How to Ace a High-Profile Interview

When employers seek professional candidates, they aren’t looking for someone who blends in with the crowd. They interview sometimes hundreds of candidates for a position. So what can you do to really stand out?

Here are a few tips for transforming yourself from just another face to a star that shines:

Have a Professional Appearance

This should go without saying, but sometimes you manage to talk yourself into doing things you wouldn’t normally do because you’re so stressed about the interview. Check to make sure you follow this list:

  • Be conservative – wear a solid color suit and a coordinated shirt or blouse
  • Wear professional, conservative shoes
  • Ensure your hair is well-groomed and neat
  • Limit the amount of jewelry you wear
  • Try on your outfit the day before you interview
  • Limit the amount of perfume, makeup, cologne or after shave you wear
  • Ask about appropriate dress, and if you don’t receive an answer, know that overdressing is better
  • Check the mirror to make sure your appearance is as you expect

Show Them You Did Your Research

One of the first questions interviewers ask is, “What do you know about us?” You know it’s important to do your research beforehand, but try to make a high-impact impression right off the bat.

Tell the company more than what you could learn just by reading their website. For example, say, “I know you’re an industry leader who sells red, green, and blue widgets to companies with revenues greater than $1 million annually. A [name a notable industry publication] noted you are also undertaking a new marketing initiative because of [name 3 changes the company observed in the marketplace].

You don’t have to research this specific information, but you understand the basic idea: find very specific information showing the employer you do beyond what is expected.

Sell a Compelling Story

When your interviewer asks about you to tell him or her about yourself, tell a riveting story of what brought you into your current career path, and why these experiences make you such a great fit for the position.

Most candidates talk about their childhood and educational experiences, which is a great way to blend in and not receive an offer. Talk about something very personal and meaningful to you that led you on your path. You may not believe there is anything overly unique about you, but if you think carefully, you will find something that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Practice

Practicing for any job interview is important, but what you can do to help you deliver a stellar performance during your interview is to practice more thoroughly than others. Practice answers to your questions and speak them to your mirror. Have your spouse, partner, or friend play the role of the interviewer.

The more natural your answers sound and the higher level of emotion you put behind those answers you have, the more convincing your interview becomes.

Make Yourself Appear Professional Online

Whether you want them to or not, employers research you online. If you have any online profiles, make sure they all make you appear as a respectable, competent professional. Use professional language when writing yours and ensure you have a professional picture. Also, if you have any personal social media accounts, be very careful everything you say can only be understood in a positive way.

Prepare & Be Well-Organized

“On-time” for an interview means 15 minutes early. If you’re not familiar with that area of town, visit it a day or two before. Bring multiple copies of your resume and references and any other appropriate professional documents. If you do encounter unexpectedly thick traffic or an accident on the day of the interview, call ahead and notify the interviewing company.

Follow Up

Use a hand-written note to thank the interviewer for taking time out of his or her day to talk with you. Emails and type-written notes are fast and easy, but they also are much less effective. If you interview with more than one person, send each one a thank-you note. In your follow-up letter, make sure to open with a thank-you, and then reiterate how your skills will help the company.

Relax & Let It Happen

Finally, once you walk in the interviewer’s doors, just relax and let what is meant to happen take place.