Everyone has a unique skill set or level of experience, but not everyone knows how to stand out in an interview by showcasing those qualities. This is when it’s time to convince an employer of your value, to show why you are “great” versus “good.” Job seekers may think they did ok, that is, they didn't mess up or make mistakes. Maybe you did well, but you weren't great.
You can be chosen in the field of “good” job candidates. But if there is a candidate who embodies “great,” you can be overlooked and passed by.
If we assume good is what maintains employment and great is why employers hire you — and why others want you — then you need to show the difference between good and great to a potential employer.
1. Promote your work
If you’re unfamiliar with discussing what your accomplishments are in an interview, think about results and impact. Remember, there is a fine line between promoting and bragging, but self-promotion is useful when trying to stand out and make a great impression in an interview. The more you promote yourself with confidence, the more attention you can bring to your work.
2. Quantify your impact (when you can)
People generally get their job done but less often track or document their accomplishments and how each result impacts others. For many people, tracking success can change the way they feel and talk about their jobs.
Once you can see the good you’re doing, you can envision yourself doing more. Track how you are doing your job and what impact it has on your team and the organization so you're prepared to talk about it during the interview process.
3. Show your growth and improvement over time
How you compare your performance over time can show others how deeply invested you are in growing your skills and career. Staying focused on advancing your career means paying attention to how you improve your performance outcomes — and showing this in your interview is crucial.
Your winning ways become systemic rather than idealistic. Although there is always someone competing against you, your laser focus on improving your performance can help you shine above other candidates.
4. Show your depth with upper management
Promotions and referrals can stem from the relationships you create with leadership. Gain an understanding of how your work impacts the organization or the end user.
At the same time, respect the chain of command and get a firm grasp of work expectations. The “How’s it going?” conversations with your interviewer can easily turn into a deeper idea brainstorming session, even if those ideas are for another time.
5. Show that you value networking
You get more out of your team when you are offering as much value as you receive. How much more value do you think you create when you are not talking about the specific job, but more about how you can contribute to the team?
Make it clear (in a way that makes the interviewer feel great) about your role on their team. The right approach will produce an overflowing cup of value for you and them and help keep you top-of-mind as they search for that great candidate.
6. Show you’re adept at absorbing new information
People who absorb new information quickly are often great listeners. During the interview process, it helps to share what you've learned in subsequent interviews to demonstrate your enthusiasm for what the company is doing.
People in the interview process are impressed by how a candidate applies new learning to other scenarios relevant to the company, department, and team. Information gleaned from other sources such as articles, audio interviews, or reports about the company or its CEO can help impress others and show that you care.
You might find employers who want to hire mediocre employees or meet minimum requirements so they can teach those new hires their way. But most are looking at the “best fit” for the job, who they consider great, and who will make an immediate difference.
Your skill set is not the sole factor in hiring. Instead, combine your skills with proof that they drive results desired by the employer. Make it easy for employers to find you, your best work, and your contact information.
Spruce up your resume so it best showcases you and your work. The difference between great and good is often in how easy you make it for the employer to access your information and get familiar with your work.
Insights for this post were provided by Mark Anthony Dyson, the founder of the award-winning blog and podcast “The Voice of Job Seekers.” He aims to hack and re-imagine the job search process for job seekers.