Seven ways to stand out in an interview

When applicants seek new employment, countless hours go into preparation, research and interviews before finding out, once again, that the job was offered to someone else.

Kimberlee Carlile, senior and resident engagement coordinator at UVU, went through this same process when applying at the school. She understood what employers looked for and found a way to succeed, standing out from the crowd.

Carlile focused her interview on the skills and traits that she has and presented them in a way that would highlight how they could benefit the program she was applying for.

With the competitive market of employees seeking jobs, it is important to know how to stand out from the typical blur of applications and interviews that barely touch an employer’s desk.

“Most employers can afford to be selective,” said Lei Pakalani, the assistant director of the Career Development Center. “[They] are looking to see that students not only have the knowledge, skills and abilities, but that they also can demonstrate a good fit.”

Fitting the needs of the company is one of the most crucial elements when it comes to interviews. Employers look for applicants who have a positive outlook, lots of energy and endurance, according to Pakalani. They want someone who knows about the company and has a desire to be there.

Pakalani mentioned that applicants should spend time extensively researching the company–its culture, the salary ranges and work environment. They need to seek out information that is not on the job description.

“Make sure you know what you are applying for and what the company does,” Carlile said. “It’s important so you can get across why they should hire you.”

One important area to note about a company is the standard of dress that the company holds.

“In an interview you should dress a step up than the company you’re applying for,” said Terra Stanton, manager and recruiter of a local retail store.

If the open position is for a mechanic, wearing a business suit might be inappropriate; however, if the position is with a fashion designer, the clothes may be held in higher regard.

Interview attire shows the company the attitude aimed towards the position, the perception of how the interview will go and how important the applicant considers the job.

“When you are dressed like you mean business, you typically come across that way. Dressing for the job does something to your demeanor, attitude, poise and confidence,” Pakalani said.

According to Carlile, the interview is the applicant’s opportunity to prove to the company why he or she is different from the rest. They should speak clearly and confidently, prepared for whatever questions are asked of them.

“They really should be using every single minute, moment, second to showcase their relevant knowledge, skills, abilities and fit,” Pakalani said.

Typical mistakes are made when applicants are unprepared, lack professionalism and take the interview lightheartedly.

Carlile, Pakalani and Stanton all agreed that in the end, an applicant should remember to be personable so the interviewer can get to know his or her future employee.

Carlile prepared for her interview by researching the position and talking with current employees, dressing in a suit and reviewing the information she wanted the company to know about herself. When it came down to it, her preparation paid off, putting her nerves far behind and helping her succeed in standing out in the interview.

It’s clear that preparation, in every aspect, is the key to standing out.

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