I am one of a number of people going for an interview for a job that I would really like. What can I do to make myself stand out from the other applicants?
First and foremost, well done on being called for interview! Your application has done the trick and you match the requirements of the role on paper, which is a great start.
Now, before you start preparing your resignation letter, I would advise that you review the following guidelines:
Do your homework and lots of it.
Your research should cover the job, company, industry and competitors. While you may not be asked about all the above in the interview, by being fully prepared you will be more relaxed going to the interview and therefore perform better on the day. LinkedIn can be a very effective tool researching tool. If you are not a member, it may be time to join. It is a very useful online tool to get information on companies, key stakeholders and relevant industry groups.
Understand the organisation’s culture.
According to Wikipedia, organisational culture is the collective behaviour of humans who are part of an organisation and the meanings that the people attach to their actions. Organisational culture affects the way people and groups interact with each other, with clients and with stakeholders.
The easiest way of understanding an organisation’s culture is to talk to someone who has worked in the company or who has been a supplier or buyer. This person may be a friend of a friend, a neighbour or a relation. If you have applied through a recruitment agency, they should be able to advise you.
By having an understanding of their culture you will understand what makes the interviewers tick and what is likely to make the best possible impression. Companies hire on the basis of knowledge, skills and attributes, so the interview is designed to explore your personal attributes, what makes you tick and whether you will be a genuine fit for the business both in the short and long term.
Know the job spec and why you suit it.
Make sure you go through the job description and come up with strong examples to demonstrate your ability to do each portion of the job. By understanding the culture of the company, you will also be able explain the way in which you go about doing the job. How you do your job is often as important as what you do.
Dress to impress and smile.
This may seem obvious, but make sure you dress to impress. Get a good night’s sleep the night before, put on your best suit and your best smile and show a bit of energy. You would be amazed at the number of people I meet who have all of the skills and knowledge but lack enthusiasm and an ability to inspire.
Ask informed questions.
Make sure that you are prepared in advance with a couple of sensible questions. If the interviewers have not given you a timeframe, it does not hurt to ask the question.
Thank them for their time.
I would finish by outlining why you really want the role and also by saying thank you for the opportunity of the interview and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Tanya Thomas is a recruitment manager with Morgan McKinley. She is based in offices in Kilkenny and Waterford. Readers can submit questions to her at JobDoctor@morganmckinley.ie.