If you have ever sought interviewing advice, you have probably heard many general interviewing tips like you should dress professionally, practice your answers in advance, and have a strong handshake when you meet the interviewer. It is likely that interviewees all across the board have also heard these pieces of advice, so how do you make sure you stand out? It’s all about taking those common tips to the next level. Below are five of the most common pieces of advice about interviewing, each followed by an enhanced version that will help you stand out among your competition.
Common tip #1: Research the company/program before your interview.
Enhanced tip #1: Visit the company/program social media page(s). Social media accounts often highlight what is most currently of interest to an individual company or program, so they can be great sources of talking points for interviews.
Common tip #2: Review directions to the interview site in advance.
Enhanced tip #2: Make sure you know where you’re going, and also check traffic. If your interview is on a Monday morning, check traffic around the time you’ll be leaving the Monday before to see how much extra time to allow for your trip.
Common tip #3: Be prepared to answer, “Tell me about yourself.”
Enhanced tip #3: Write out a detailed outline including your background/your story, your relevant experience and skills, and your future plans. Your answer to this question sets the stage for the rest of your interview, so you really want to use this time to make the interviewer excited about hearing more about your experiences within 2 – 2.5 minutes. Writing out a detailed outline will help make sure you don’t miss any important details. Also, practice your answer, but not so much that it sounds rehearsed.
Common tip #4: Have 3-5 questions prepared to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.
Enhanced tip #4: Ask specific questions; the more specific your questions are, the more you will stand out from other candidates. Consider asking about anything you found on the company/program social media account(s), training opportunities, and/or some of the first projects you will be working on.
Common tip #5: Send unique thank-you emails to everyone you meet.
Enhanced tip #5: Write down notes throughout the course of your day about each person you meet either in your padfolio or on the back of their business cards. That way, when you sit down to write your thank you notes, you will have a better memory of the connections you made with each individual.
For more interviewing tips or to sign up for a practice interview with the Center for Career Development, visit career.uconn.edu/interviewing.