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What tips would you give to help me get a leg up on the competition when it comes to interviewing for a job?

I'd like to do well when it comes to interviewing for a future job. I'd like to know how I can perform my best and stand out in an interview. interview

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From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


7 answers

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Lucie’s Answer

Outch, job interviews are tough! But the hardest part is really to actually get one in my opinion!
First of all dress for the job you want, without a tuxedo, dress the part.
Second, in my opinion what everyone looks into a good candidate/good interview is someone who is concise, doesn't lose his train of thoughts, to the point, good story teller, etc.

To stand out, despite the many answers you already got, I would say:
#1 Match job posting and resume
Highlight the different part of the job posting and match it to your resume. Use maybe a few different highlighters to really distinguish the different skillset required. This will be make it easier for you to speak about what has not been highlighted (because it will come up!)

#2 Look out for the obvious
Look for the obvious questions you will be asked: Experience, gap in resume, etc. Be prepared to respond to these questions with a well prepared answer. It might be a way for you to shine.

#3 Work on story telling
A good story needs to be down to the point and follow a path of development. Don't get lost into rabbit holes and other tangent, look into the narrative and make sure it is one where you stand out.

#4 Prepare and Practice make Perfect
There will be obvious questions about your resume, also, there will be the questions we are all expecting: Tell me about yourself, what are some of your qualities, what do you like about our company, why do you want to work here, etc.?
It will vary per the role and industry but all the questions you will have will be in some sort of the same flavor from one interview to the next.
Then rehearse, under the shower, in front of the mirror, with friends, family, etc. The more you repeat your stories the more they will come naturally and when a question you have not prepared for arise you should be more relaxed to answer.

Hope this helps,
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Tammy’s Answer

First, dress for an interview and arrive on time or a little early. It’s okay to ask the person who scheduled the interview about the dress code. If you’re not sure dress a little more formal than you think necessary. Look up the directions in advance and if necessary drive by the day prior so you know exactly where to go.

The second thing is be genuine. When I’m looking to hire I’m looking for skill match and cultural fit, with the latter being the most important.   We can train skills easier than we can train for interactions (aka ‘soft skills).   

Third, use examples to answer questions when possible. This shows that you have transferable experiences and you’re not just reciting canned responses. This can be difficult to do on the spot so look at the job posting and think about situations that you can use. The situations can be from anywhere; work, school, or social settings (as long as it’s work appropriate).   Try to use a new situation for each answer. If you need to re-use a situation quickly connect it to the new situation. Don’t be afraid to use failures as examples as long as you explain how you’ve learned from the situation and/or applied the learning. The examples of failures show self-awareness and the ability to build on past experiences.

Finally, ask about the next steps in the process. This gives you clues about when you should follow up and the topic of the follow up. Listen for clues for expectations. For example is they say “If you don’t hear from us by Friday you should contact Suzie in HR” then you know to call Suzie Friday afternoon or Monday morning.  Early in my career I was told that I received the job because I listened to the clues and followed through. The hiring manager said “You did everything I suggested. The only thing left to do was tell you when to start.”

Tammy recommends the following next steps:

Research 'behavior based interviews' to find examples of how to use situation examples to answer interview questions.
Find a job posting that you would be interested in and identify situations that you could use to show the desired skills and/or job duties.
Ask a friend or mentor to role play an interview asking mock interview questions where you can use the examples to answer the questions.
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Ian’s Answer

Hi Adam!

You're off to a great start. Seeking out perspectives from hiring managers is an awesome start and I'm sure you'll get some different takes from different folks. I've listed out some of my own thoughts below:

  • Know the company: First things first is to show familiarity with the company you are applying too. This applies in every interaction, not just the interview. If you go to a career fair, doing a few minutes of research on the company before you walk up the interviewer can be the difference between getting the interview or not. If the company is publicly traded, looking at a tool like Google Finance can show you where they are investing their money which is always good for talking points.
  • Stand Out from the Crowd: My favorite thing to see from applicants is how they go above and beyond. Hearing about your coursework is awesome, but you and all your classmates had the same assignment. See what you did in your personal time to better the world / make a little money / exercise a passion is always the best differentiator in my mind.

These are just two of the things I always look for when someone is applying, but try to gather as many different opinions as possible because each will have a different perspective or background.

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MaryJane’s Answer

Go to an interview dressed for success- business casual is usually a good bet. Give short thoughtful answers. Don't talk because of nerves, silence is not always bad. Be prepared with well thought out questions. Relax.
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Joseph’s Answer

Adam- I would recommend that you do your research on the company you are applying for and understand their vision. I would also ensure that your resume is updated and current with the most important things you have done to date. Finally, build a PowerPoint presentation around your biggest accomplishments to date or centered on the job you are applying for and how you can bring those skills to the table.
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Fiona’s Answer

Research the company and its history
Research the department
Watch the news and be able to talk about key current events
Research some key current events in the industry you are applying to
Research the background of your interviewers
Go through your CV to ensure you can talk about each skill/past experience you have included
Think of some good questions you would like to ask about the company - including the team, the culture, the direction etc.
Do not under-dress
Be on time, 15 minutes early
Be prepared to introduce yourself in clear succinct manner, listing out key traits and achievements/interests/work experience/volunteering experience that makes you stand out.
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Jay’s Answer


Interviews (whether for university or for a job) can be very stressful. I always recommend a few things in general:

1. Make sure you are outwardly presentable. This does not mean you have to rush out to buy a brand new suit or set of fancy clothes but remember that first impressions are the longest-lasting, and you want to be professional. Make sure you are set up for success by being presentable and ready to go.

2. Practice, practice, practice. Think of potential questions you may be asked, and think of how you want to answer those. Just like preparing for a presentation, practice your answers out loud and make sure you have clear responses. If you have a friend or partner, ask if they can play the interviewer and ask for feedback.

3. Make sure you get plenty of rest before the interview. You are going to be stressed out and nervous, but try and get a full night's rest, eat a good breakfast and come as fresh as you can.

Remember that many interviewers will try and "stress test" you during the interview to see how you handle tough situations, so try and be calm, relax and provide your best answers.

I also recommend preparing questions to ask the interviewer to show your interest:

1. Ask probing questions about the role specifically. What would your daily activities look like? What would "success" look like in the role? What are the biggest challenges the interviewer sees in the role?

2. Ask questions about the team. What does the working relationship look like? Are there any dynamics that you should be aware of? How will you fit in and contribute to the success of the team?

3. Ask questions about the manager. Will they be a fit for your personality? Will you be successful in the role and with their expectations? How will your manager champion you and your career?

4. Ask questions about the company. Remember that you will be spending a lot of time and energy in your new career, so focus on aligning your interests and values with the company values. Do they align?

Also, remember that the interview is not just a chance for you to sell yourself to the manager and company, but also for them to sell themselves and the role to you!

Best of luck