take many forms such as; what skills are needed in the organization, what to they keep having to solve for, what one solution would make their life easier/more productive/more profitable? This is powerful because problem solving is usually the number one needed skill in most organizations. If you can show that you are concerned about what the problem is and are a self driven problem solver, you will put yourself above the competition.
At the end of the interview, take the things you learned above and create a wrap up statement designed to make you memorable. Tell them how you fit into those things that are needed then ask for the job and thank them. When you do this, be spontaneous and not in away that feels rehearsed. If you do this, you will come across in a way that is very genuine which people love to connect with. Remember very few people take the time to do this. Just by taking the time to connect in a way that is meaningful to the interviewer, you will be setting yourself apart from the competition in a good way.