August has turned to September, and football is officially back… Go Buckeyes! 

At the start of each season, every game falls under the microscope, and every metric, player, and coach is overanalyzed. The goal of each team: to win games, all while separating themselves from the rest of the pack and showing why they are worthy of that elusive number one ranking. 

The same is true when it comes to interviews. From the moment you walk in the door, the hiring team begins to analyze everything: from how you’re dressed, to your body language, to your answers to questions, and even to your thank you follow-up. With so much being analyzed in today’s extremely competitive market, how do you stand out and show the hiring team that you deserve the number one spot? Fortunately, we’ve got your game plan below! 

The Scouting Report

In an interview, you will almost always be asked what you know about the company. The number one weapon you have in your arsenal before any interview is research. Not being able to answer basic questions about the company can leave you behind before you even really got started.

Take some time to review the company website and understand their offerings, look up the interview team on LinkedIn, and browse their blog to see what they have been involved in. Additionally, you can look up company reviews on G2 or Glassdoor to get a better feel of life at the company or how their products work for clients. 

Coming in prepared with knowledge of the company will instantly set you apart from the competition. You took initiative, planned ahead, and showed a true interest in the role and company. 

Goal Line Stand

You are human, not a robot, and this is not a test. Do not think of interviews as something you have to pass but rather a conversation you need to have. After you’ve done your research, start formulating questions (thoughtful ones) and then work them into the conversation you’re having.

I’m not talking about the standard, “Why is this role open?” questions (definitely ask those), but formulate questions specific to the job. If you’re a software engineer, ask about the code lifecycle. A content marketer – how might your work impact revenue? In sales – ask about the territories and sales cycle. This can also help segway into things like training you’ll receive and the team you’d be working on. 

Many employers want to hire someone who is selective in their job search and knows what they are looking for. By asking role-specific questions, you show you know what you are looking for and what kind of work you are interested in doing. Not to mention this only helps you get better insight into the company and role. 

Victory Formation

The interview is over, you’ve asked all your questions, now you must send a follow-up thank-you email (bonus points if you hand-write it)! I prefer to send thank you emails the same day I interview, once I’ve had a chance to digest and process our discussion. However, this should be done no later than 24hrs after your interview, or the following Monday if you interviewed on a Friday.

Your thank you needs to be customized to your interview, not a copy and paste standard email. Thank them for their time, mention specific topics/items you discussed, and reaffirm your interest in the position. Finally, make sure your email is buttoned up with no spelling or grammar mistakes. Use apps like Grammarly or pop it into a Word doc, to ensure nothing was missed. 

Whether your interview is over the phone, virtual, or in-person, showing you did your research, asked role-specific questions, and finished with a strong thank-you message — you are sure to stand out above the rest!

What are your best keys to success when it comes to standing out during an interview?