Your interview is only one step in the employment process. Chances are numerous candidates have also been called for an interview. Those other candidates are your direct competition! Here are 5 tips to make sure your interview stands out from the rest.
1) Know your interviewer: Once your interview is scheduled, take the time to research your interviewer. LinkedIn is an obvious place to find relevant professional information (super hack: read both the LinkedIn recommendations received and given by your interviewer), but don’t stop there. Google the interviewer and research him or her across the internet and social media to find out their interests, specialization and background. That way, you can try to work some of his topics of interest into your interview answers.
2) Really know the company: I advise students to dedicate several hours to research so that they know the company even better than the interviewer does (super hack: master the material on the company’s LinkedIn Career Page- they are telling you what they want you to know). Watch all of the career videos, be familiar with their mission statement and any recent news articles about the company. Your knowledge will demonstrate that you care about the company and will help you describe why you are the perfect “fit.”
3) Present professional copies of your resume: Most resumes are sent electronically. That usually means that the interviewer will either be looking at your resume on his/her computer or a copy printed on regular computer paper. This is your opportunity to shine! Print 5-10 copies of your resume on professional resume paper (in case you meet with multiple people) and hand it to the interviewer to use. That gives you and your resume a more professional look!
4) Treat the support staff with respect: People are often so focused on their interview that they don’t realize how they appear to the other people they meet at the company. Make sure to treat the security guards, administrative assistants and anyone else you meet in the office with the highest regard and respect. Thank them for their time and assistance. Administrative assistants frequently have a lot of influence over their bosses, so aside from being the right thing to do, respectful treatment can enhance your prospects.
5) Send a handwritten thank-you note: Pretty much everything is done electronically these days. You do need to senda thank you email to the interviewer within 24 hours, but if you really want to get noticed, send an additional handwritten note as well! Handwritten notes are almost a lost art in today’s world, so sending a professional, neatly written one will truly make you stand out.