In our last piece, we looked at how to get yourself noticed. Now, we look at how to be a candidate that will be remembered (for all the right reasons!).
It pays to be prepared
When going to interviews, go with the aim of knowing more about the company than any of the other candidates. Don’t just skim-read the bio section on their website, look into who the key people within the business are and what the biggest achievements of the company have been. Get to know the organisation- what are their products/ services? Who are their clients and competitors? Do some research about the industry and what opportunities and challenges it is currently presented with.
Again, utilise tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to their full advantage. See if you are connected to anyone at the company through either of these platforms and reach out to them. Can they offer you more information about the company and what it is like to work there?
Additionally, make sure you are completely familiar with what is on your CV. Know your dates of previous employment and your reasons for leaving each of them, and your aims and career goals. You don’t want to accidentally and unwittingly contradict yourself!
It is a common piece of advice, but during the interview make sure you fully understand each question before you start giving an answer to it. Whilst this may seem like it goes without saying, it is not always easy to work out what is being asked of you when you are in a stressful, pressurised situation. If necessary, do not be afraid to ask your interviewer for clarification. If you need to take a moment to gather your thoughts before giving your answer, do so. If you are having difficulty answering a question, or find that you can’t, be honest about this. Saying something along the lines of “I have never found myself in this situation, but if I were to, I would…” can help you massively. Often, there are not set right or wrong answers, your interviewer is just looking to assess your problem-solving skills.
It may not sound like much, but simple things like smiling and saying hello to everyone you meet, holding doors, and saying please and thank you can make a world of difference. Politeness might not necessarily mean you stand out, but impoliteness definitely will. You never know who you might bump into whilst walking around the building. It is also wise to keep this in mind in the immediate area, so be extra polite and friendly when you are in close proximity of the building as well, such as in coffee shops. Your interviewer is unlikely to warm to you if you turn out to be the person who pushed in front of them in Starbucks and got the last blueberry muffin!
As well as this, most companies will take their employees opinions into consideration when making their final decision. If you were curt with the Receptionist or frosty with a potential colleague, you are much less likely to be asked back.
Whilst good manners might not solely secure you the job, they certainly won’t hurt your chances! A smile goes a very long way.
After the interviewer is over, it is a very common practice to send a message of thanks. This step in the process is crucial. A quick thank you will likely be expected by most hiring managers, and you probably won’t win the job based solely on this, but you will damage your chances unnecessarily if you don’t send one. Don't be that person! If you are sending multiple messages to different people within the same company, it is important not to just copy and paste the same message to every person. It’s quite likely that they will share them with each other, so it's important that no two emails are exactly the same. Time the sending of your note well: too soon and you risk looking overly keen; too late and it could look like an afterthought. As well as giving feedback and thanks, this message will also serve the purpose of bringing you back to the forefront of their minds.
These factors can all really help to get you noticed and will mean that you have a greater chance of being remembered as well. When looking for a new job, you can continually submit the same cover letter and CV with every application you make, or you can find a way that you can stand out for all the right reasons. There is no “one size fits all” approach with this, but the main thing is to give your potential employer something beyond that which is conveyed through your cover letter and CV alone.