How to Make Yourself Stand Out During the Interview Process

Interview blog image

You’ve graduated – now what?

With Massachusetts being at a 3% unemployment rate (National unemployment rate is 3.6%) it is a job seekers market! (1) Employers are searching for the right candidate to meet their many needs.

So, how do you stand out in the interview process?

Be confident, assertive, humble and hungry.

Bring numerous copies of your resume, a notebook for jotting down questions and the names and facts of your interviewers and water, you will get thirsty.

Do your homework; on the company, on the Employees interviewing you (i.e. LinkedIn is a great place to start!), how the company is rated on Glassdoor and by checking LinkedIn as you may be connected with a current or past Employee to get further information on their time of Employment.  Speaking of social media, make sure yours is up to date and cleaned up, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one; and ask former colleagues, professors, managers etc. to write recommendations on your page.

Just as the Employer is interviewing you, this is a chance for you to ask further questions that you may not have had answered during your research.

How did the Employee get to the position they are in now?  What is the expectation of a new Employee coming into the organization from their vantage point?  How are the team dynamics? What is the typical career and growth path for new Employees and more senior Employees? And what is the attrition/retention rate for Employees? How soon are you able to start contributing to your 401K and what is the company match (if any)?

As an interviewee, this information will help you make a more informed decision on your next potential workplace.  As the interview is wrapping up, ask when the company expects to make their decision and what the typical time to receive feedback on your candidacy will be?  Also, make sure they know you are interested – say it out right.

Another way to set yourself apart is to follow up with your interview team and the recruiter to thank them for their time and if they have any additional questions to reach out.  If the position is not the right fit after the interview, still thank the panel for their time and reach out to the recruiter to let them know as well.

In anticipation of next steps, get your references ready.  You should always give references advanced notice prior to receiving a phone call so they are not caught off guard and can provide accurate and detailed descriptions of your time of Employment – if your reference is a professor, information on your attention to detail, quality of work, participation and even teamwork.

If you receive an offer, CONGRATULATIONS, now is the time to stay calm and make sure the offer is fair and detailed.  You should have received a job description and a copy of the benefits if you were in a final interview phase, so make sure any and all questions are answered prior to accepting.  If you need more time to have another individual look over the offer, that’s ok!  Prior to asking for additional time to review, make sure you understand when the offer expires and when your answer is needed by.  Communication during this time is crucial, if you have any doubt on the offer or the company, let the recruiter and manager know.  If the company is not the right fit for you now, if may be more of a fit down the road, and you never want to hurt future chances from lack of communication.

This is a great time in your life, you are prepared for this moment, so own it!


Information Cited:

  • 6/29/19 report from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.