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Will you hire me? How to stand out from the applicant crowd
When interviewing for your desired job, how can you stand out from a crowd of qualified applicants? Knowing the tips that will set you apart from the crowd will give you an edge on the competition. - photo by Taylor Cotterell
Congratulations! You have been selected for a job interview. How can you stand out from a crowd of qualified applicants? You could sing your way through the interview or arrive late wearing your favorite purple crushed velvet suit. Both strategies would certainly get you noticed, but when it seems all of the candidates possess similar abilities and backgrounds, here are some ways to stand above the crowd and secure that desired job.

Do your homework.

The most effective candidates are those who approach the interview from the companys perspective. Generally, a company seeks to hire to make the company more profitable or more productive. This knowledge gives you the opportunity to present yourself as someone prepared to offer solutions, contribute to the process, and solve problems.

Nail the interview.

In the digital age, the accessibility to company content, blogs, and fiscal performance is unprecedented. Take the time to research the company and organizational structure so that you gain a better understanding of the work environment and the reason this position may be open. Then, ask about it. What is not getting done? How is that impacting the team? Is the need for this position due to expansion or to strengthen an existing operation?

Prove you are the best fit for the job.

Based on the responses that explain the need for the position to be filled, use examples of how you have solved or contributed to similar experiences in the past. If the position was left vacant, illustrate how you have the skills necessary to revamp an existing process and possess the leadership capability to create a cohesive, efficient, and productive environment.

Be specific in the qualities you bring to the job. This shows you are familiar with the company and what they do and enables the interviewer to better visualize you in this position. However, dont pretend to have more experience than you can prove. Accessibility to information is a two-way street, and most companies will follow up on a candidates background before an offer is made. Instead, turn that lack of experience into an asset. If the interviewer inquires about an area where you lack experience, admit that you dont know much about that specific area, but take it as an opportunity to share a similar experience where you didnt know something yet got up to speed and proficient on a task, technology, or practice quickly.

Seal the deal.

Yes, experience and ability are essential, but ultimately people want to work with people they would feel comfortable going to lunch with. While sharing your knowledge and experience, remember to share your likeability as well. Be personable, smile, and ask questions of the interviewer. You may want to ask him about his own experience with the company. People enjoy talking about themselves and feel comfortable around those who show a genuine interest. Your goal at the end of the interview is to have the person you are interviewing say to themselves, Hey, I need to hire this person. She would make my life so much easier and make us successful.

Follow Up.

Amid the mass of applicants, you want to be sure you sustain a lasting impression long after the interview. The best way is through a thank-you note.

Thank your interviewer within 24 hours of finishing, advises business writer Jon Youshaei in his article, 12 Surprising Job Interview Tips. It not only shows your gratitude, but it also combats recency bias if you interviewed early. Not to mention, it opens the door for dialogue even if you dont get the job. Sometimes, recruiters reach back out on the same email thread months later, mentioning new job opportunities.

Stiff competition for the more desired jobs is a daunting reality, but that doesnt mean you cant position yourself to lead the pack. By doing your homework and becoming familiar with the prospective company, engaging in an interview armed with a strong background and knowledge of the companys needs, presenting a professional yet personable image, and following up with some appreciation for the opportunity, you are well on your way to securing not just a job but the next step to a promising career.
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