Career Link: Two Ways to Really Stand Out in Your Job Interview

The internet offers many suggestions for how to prepare for an interview.  Suggestions like practicing responses to typical questions and researching the company are certainly valuable.  Here are a couple more recommendations that you don’t hear very often to help you stand out from the rest.

Determine what problems or challenges related to the position you are pursuing cause the hiring manager to lose sleep.  How can you find out what the manager may be most concerned about?  One way is through understanding the overall trends affecting the industry/that company and how they may be affecting that department.  If you are able to network with others at the company, you can ask what challenges they are facing or how they are ensuring that they will be competitive.  Even reviewing recent articles about the company or looking at its annual report can provide clues.  Not matter how you find this out, you can promote your ability to respond to these challenges in your interview answers.  For example, if you’ve learned that the application of social media marketing strategies is a new but vital initiative for the department, you can tout your experience and knowledge in this area.

Find out what the true measures of success will be for the position, i.e., what key metrics will be discussed at your performance reviews.  Typically, you won’t find these in the job descriptions.  By knowing what the most important job deliverables are, you’ll be able to tailor your stories and responses specifically towards them.  If you are pursuing a financial analyst position and you will be rated by your internal clients on how well you interact with them, you can promote your people and relationship building skills are.  Or if you are interviewing for a marketing position and your ability to analyze and understand data is very important, you can demonstrate your analytical skills in addition to your knowledge of consumer behavior.  How do you find out what metrics are most important?  As part of your interview preparation, ask others in the same field what success measures are most important, you read about how your position has evolved, you tap into your own experience and feedback in your previous positions.

The likelihood of success in your interviews will go up because you took the time and made the effort to better understand what the hiring manager is looking for and how you will be evaluated.