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How to Stand Out in Your Next Interview

5 minutes

1. Interviewers don't want to hear your weaknesses, they want to see self-awareness“What are...

1. Interviewers don't want to hear your weaknesses, they want to see self-awareness

“What are your weaknesses?” This is always a dreaded question in an interview but one you should prepare for. Interviewers don’t want to know every single one of your weaknesses, they want to make sure you’re self-aware. The way to tackle this one is to identify a weakness but show them how you’re aware of it and explain your strategy on how you plan to overcome it.

2. If you're struggling to answer competency questions, draw a mind map.

Prepare for competency questions before you go into your interview, use the mind mapping technique which will help you to process your thoughts in a visual way. Put the competency in the middle of the page and think about every time you’ve used it and how it shows your transferable skills, this will help you craft a better answer.

3. Prepare two to three competency stories before an interview

Competency questions are now a standard part of the interview process. Before the interview, try and prepare a couple of scenarios that demonstrate your skills and how you have overcome any problems you encountered.

4. Use all your contacts in the industry to prepare

There’s the old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. If you know someone in the industry then utilize this! Pick their brains and try and learn as much from them as you can, this may help you in the interview process and allow you to feel more confident when answering questions.

5. Don't ask your interviewer anything obvious

Steer clear of asking questions that you should already know, such as any information that is available on the website, this will make you look unprepared for the interview. Instead think of questions that show a clear interest in the company or the industry such as “how is the current (insert relevant issue) impacting the strategy of your business?” Tailor these questions to the specific business and it will give you the opportunity to sell yourself and start genuine conversations with the interviewer. They will see that you’ve put effort into preparing for the interview and it's a sure way to make you stand out.

6. Master "the spotlight process" to ace your interview

The spotlight process is a technique taught for interviews to help you sound professional when you're put on the spot with a question. For this process, handwrite your responses to typical interview questions, this will help you remember your answers. Using bullet points and not worrying about grammar will help the answers to sound as natural as possible, ensuring you give confident and competent answers.

7. If you have limited work experience, show more passion in interview

Sometimes you may not have the most experience in the job you’re applying for, so you need to let your passion shine through in the interview. Try and gain experience whilst you’re job hunting, this will show that you’re eager to learn as much as possible about the industry. If you don’t have specific examples relative to the job then highlight your experience and skills in other areas that are transferable. Showing this passion and drive can sometimes override your experience as it shows a willingness to learn which some companies prefer!

8. Show interviewers you can solve problems

You won't always be the most qualified candidate being interviewed, but when facing individuals with more experience, make sure that you focus on your strengths and what you can bring to the company. Showcase yourself by approaching difficult situations with a fresh perspective, stay confident and you’re sure to outshine your competition!

Adapted from The Guardian.