So, the question of how to one-up your competitors has surfaced. This is a hard question. On the one hand, you do not want to be perceived as a gloating overachiever, but on the other hand, you don’t want to degrade yourself either. So where is the balance?
Finding the balance can prove difficult. It might help to take a moment and look at the question, ‘What makes you a superior candidate over the others?’ from his point of view. What does your greatest love – pssh, who are we kidding? – that loathly individual that calls himself an interviewer wants to hear? This approach surely is more suitable than your nervous, ‘Whatever will I say??!’ knee-jerking mental respond. Note: the option of jumping out the window is considered suicidal and is frowned upon. So, let’s crawl through his ear and have a more intimate thought process with his cerebral cortex.
Below is a list of what the interviewer likely wants to hear:
Research! He wants to see that you’ve done your research. Whatever position you are applying for, whatever company it may be, be sure to research both the work and the company before the dreaded interview encounter. This way you can pinpoint details that you can use and suitably reflect the person they are looking for. Furthermore, this method will show that you are a researcher that takes work, or in this case, an interview, seriously.
Stories! Think-up past accomplishments. Over the course of your professional career, what did you do well in? What are your proudest moments? Give your interviewer some popcorn and speak of these stories to boost yourself.
Personality! One thing that is a unique quality that no one can do better is being you! Use your personality to share what kind of person you are. Embed it through this and other questions.
Sparkle! It’s okay to toot your own horn (so long as it’s not your nose!). Interviews are a good place to shine. But of course, there’s a balance. Being overly positive can be thought of as false. In which case, you will be out of the office so fast, your head might spin.
Lie! Sometimes it’s difficult to reflect and remember ways you can be unique. In these cases, lying is always a good option. You can hone on the required skills they are looking for and embellish how well you are at a particular task.
Oh, come on! Did you actually believe that? Just kidding! False! Lying is never a good idea. Honesty is best, otherwise you will find yourself in a position you don’t fully understand, then fired. Let’s not get you back to where you started!
You have to remember that the interviewer professionally interviews people which means he’s likely bored, tired of the nuisance of people who come in and out of his office throughout the days, weeks, months and years. You must shine above this and, more importantly, above your competition and figure out what company interests he is looking for and focus on them, allowing yourself to skyrocket out of the competitor pile. Remember, if you are bored during the interview, he likely will be bored too. This approach will likely end without a telephone call back.
Things not to do is look blank or not give an answer at all. In these moments it helps to think up terms such as, ‘creative’, ‘thinking outside the box’, ‘work ethic’ and ‘cheerful’ then weave it in with personal work experiences. Other key points include how well you work/deliver the product, how you are at socialising/not killing anyone in the process, how your skills and experience relate to the job and, lastly, it’s always great to leave the interviewer by slipping in just how easy his life will become after he hires you. Be careful not to talk too long on this or any topic for that matter. It’s best to limit yourself to a 1 to 2 minute response. It was said once, it will be repeated, your interviewer listens to people repeatedly. If you talk too long on a single topic, it is bound to put him to sleep. Another tip is to always stick to the point. Use a particular situation and develop. Your interviewer won’t care if you become too general, personal stories are the key.
Why does he ask this question?
Because he’s lazy! He wants you to do his work for him. No, actually he wants to see what you have to say. This is a technique to see if you are a risk for the company. If you turn out to be a dud, not a capable worker or someone who doesn’t get along with the other workers, your interviewer is subjected to judgement during an ancient Native American ceremony with blue feathers and sometimes rhythmic maraca music. Thus, impressive him now so the ritual does not happen. (Your interviewer will thank you later.)
In a quick sum-up, remember to research the company you are applying for, find out what the work actually is and weave it into your answer. Also, embellish your professional achievements, allow your personality to shine through and don’t lie(!) about your skills. Lastly, to perfect your speech, be sure to practise, practise, practise, this way you will be in tiptop shape for the actual interview and sail confidently through.