How to Stand Out During Your Interview

When you are job searching and finally apply for something you really want, there’s nothing like hearing that phone ring.  Once you’ve gotten the interview, a lot of pressure rides on it, so you need to be prepared to do more than just get through it.  You need to shine.

Most of us know all the tips and tricks to nailing an interview, but how do you stand out above the rest?  Nancy Collamer, contributor to Forbes, explains that there are three unspoken questions that need to be answered in every Interview.  They are commonly known as the Three Cs: Competence, Compatibility and Chemistry.

The primary requirement in an interview is obviously competence.  You need to have the skills, knowledge and experience to perform the job functions.  Most likely the interviewer has already deemed you as competent from your resume, but you want to carry that over into the interview as you answer questions.

Compatibility is important for both you and the company.  You want to make sure that the company culture fits your expectations.  And the interviewer wants to make sure that you would be a good fit for the company.

Chemistry is a big part of the decision in offering a job.  Interviewers know they will have to work with you when you get in the door, so they are looking for someone they’d like to work with on a daily basis.  You spend a lot of time at the office and you’ll be working closely with co-workers.  Making sure there is a strong chemistry to build off of is critical for your happiness and for the company’s success.

Collamer goes on to talk about a time where she had to hire 200 employees and was interviewing up to twenty people a day.  She learned something during that time.  Most of the resumes that came in were qualified candidates and most of the interviewees came prepared.  It’s the candidates who answer questions thoroughly with compelling stories that stood out for her.

The S.O.A.R Answer Model

When it comes to answering questions, Linda Cattelan, Career Acceleration Coach, talks about following the S.O.A.R. answer model to stand out.  S.O.A.R. stands for Situation, Obstacles, Action and Results.

Answering questions like “Are you able to think outside the box?” with a simple yes or no is a waste of everyone’s time.  What the interviewer really wants to know is how you think outside the box.  Your answer should tell the story of a time you were able to do this using the S.O.A.R answer model.

Think of a time you actually did think outside the box and set up the situation.  Then talk about what obstacles were in your way that you had to overcome.  After that, explain what actions you took and how you thought outside the box for this particular problem or project.  Finally, detail how the results of your actions were successful.  Interviewers want to hear these detailed, compelling stories so they can better understand your capabilities.

When you are one in a dozen candidates, having a “good” interview won’t cut it.  You need to be memorable and to stand out from the rest of the crowd.  Remembering the three C’s and using the S.O.A.R. model to answer questions will help you to make that stronger, longer lasting impression during your interview.

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