Career Advice, Interviews

11 Unusual Ways to Stand Out in a Job Interview

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Repeat this quote from Coco Chanel the next time you’re on your way to a job interview. Sure, conventionality is safe and familiar, but is it memorable? Not always. But here’s a secret: they’re not mutually exclusive. You can be a traditionally professional candidate while still infusing extraordinary aspects to your interview. Be bold with your approach, and aim to not only be the most memorable candidate but the best one too. Here’s how!

Be especially kind and respectful to everyone you interact with during the interview process.

Whether this is the administrative assistant helping you schedule the interview or the receptionist who greets you at the office, treat everyone you come into contact with as if they’re going to be the ones interviewing you. Every impression in an interview process matters.

[Related: Employers, learn how to design your interviews to bring out what’s unique about your candidates.]

Wear a killer outfit.

Yes, of course, you need to heed industry dress code standards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your personality shine through. Use your outfit as a visual cue to show that you’re not like the rest of ‘em. Consider a bold color or a special accessory that has a fun story behind it which will give your conversation fodder.

[Related: What Job Interview Questions Will You Be Asked?]

Arrive early enough to compose yourself before your interview starts.

Cool, calm, and collected is how you want to look when your interviewer comes to greet you. It takes everyone a moment to get relaxed after a commute, and when you add nerves and a new location on top of that, you’ll probably feel a little extra flustered. Take this into account so you can make sure you get to your interview with enough time to get clear-headed and confident.

Ace the “Tell me about yourself” question.

This will be one of the first questions you receive, and it’s a stellar opportunity to set the bar really high. Many people struggle with this expansive question, but if you can craft a narrative that speaks to your strengths, experiences, and interest in the job, you will be five steps ahead of the competition.

[Related: 5 Tips To Answer The Dreaded “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question]

Research your interviewers.

Know everything you can about your interviewers. Read everything you can about them on the company website and social media. Try to get a sense of what’s important to them and see if you find any commonalities or mutual interests.

Connect on a commonality, briefly.

Connecting on something in common is a great way for your interviewer to remember who you are. If you find a shared interest in documentary films, or maybe a love for a preferred app, take the time to make this connection clear. Just be aware of when it’s time to move on.

[Related: Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2016]

Answer questions with examples.

Instead of saying how you’d bring improvements and ideas to the team and company, show how you’d do it. Sketch out an idea of how you’d approach solving a problem. It’s not only an unexpected way to display your skills, but it shows your ability to think on the spot. People remember stories better than facts, and using examples is one of the best way to craft a story that will resonate with people.

Incorporate the company’s values in your answers.

Show you understand the company values (which you researched on Glassdoor, of course) by speaking directly to how you’d approach a particular problems or situations through the lens of those particular values. Does the company value transparency? Tell them how you’d prioritize a transparent approach.  

Ask unexpected questions.

A huge component to a successful interview lies in the question you chose to ask your interviewer. Think of some questions that extend beyond the superficial aspects of the job or company. Ask questions that show you’ve done extensive research on the company. Ask about specific projects or goals.

[Related: 8 Questions You Should Absolutely Ask An Interviewer]

Bring your dog to a dog-friendly office.

What better way to show you’d be a good culture fit than by showing you’re comfortable with the office culture? If there’s a particular feature of a company that’s unique or different (like a dog-friendly office), why not embrace that? Be sure to ask permission first.

Send a thoughtful, handwritten thank you note post interview.

A thank you note is definitely not unusual, but a handwritten one is becoming seemingly less frequent. But you know what? There’s nothing quite like receiving a note penned on good old fashioned cardstock. You’ll most likely be one of the few who do so, and that will be cause for remembrance.

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