How to stand out in a job interview

It goes without saying that the best way to get a job is to have a proven track record of success in the job requirements – or at least demonstrate that you are likely to be good at the job. But once you get to the interview stage, you can be competing against a number of other people who have equally impressive resumes. So how do you stand out?

Ask the right questions

A job interview isn’t meant to be just the company deciding who is right for the position – it is also for you to decide if the position is right for you. Asking insightful questions that will impact job performance is a good way to stand out. Some examples of good questions could be:

  • How would you define success in this role?
  • What are some of the challenges people in this role have previously faced?
  • Historically what has differentiated those who have been successful and unsuccessful in this role, and at your company as a whole?

If the benefits package will be important to you and you are prepared to lose the opportunity over it (if, say, you are happy at your current job) then you should ask. If the company cannot match your requirements then there isn’t much point interviewing, after all!

Use humour

A job interview isn’t the place to try out your stand-up routine, but a couple of small jokes can help you stand out. If nothing else, you will make yourself smile and seem friendlier. You need to be careful, however, that you don’t say anything that might point to you not being successful at work.

Your interviewer doesn’t know you yet, and self-deprecating humour may take on more meaning than you intend it to. A one liner about the weather might seem dull, but it can be a good introductory ice-breaker. If the atmosphere is more relaxed you might tread closer to the line, for example by responding to an offer of a coffee by asking for an Irish.

Humour will absolutely backfire if you are inappropriate or hostile. When used properly, however, it can make you be remembered as more approachable, more enjoyable to have around and generally better liked.

Dress appropriately

If you are changing companies then the people you are interviewing with may have a different dress standard to your last employer. This is especially true if you are changing industries. Research the dress standard of the people at the company, and try to wear clothes slightly more formal than you guess is the norm.