How to Stand Out in an Interview What does it mean to stand out from the crowd in an interview? Ways to stand out in an interview: a step-by-step guide Papers that contribute to the success Mistakes to Avoid Final thoughts
How to Stand Out in an Interview What does it mean to stand out from the crowd in an interview? Ways to stand out in an interview: a step-by-step guide Papers that contribute to the success Mistakes to Avoid Final thoughts
Updated 08/10/2020

How to Stand Out in an Interview

Are you stressing out before an interview? There is no need to worry! We have collected the best tips to stand out during an interview and land your dream job.

Are you stressing out before an interview? There is no need to worry! We have collected the best tips to stand out during an interview and land your dream job.

Searching for a job is considered stressful for 73% of potential employees. Job seekers are worried that they might not have the right skills and qualifications, there are more experienced candidates, and the interview will go wrong. Although an average interview lasts 45 minutes, 33% of hiring managers confess that within 90 seconds, they already know whether they want to hire you or not. Therefore, it is imperative to impress them as quickly as possible.

If you want the interviewer to call back, understand what sets you apart from other candidates, be confident, and follow the tips below. We will teach you how to stand out in a job interview with ease.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
Arthur Ashe

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What does it mean to stand out from the crowd in an interview?

Standing out in an interview means making an unforgettable impression, which eventually results in a job offer. There may be numerous ways to achieve this: show how professional you are, how much you know about the company, or that your soft skills are a real find.

Even though there may be tens or even hundreds of applicants for the same position, you possess features and qualifications that differ. Showing what makes you different makes you stand out, and that is what we will discuss in this article.


Ways to stand out in an interview: a step-by-step guide

To pass a job interview successfully, you need an effective strategy. The tips below will help you to regain courage and get ready for an interview.

  1. Arrive early
    Try to arrive in advance to compose yourself, even your breath, and check clothes. Listen to music, relax, and try to remain positive. Read the notes you have made when preparing for an interview. There is no better way to look professional than to be ready to answer all the arising questions.
  2. Be kind and attentive
    If you want to work for the company, it is important to show that you are genuinely interested in making connections with employees. That is why you should be friendly not only with the hiring manager and interviewer but also with administrative assistants, receptionists, and other workers that you interact with at the office.
  3. Support answers with examples

    Another way how to make yourself stand out in an interview is to show instead of saying. When asked how you can contribute to the company, don’t use clichés. Try to explain and quantify what you are planning to do after becoming a part of the team.

    Bring a physical copy of a challenging pt that you have worked on and show your results. If you are a designer, developer, or content maker, create a website with a portfolio. And don’t forget to back your answers with numbers. For example, if you participated in a marketing campaign, give numbers of the increased revenues or higher conversion. Interviewers remember stories much better than general answers without any specific details.
  4. Integrate the company’s values into your answers
    Research the company before an interview and learn about its values. Then, show that you understand and share those values by offering a solution to a particular problem through the lens of these values. For example, if an enterprise values cooperation, tell them that you are used to working in a team and think that only together, it is possible to achieve the best results.
  5. Ask questions

    Who said that potential employees couldn’t ask questions? An interview is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the company, its vision, and its ideas. Questions show that you are interested in the company and want to work for them. However, it is better not to ask questions about salaries and compensations from the beginning. Here are useful ideas to get started:

    • What is the most challenging part of this job?
    • Is there anything about my resume or experience that makes you doubt if I am a good match for the position?
    • With whom will I cooperate the most?
    • Are there opportunities for growth?
    • How do you measure success in this position?
    • What do you like the most about working at this company?
    • What is a regular day in this role?
    • What personal traits do candidates need to fit into your team?
  6. Prepare a 30/60/90-day plan

    The main criterion in determining whether to hire you is if you can be useful to the company. That is why you should not only tell about your previous work experience and achievements but also what you can do for the company. One of the best ways to stand out in an interview is to show that you will learn the position quickly and use your skills and expertise to reach the company’s goals and add value to the project.

    That is where a 30/60/90-day plan comes in handy. Explain what goals you plan to achieve during the first 30, 60, and 90 days in a position. Show that you are ready to work hard and have enough skills to achieve ambitious goals.
  7. Appearance and body language matter

    The lack of a smile is a serious reason to reject a candidate for 40% of hiring managers. 50% of interviewers think that the way an employee walks through the door and dresses is important when deciding.

    That is why another way to stand out is to pay attention to your appearance, outfit, and body language. Remember about your posture and maintain eye contact. Sit up straight, be confident, and try not to fidget with your hands. Try to find information about the company’s corporate culture and dress code. If there is no such data, stick to a smart-casual style.
  8. Make the conversation enjoyable
    Who said that an interview should be tense or boring? Engage the interviewer in a dialogue and discuss topics related to the professional field, such as industry novelties or the latest software. It will make the conversation light and enjoyable, and you will surely make a great first impression. If it is a group interview, engage other participants, and not just the hiring manager.
  9. Show your leadership skills
    Taking the initiative is a great soft skill, whether you apply for an entry-level or a senior position. Companies value workers who are not afraid to self-start immediately and make a serious decision. Tell about projects that you started on your own or about situations when you led a team.
  10. Use humor when appropriate
    Of course, an interview is not a stand-up show, but humor is a great ice breaker and is one of the most creative ways to stand out in an interview. Use this opportunity if you feel that the joke is appropriate and doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
  11. Write a thank-you note

    A thank-you note is not compulsory but can influence the interviewer’s decision. It follows a face-to-face interview and aims to show that you value the company’s time and opportunity. Besides, it is another chance to remind them how serious and professional you are.

    First, show appreciation for them taking the time to meet you and then write how excited you are about this job. Remember, enthusiasm is always valuable, and there is nothing wrong with showing it.
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Papers that contribute to the success

To be invited for an interview and get a chance to stand out, candidates need to work on the documents they attach during the application phase. Below we will discuss what papers may significantly help.


A resume is a sort of business card which tells about your background, experience, and skills. Here are the things to consider when working on a resume:

Tailor it to the vacancy to which you are applying. The biggest mistake you can make is to send a generic resume to numerous companies.

Add keywords. Scan job descriptions and write down keywords that include specific skills, responsibilities, computer programs, or certificates. Many hiring managers use recruitment software, which scans resumes and searches for relevant keywords.

Keep it short. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes every day, and it usually takes them a few seconds to decide whether you are the expert they seek. That is why you should avoid lengthy details.

Follow a particular structure. Place information about your professional background right after the contact information and resume summary. Don’t forget to indicate roles in reverse-chronological order. Then write about your education, skills, and awards if you have them.

Give examples. Try to back every experience and result with numbers and examples. Your chances of getting hired are higher if you quantify achievements. They include cutting costs, increasing profits, boosting sales, positive feedback from customers, etc. You can also use the CAR strategy. CAR or Context, Action, Results helps to structure your work experience and explain your value.

Professional contact information. Your resume may get ignored because of an unprofessional email address, so it's better to indicate something like instead of Make sure that your links to social media and portfolio, and other details also look professional.

Avoid unnecessary details. There is no need to indicate your age, marital status, number of kids, or gender. These details are not informative and only waste a recruiter’s time.

Always edit and proofread. After the resume is written, make sure that it doesn’t contain any spelling or grammar mistakes.

Cover letter

Writing a cover letter can be challenging, but it is an excellent opportunity to show your value and highlight traits that don’t fit into a resume. Here are the tips to remember:

  • Explain what you can do for the firm. Instead of telling how eager you are to work for them, describe how you can benefit the company.
  • Focus on your skills. Usually, a resume is all about your previous work experience, so a cover letter is a great opportunity to emphasize hard skills and personal traits, which are no less critical for the company. You can also mention how each skill will help you succeed in the new position.
  • Be specific. Provide figures, numbers, and facts. Tell how many people you managed, how much revenues you made, and how valuable you are.
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Mistakes to Avoid

It is not a secret that learning from someone else’s mistakes is much better than learning from your own, especially when it comes to standing out in an interview with no experience. That is why we have made a list of the most common mistakes that you can easily avoid.

  1. Absence of a cover letter and resume
    A company may not require a cover letter, but it gives candidates an excellent opportunity to highlight their personal and professional skills that didn’t fit into a resume. It also shows seriousness and your willingness to devote time to a company. Don’t forget to print out your cover letter and resume, and take them to an interview. This way, you can provide a copy to each interviewer when needed and thus prove your foresight and responsible approach.
  2. Coming unprepared
    Even though all interviews are different, there are many common questions that you can prepare for in advance. They include topics like background, motivation, and future. Get familiar with such questions and make notes to gain confidence and tranquility during an interview.
  3. Using your phone
    Before the interview starts, silence your phone. When checking it or texting, you send potential employers a clear signal that you are not interested in the vacancy. Plus, it is rude and unprofessional.
  4. Speaking badly about past employers and colleagues
    It is a small world, and the potential employer might know someone from your previous office. Besides, badmouthing is unethical and indicates that you may talk the same about their own company in the future.
  5. Failing to fit the company’s culture
    A company’s culture is formed by its vision, working language, internal norms, beliefs, and habits. If employees follow these unspoken laws, the enterprise evolves. Showing that you don’t respect or share them may be one of the biggest mistakes during an interview.
  6. Talking too much
    When stressed, some people can’t stop talking, especially about their personal life, fears, hobbies, and childhood. However, hiring managers don’t need to know everything about your life, so try to remain brief and focused. Your answers should be clear and concise.
  7. Using clichés
    Many candidates find it tempting to use clichés. They are simple, clear, and can be used without preparation. However, hiring managers hear phrases like ‘I am a great team player’ and ‘I am a critical thinker’ repeatedly and are tired of them. Be original, and you’ll definitely stand out.
  8. Lying
    Most facts from your resume and interview answers can be easily checked. That is why you should always remain honest if you don’t want to get entangled in a lie and ruin your reputation.

"Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge."
H. Stanley Judd.


Final thoughts

How to be memorable in an interview is a question that worries job seekers, whether they have just graduated or can boast tens of years of experience. This article discussed the most unusual and effective ways of standing out to nail the interview. These tips will significantly simplify the preparation process and build confidence before an important meeting.

Remember, if you want to get an interview invitation and increase your chances of getting a job, you should make a good resume and a killer cover letter that will impress employers and show that you’re the candidate they seek. Approach the process with seriousness and positivity, and hiring managers will be taken with your candidacy.

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