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5 Easy Ways to Stand Out in an Interview

1. Use the interviewer’s first name

Think about when someone is speaking — and then they say your name. AND they’re looking you in the eye. Their message is now much more personal. And that makes you more likely to listen to them. 

The same goes for an interviewer. Try using their first name a couple of times (this will have even more impact in video interviews, where it can be harder to build relationships with people).

Here are a couple of examples: 

  • “Thanks for the interview, Paul. I really appreciate your interest.”
  • “So Paul, when do you plan to have this position filled?” 

A quick note: Don’t use their name too much — maybe once or twice. Saying it too often will feel forced

2. Ask an unusual question (and get the interviewer talking)

The most common interview questions asked by candidates are often “When do I start?” or “Do I get paid sick time?” These are important — but you also want to ask something that makes the interviewer more interested in the conversation. For example: “How long have you worked with this company?” Or “What other kinds of positions have you hired for this company?” Or even “So, Paul, what do you feel are the most important skills for this role?” Make the question about them. People like to share their knowledge and express their opinion. 

Doing this will help you in three ways:

  • It will make the conversation more personal, and will help the interviewer remember you.
  • It will give you a break from answering questions so you have a chance to “breathe” and think about what else you want to say.
  • It will help you learn a bit more about the position or company. 

3. Say one thing that shows you’ve researched the company or industry

“Do your research.” We’ve all heard that saying, and it’s extra important in job hunting. It shows the interviewer that you’re interested and prepared — even if that means spending just 10 minutes looking at the company’s website. 

Here are a few examples of how to turn some quick research into a question.  

Research: Find out if the company has more than one location. 

Question: I’ve noticed you have multiple locations. Do all locations do the same work?

Research: Find out if the company is Canadian-owned.

Question: I saw on your website that you’re Canadian-owned. Do you also operate in the U.S.?

Research: Find out if the company is publicly owned (traded on a stock exchange). 

Question: I noticed the company is publicly traded. Is there a stock option program for employees?

4. Come to the interview with your references ready

References are often the trickiest part of a job application — it can be awkward contacting past employers and getting their permission and contact information. Which is why people don’t always provide references until they’re asked. For that reason, you will make a bigger impression if you have your references ready at the interview. Having them ready will:  

  • Show the interviewer that you really want this position 
  • Make it easier for the interviewer to hire you. Imagine that the interviewer is choosing between you and another candidate. Your references are ready — the other candidate’s references are not. The interviewer is busy. They would like to get someone hired quickly. They may simply start by checking your references — and they may just hire you.

5. Send a thank you message after the interview

A brief thank you is such an easy, quick way to leave a final good impression — so take 2 minutes and send one. Need some help? This will get you started: 

Hello Paul, 

Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with me and discuss the position. I appreciated the chance to learn more about the position and . 

I believe I have all the skills and experience needed, and am the right person for this role. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

A quick final note: Some of these ideas may feel strange the first time you try them. Keep at it — the more you practice them, the easier and more natural they’ll feel.

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