When the labor market is tough, job-hunting becomes a complicated quest. The traditional challenges of finding a desirable position escalate dramatically after months of pandemic-caused unemployment raise. In the world we currently have, it is not enough to have an impressive resume any more.
Any high-stake job would attract many aspiring candidates with equally reputable education and extensive experience. So, the interview, often a final step in the recruitment process, grants a chance to all candidates to demonstrate those intangible assets and attractive personality characteristics which can't be guessed from a CV.
A great resume is a significant selling point to start with. You can write it yourself or order it from a specialized agency. Such reputable CV-writing companies as UK Careers Booster would provide you with a professional, carefully designed resume tailored for your individual needs.
However, with the abundance of brilliant employees in a labor market, any interviewing process would inevitably be a slightly monotonous line of impressive people. It is great for ambitious jobseekers to compete with equals, but such a process requires a very creative approach. So, what can candidates do to live a memorable impression and stand out in the interview?
1. Drop Serious Office-Worker Image
Have you ever sat in the office building waiting for your turn for an interview? Probably, yes. And probably you could recall other candidates besides you. Let's admit - people tend to follow the most popular advice about clothing to get a job offer. Ironically, that life hack is what makes them tragically unremarkable. Office dress code is a thing, but in most cases, more than one outfit style is allowed.
So, if you feel comfortable enough, consider sprucing your interview outfit up. You can live that sensible gray pantsuit in your wardrobe. Try adding one brighter piece of clothing, like a yellow shirt with a navy jacket. Or opt for a classy costume paired with trendy sneakers. Don't worry. You'll still have an appropriate look but a much more personalized one.
Another creative trick is to use an eye-catching element. An original lapel pin or futuristic watch would attract attention and anchor your image in HR's memory. Or it can be a coordinated color scheme for your accessories – for example, the same shade of green for your notebook cover, phone jacket, nail polish, and socks. The human brain is wired to search for similarities and pairs. Such subtle elements would be sufficiently tasteful not to look weird.
2. Deliver Value with No Strings Attached
As famous cognitive scientist Daniel Kahneman proves in his excellent book Thinking Fast and Slow, past performance rarely supports the correct prediction of future work quality. The experienced human resources specialists know it quite well, having experience of candidates with great CV's being fired or quitting weeks into a new job. So, real-life practical tasks relevant to a desirable position are a much stronger indicator of a candidate's fitness.
The good news is that any person can deliver such small but valuable proof of competence during the interview. Meticulous research, a company's portfolio study, and identification of a few areas for possible improvement - are necessary steps before any interview.
The secret is to construct your briefcase study with realistic advice and present it during the interview on your initiative. Such proactive candidates show their willingness to bring value to the table. It also shows initiative and readiness to act.
3. Ask Good Questions
Another way to show your expertise and genuine interest in the company you're applying for is to ask questions. But not formal questions to find out about salary or benefits. Rather smart deep questions about the company's operations, plans, or struggles. This move may be even trickier than the previous advice and brings some risks too. But with some preparation, empathy, and common sense, you can do this.
So, what to ask? It is easier to define absolutely no-go topics first:
- Anything with a negative connotation that implies the company's internal shortcomings;
- Too specific questions that would touch upon sensitive information or corporate data;
- Public-knowledge scandals or problematic issues that do not directly fall under your expertise or are not related to the position you're applying to, and unless you can offer a practical, valuable solution;
- Any question you already know the answer to – lack of true interest would be evident, so you can irritate the interviewer by wasting their time.
Such exceptions leave us with complex, intelligent questions that would demonstrate good knowledge of the company. Interest in the company's plans for the future based on not-so-obvious data ties the candidate and interviewer in a deeper, two-sided dialogue. This shift in communication dynamics creates an impressive image of a competent, straightforward applicant.
4. Tell Stories to Illustrate Your Experience
In reality, what looks like a line in your resume took days and weeks of your life, significant efforts, and battling various complications. You can draft a CV most compellingly or use visual aids, but telling a story is still the most effective way to convey facts and underlying senses to the listeners. An interview is a great opportunity to own your background and reach out to the most demanding audience.
Any CV lacks emotion and rarely goes beyond the solely professional level. By putting those brief achievements in context and adding vivid details, you can enact a traditional arch of a hero's journey narrative. It is an ancient storytelling template that works on human curiosity.
Start with a challenge or an unexpected turn of events, go through a few critical point decisions you've made, and build up steadily to your eventual success despite many odds. Humor, as a powerful tool, if used in moderation, would be a great addition to your story.
Of course, it is crucial not to overdo this and stick to the professional model and goals of the interview. But showing your aspirations, despair, and desire to win makes you more relatable and honest. Despite the importance of professional qualities, people still hire people, not machines. So, your human emotions and thoughts are as valuable for a job as your diploma and years of experience.
Finding a job compliant with many logical and emotional criteria is hard, especially in a difficult labor market situation. It is crucial to excel in all stages of the recruiting process, from resume writing to sending a thank you note after the interview. All steps are essential, but interviews allow unfolding the bright, intellectual, funny personality any candidate possesses beyond the CV lines.
Consider taking our advice and be more creative in your interviews. Choose a colorful outfit or a funny but appropriate joke. You would surely leave a mark on memories and a positive impression of an individual, with many professional and personal benefits to bring to the company.