How To Stand Out In An Interview

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but they don’t have to be. With a little bit of preparation and forethought, you can learn how to stand out in an interview and impress your potential employer. Whether you’re interviewing in person, over the phone, or on Zoom, the following tips will help you put your best foot forward.


How to Stand Out from Other Interview Candidates

  • Research the company. Before the interview, make sure you have a good understanding of the company’s values, mission, and culture. This will not only help you tailor your answers to their specific needs, but it will help show that you’re serious about the position.
  • Practice your answers. There are specific interview questions that you can expect to be asked in almost every interview. Two of the most common include “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Take some time to prepare thoughtful answers that highlight your skills and experience. Candidates who have practiced their answers and know what they are going to say, usually come across as more confident and well-spoken than those who don’t prepare ahead of time.
  • Always dress appropriately. Dressing professionally shows that you take the interview seriously and are respectful of the company’s culture. Even if you’re interviewing over the phone or on Zoom, make sure you’re dressed appropriately from head to toe. You never know when you might need to stand up and that could be quite embarrassing if you aren’t prepared.

How to Stand Out in a Zoom Interview

  • Check your surroundings. Make sure that your background is clean and uncluttered. Having unnecessary clutter in the background will take the focus off of you, which is never a good thing. If you’re using a virtual background, be sure to choose one that’s professional and not distracting. Also, make sure that there’s good lighting so that the interviewer can see you clearly.
  • Test your equipment. Before the interview, test your microphone and camera to make sure that they’re working properly. If you’re using headphones, test those as well. The last thing you want is to have technical difficulties during the interview. While it would technically make you stand out, it would do so for all of the wrong reasons.
  • Make eye contact. It can be difficult to make eye contact on Zoom, especially if you don’t use it often, but it’s important to try. Look directly at the camera instead of at the interviewer’s face on the screen. This will give the impression that you’re making eye contact. It can be awkward at first, so if you have little to no experience using Zoom, we recommend that you practice ahead of time.

How to Stand Out in a Phone Interview

how to stand out at a phone interview

  • Choose a quiet location. One of the most important pieces of advice for a phone interview is to make sure you’re in a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted. If you’re at home, go to a private room and close the door. If you’re in a public place, use headphones to minimize background noise. Doing so will also minimize the need for you or the interviewer to repeat what is said.
  • Smile. Yes, this may sound strange, but even though the interviewer can’t see you, they can hear the tone of your voice. Smiling while you talk will make you sound more friendly and enthusiastic. If you’ve never tried it before, try saying the same thing to a friend or family member on the phone, once smiling and once not, and get their feedback.
  • Take notes. Since the interviewer can’t see you, taking notes is a great way to stay engaged. If the interviewer is offering information about the company, note it so that you can reference it later. At the end of the interview, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you’ll be able to use your notes as a reference point. Just make sure that you’re not typing loudly or shuffling papers, as this can be distracting.

Creative Ways to Stand Out in an Interview

Now that you know the basics of how to stand out in an interview, here are some creative ways to take your interview to the next level:

  • Create a personal website or portfolio that showcases your skills and experience. This is especially useful if you’re interviewing for a creative or technical position. At the end of the interview, you simply suggest that they check out your website or portfolio. This isn’t something that is commonly done and can really help you wow an interview panel.
  • Send a thank-you note or email after the interview to show that you appreciate the opportunity and are still interested in the position. While this should be a common practice, many people still don’t utilize this tip. Sending a thank-you at the end of the day will help the company remember you, and that can give you an edge.
  • Consider using storytelling to make your answers more engaging. Instead of just listing your accomplishments, tell a story about how you overcame a challenge or solved a problem. The only tip here is to make sure that you make it relatively short and sweet. While it can be engaging, you also don’t want to go on and on.
  • Ask thoughtful questions that show that you’re genuinely interested in the position and the company. This is a win-win for you and the company. It allows you to learn more about the company while showing them that you are enthusiastic and eager to learn.


Make A Great First Impression

By following these tips and getting creative, you’re likely to stand out from the other interview candidates and make a great first impression on your potential employer. If you would like help fine-tuning your interview approach, check out our professional interview coaching services and learn how to give yourself an edge with every opportunity that comes your way!


CareerTuners provides interview coaching, resume optimization, LinkedIn profile optimization, and more. Schedule a call with us to find out how we can help you land the job of your dreams.


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