How to stand out from the crowd during an interview process

During my nine challenging and also at times, rewarding years as a recruiter, I have worked in multiple industries such as FMCG, Hospitality, Pharmaceutical and Financial, interviewing my fair share of skill sets and quirky personalities with some stories I shall leave for a separate document, maybe “Overheard in an interview!” One thing I have noticed is a trend and pattern in what I would call “highly effective” employees. I base this on their interview with me, feedback from my clients, reference checks and getting to know these people on a personal basis. Getting to know my candidates personally is important to me as I strive to be their recruiter of choice and help them move throughout their career. I find that, when you take the time to understand a person, it allows you to see their talent, hunger for career progression, and in some cases their entrepreneurial flair. These people are highly sought after.

 

What stands out most is an individual’s communication skills. A noticeable differentiator between those above the average and those that are exceptional, is their confidence during an interview coupled with their ability to communicate their wants and needs plus, their conviction in the delivery of this.

 

To give an example, you face a final interview situation and it comes down to you and one other. Your competition has equally as much work experience as you, however on paper you hold an advantage based on your strong academic background but, you do not get the job and you are left wondering why. I have seen this situation repeatedly, with the deciding factor simply coming down to the other person’s ability to demonstrate his or her experience to date, display their personality and clearly outline their motivators whilst connecting with the employer. This I can assure you is not as easy as it sounds.

 

There is huge competition in the market, the toughest I have seen in my career and those with a defined and well-communicated focus tend to get ahead quicker. I notice that from a young age these highly effective individuals have visualised the steps involved in achieving their career goal.

Effective people tend to replicate this focus in their personal life. They may have been the captain of their rugby club, climbed Mount Everest, ran a marathon, achieved top marks in their class or managed to influence people they meet for the better.  Everyone has a story, some can be quite inspiring and some quite sad however, it is the result that matters. Showing determination and self-awareness during an interview can be the skill that gets you the job.

 

As a Nutritionist as well as a Recruiter, I am the first to stress that a healthy body gives you a healthy mind. When interviewing individuals I deem highly effective, they naturally demonstrate a positive outlook and are active in pursuit to conquer life and are physically active. What better way to relieve stress than go for a walk or pick up a heavyweight in the gym to bench it, curl it or squat it? It certainly helps me!

 

Separate you form the crowd by improving your softer skills:

  • Showcase your entrepreneurial flair, give examples of acting independently and discuss your career and personal achievements
  • Practice improving your communication skills, listening and understanding is key. Be articulate and demonstrate emotional awareness especially if you’re a leader
  • Be self-aware, know your strengths and limitations
  • Care about your wellbeing and the wellbeing of others around you
  • Preparation is essential

 

If you are fortunate enough to interview someone with these characteristics then you could well be looking at your next Manager or successor.