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4 Job Interview Tactics to Differentiate Yourself

In today’s job market, there are numerous qualified candidates for virtually every job opening. Interviewers usually find themselves with several (or more) candidates who they are confident could do the job well. So ultimately they need to select the “best’ candidate among the well qualified.

If you are not among those considered well qualified for a particular position, with all of the required experience, education and competencies, there are no magical interview strategies to help you win the job.

But if you ARE among those considered well qualified for the position, there are a number of strategies which can differentiate you from the other qualified candidates and help to ensure that you are the one selected.

The following are 4 proven strategies to differentiate yourself from other qualified candidates:

1. Know the company

Most candidates will have done some basic research regarding the company. And if there are internal candidates they will of course know the company quite well. Your goal is to conduct enough pre-interview research so that you clearly know more about the company than other candidates (even the internal ones). This deeper knowledge will help you ask deeper questions during the interview. And showing the interviewer that you have done your “homework” will give provide tangible evidence of your exceptional commitment to the job. Your research can include the company website, annual reports, reaching out to LinkedIn and other social media contacts, etc.

Again, your goal is to be clearly better informed regarding the company than the other well qualified job candidates.

2. Use your resume as a “springboard” for brief, focused stories

After landing an interview, you need to read through your resume very carefully and think through every question you expect the interviewer might ask. Study the job description to truly understand what the interviewer is looking for. If the description calls for attentiveness to detail, you will want to tailor the discussion accordingly. Knowing this, you can navigate the interview and discuss examples from previous jobs that will exemplify this trait. Do this for all significant traits or qualities that you identify in the job description. This is one of the best job interview strategies I have used, and know that it can bring you success.

You should prepare a series of brief stories regarding specific jobs or work experiences, and these stories should be carefully crafted to emphasize your exceptional skills, habits and results. Rather than telling an interviewer that you are a “hard worker” or a “team player” or a “strong leader” you should carefully prepare stories that are a) true and b) highlight the competencies you want to express.

Related: Resume Booster Tip #1

When it comes to discussing their skills, many candidates make the mistake of “telling” instead of “showing.” One of the best job interview strategies is to use concrete examples to demonstrate their skills to the interviewer. For example, if one of your skills is successfully handling multiple tasks at once, providing an example of how you do that will help paint a picture for the interviewer. It also gives the interviewer something to “hold on to” once the interview is over, and helps him/her remember you when it comes to decision time.

3. Build genuine rapport and “connect” with the interviewer

People want to work with people they like. That is why building rapport is such an important job interview strategy. Shake hands, make eye contact, and smile. Put those three together when you first meet your interviewer and it will set a positive tone for the rest of the interview. A common mistake that many candidates make is not being themselves. Some feel that they need to fit a certain mold and act accordingly. This will only end up hurting both parties in the end when your “true” personality comes out. You will be surprised how easy it is to detect insincerity during an interview. Thus, it is important to be professional, but also maintain your true essence. When you do this, your sincerity and genuineness will be picked up by the interviewer. This is one of the best job interview strategies to implement, and will go a long way in determining your success.

Eye contact is one of the strongest forms of nonverbal communication. A person’s qualities and personality can be detected simply based on eye contact. Making direct eye contact communicates confidence and high self-esteem, two key qualities employers look for in candidates. But of course this has to be natural – don’t spend the entire interview staring intensely at the other person. Make natural eye contact, not only when you talk, but also as you listen. Simply doing this job interview strategy will greatly help your chances of success in an interview.

Show genuine interest in the interviewer, ask questions about his or her career experience and don’t be afraid to use appropriate humor.

4. Follow up quickly

After the job interview, send a thank you note to the interview. These days, an email is fine, but traditionally a handwritten card is sent. Whatever method you choose, do it promptly after the interview. The correspondence should be sent the next day after the interview. Many hiring decisions are made quickly these days, so timeliness is very important.