10 Ways To Stand Out In Your Job Interview

Posted August 16, 2013 by
Rosemary Haefner of Careerbuilder

Rosemary Haefner of Careerbuilder

I often speak with job seekers who tell me that they’ve applied to dozens or even hundreds of jobs yet are still either unemployed or stuck in a job they hate. Overwhelmingly they believe the problem is with their resume yet one question that I’ll ask often reveals the problem — if there is one — has more to do with their interviewing skills and less to do with their resumes. The question that I ask is whether they’re getting interviews and how often. If they’re getting an interview for every five or so jobs to which they’re applying, that’s a reasonable ratio so their problem likely has nothing to do with their resume or the jobs to which they’re applying. If they’re getting an interview for every 100 jobs, then there’s a good chance there’s a problem with their resume, the jobs to which they’re applying, or both. But what if they’re getting lots of interviews but those interviews are not leading to job offers? Then the problem likely relates to their interviewing skills.

Some job seekers believe that they must stand out to potential employers during the interview stage and, to an extent, I agree. If an employer interviews 10 people for one opening and can’t remember anything about you, the likelihood of you getting the offer is pretty slim. But just because they remember you doesn’t mean that they will want to extend a job offer to you. The key isn’t just standing out. It is standing out for the right reasons. You don’t want them to remember you as a fool or a jerk, for instance. You want them to remember you as someone who struck them as being very likely to succeed in their workplace.

Careerbuilder recently surveyed 2,076 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide to share the most memorable methods candidates have used to stand out from the crowd, and whether their creativity got them hired. The study was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 14 to June 5, 2013.

Techniques that Worked

1. Candidate contracted a billboard outside of employer’s office.

2. Candidate gave a resume on a chocolate bar.

3. Candidate showed up in a suit with a red T-shirt underneath a white shirt. The red T-shirt had a message – “Hire me, I work hard.”

4. Candidate asked to be interviewed in Spanish to showcase his skills.

5. Candidate crafted the cover letter like an invitation to hire her rather than a request (similar to a wedding invitation).

6. Candidate climbed on a roof the employer was repairing and asked for a job.

7. Candidate performed a musical number on the guitar about why he was the best candidate.

8. Candidate volunteered to help out with making copies when he saw interviewer’s assistant was getting frazzled.

9. Candidate repaired a piece of company’s equipment during the first interview.

10. Candidate sent a message in a bottle.

“Employers typically aren’t looking for the most outrageous candidate, they’re looking for the best fit,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Thinking outside the box is great, but the stunts that work best are the ones that showcase your relevant skills and abilities. The focus of the interview should be why you would be a great addition to the team, and not what you’re willing to do to get noticed.”

Techniques that Didn’t Work

1. Candidate back-flipped into the room.

2. Candidate brought items from interviewer’s online shopping wish list.

3. Candidate sent a fruit basket to interviewer’s home address, which the interviewer had not given her.

4. Candidate did a tarot reading for the interviewer.

5. Candidate dressed as a clown.

6. Candidate sent interviewer some beef stew with a note saying “Eat hearty and hire me J.”

7. Candidate placed a timer on interviewer’s desk, started it, and told interviewer he would explain in 3 minutes why he was the perfect candidate.

8. Candidate sent interviewer a lotto ticket.

9. Candidate wore a florescent suit.

10. Candidate sent in a shoe to “get their foot in the door.”

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