Saturday, April 2, 2011

Job Interview Advice: The Very Best Way to Stand Out

Candidates always want to know the ONE thing they can do in the job interview that's going to be the most impressive to the hiring manager.  And there really is one answer.
There are a lot of other pieces that go into a successful job interview, but the number one thing you can do in the interview to make a great impression is to ask questions.
When you ask questions, you demonstrate your knowledge of the job through those questions.
One of the most important questions to ask is at the very beginning of the interview:  "What exactly are you looking for?  If you saw the perfect candidate for this job, what would he/she look like?" Or, if it's a team you'll be a part of, ask, "Who's the best person on the team?  What makes them the best person on the team?"
There are a couple things that happen when you ask these questions:
  1. The manager's impressed, because most people can't "keep it together" enough during the interview to ask these kinds of pointed questions, so right off the bat you're making you stand out.
  2. If you ask it at the first of the interview, you get to sell to that point throughout the rest of the interview.  This isn't just for sales jobs.  The interview itself is a sales process, no matter what industry or job you're in.  The interview is about you "selling yourself" as the best candidate for the job:  you're the product, the hiring manager is the buyer, and the cost of the product is your salary.  You're selling, trying to get that manager to say "Yes, I want to buy" so that you get a great job.
So, the number one thing you can do is to ask those very pointed questions, find out
  • exactly what they're looking for,
  • what their process is,
  • who is the best hire they've ever made,
  • What is the greatest challenge for this particular role, etc?
These kinds of questions demonstrate a lot to the hiring manager, and what you do with that information throughout the interview as you communicate who you are to the hiring manager, will really impress him and set you apart from other candidates.


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