What can you do to set yourself apart in your interview? The most important aspect of successful interviewing is not your experience, your degree or your resume. That's what got you the interview. The key to successful interviewing can be summed up in one word: passion. It's your passion for the job that will set you apart from the crowd.
How can you demonstrate your passion in the interview? Though your enthusiasm for the job and behavioral examples of how your passion has had a positive impact on results.
If you can show, in your words, actions and past behaviors, that you have true passion toward achieving excellence, you can and will be chosen over the superstar. Let your passion for the job show through in every aspect of your interview.
Another key element to successful interviewing is your attitude. If you want to rise above others with better experience, better grades, or better anything, you will need to work on developing a highly positive work attitude.
Your attitude in the interview and toward the job often determines whether you will make the cut or be rejected. Remember, there are plenty of competitors with the ability to do almost any given job—especially at the entry level. The way most employers differentiate at the entry level is by a candidate's attitude and passion toward the job. Your attitude and passion is what recruiters remember when the dust has settled after they have interviewed five, ten or even twenty candidates—you were the one who was sincerely willing to put forth your very best effort. If you have the attitude of wanting to do your very best for the company, of being focused on the company's needs, of putting yourself forth as the person who will be committed and dedicated to fulfilling their needs, you greatly increase your odds of being the one chosen.
Why is attitude so important? Because most companies already have their full share of multitalented superstars who care about no one but themselves. Ask any manager who the most valuable member of his team is, and s/he will point not to the overrated superstar, but to the person who has the "can do" attitude, the person who can be counted on in any situation, the person who truly strives for excellence. 99 percent of all Hiring Managers will choose a team player who is achieving at 99 percent over a flashy superstar who is running at 50 percent efficiency.
So don't worry if you are not superstar quality. If you can show, in your words and actions, that you are ready to put forth your very best effort toward achieving excellence, you will be chosen over the superstar.
You can show your winning attitude in the way you present yourself. Incorporate the actual words "positive attitude," "passion for excellence," and "striving to be my best" into your interview language. Then show by your stories and examples how these characteristics are reflected in your life. Show when and where and how you have put forth extra effort above and beyond the call of duty. Show how you beat a deadline, how you excelled in a project, or how you made a difference by going the extra mile.
If you can show, by words and examples, your "can do" attitude, you will be hired, while the superstars receive polite rejection letters.
Even though you have probably already gone through this exercise in the self-evaluation phase of your career planning, it's important to go through it one more time: know how you measure up differentially against your competition. And this time take very specific note of your competitive differences. Don't go along with the mistaken impression that you can sell based only on your own personal value—this is the approach of product-driven marketing versus customer-driven marketing. Know what your specific advantage is for each employer. Be ready to articulate that advantage in very precise language.
Success in interviewing involves being fully prepared. But it's more than that—you must stand out in a world of plain vanilla job candidates. What particular strengths make you uncommon? What makes you unique? What is your competitive differentiation? What is your unique value proposition? Be ready to differentiate yourself. Be ready to show your specific competitive advantage. You have to be ready to take on the competition. Remember, your competition is sitting there in the classrooms with you. You need to know and understand your greatest strengths in relation to others.
It is only by differentiating yourself that you can beat out your competition.