Posted on Mar 11 2013

How to stand out in today’s job market – the interview process

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Today’s job market is highly competitive, and there are far more people interviewing than there are jobs available.  Throughout my career, I have interviewed hundreds of people and very few really stand out.  Here are my rules on how to be effective during the interview and set yourself apart.

Rule #1: Understand your audience

Be prepared.  Arm yourself with information about the company and the individual(s) you will meet.  Learn the company history, current business strategy and recent financial performance.  Identify their competitive edge, and strengths and weaknesses. Read the bios of the staff so you understand who they are, their background, and their role in the company.  Prepare leading questions to dig deeper proving you have done your homework.

Rule #2: Differentiate yourself

Through the questions and answers period, emphasize the skills that differentiate you Use tangible examples to illustrate how your experience and capabilities will improve their organization.  Anticipate potential questions such as – How did you contribute to the profit of a company?  Was there a specific challenge you overcame in the past? Were you recognized for your expertise in your field? Is there a specific instance when you had to work as part of a team to solve an issue?  What approach and resources would you use to grow this business?  Draw on your past experiences, both personal and professional, to frame a story that identifies you as the hero.  Every company needs a hero.

Rule #3: Simplify your story

Everyone has a story to tell. These are what make us unique. However, in an interview scenario, make sure yours is well edited and relevant.  Develop your “elevator speech”- the two minute press release about your professional or educational high points edited to align with the company’s needs.   Include who are you, where you came from, what have you accomplished, and why you want this job.

When talking about yourself or answering questions, be succinct, articulate, and well prepared.

Stand up.  Stand tall.  Stand out.


**Featured image courtesy of longmontmagazine.com

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Loretta Soffe - Principal