How do you stand out in the interview process, especially when you’re surrounded by the typical buzzwords?
We’ve all been there: the nerves, the sweaty palms, the butterflies in your stomach. And what do we do to calm our nerves and make a good impression? We fall back on the tried-and-true generic phrases that we’ve all heard time and time again: ‘I’m passionate’, ‘I’m a team player’, ‘I learn fast.’ Yawn.
The problem with these cliches is that they’re not only overused–they’re also completely unoriginal. And, frankly, devoid of valuable meaning. They offer no insight into who you are as a candidate, your unique skills, or what sets you apart from the rest of the pack. In an industry where differentiation is key, why would you want to blend in with the crowd?
So, what can you do to stand out from the herd of indistinguishable interviewees? It’s simple: show, don’t tell. Don’t just say you’re passionate, demonstrate it. Instead of claiming to be a team player, provide concrete evidence and examples of your collaboration skills. And instead of just stating that you’re a fast learner, share a personal story of your impressive growth and perseverance.
Let’s break down how to stand out in your interview by reviewing some of the most common things we’re all guilty of saying in interviews–and what to do instead for better interview results.
How to Stand Out in Your Job Interview
“I’m a fast learner.”
A great attitude to have but, how do you prove it? Share a personal story of growth and perseverance. For example, recount how you went from flunking a programming class to becoming a TA in just one year. This not only showcases your determination and work ethic, but it also highlights your ability to adapt and learn new skills.
“I’m a team player.”
Ah, the bane of every hiring manager’s existence. It’s a phrase that’s been overused, possibly to the point of incurring annoyance. But it’s also a crucial soft skill for many roles in the tech industry. The question is, how can you prove it?
By providing concrete evidence of your collaboration skills. For instance, mention a situation where you volunteered to take on a project so a coworker could focus on a more pressing matter. This not only shows your ability to work well with others, but it also highlights your flexibility and willingness to go above and beyond.
A statement that we’ve all heard countless times, but what does it really mean? If you really want to showcase your passion, go beyond just saying the words. Offer a specific example of your interest in the company.
For instance, if you’re applying for a job in the tech industry, show that you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with the company by presenting your thoughts on a recent intel report they released. This not only demonstrates your passion, but it also shows your initiative and attention to detail.
The Bottom Line
If you want to make a lasting impression during your job interview, don’t rely on generic phrases. Hiring managers are looking for proof that you can do the job, not just your word. So, put your money where your mouth is and show them what you’ve got. Stand out from the crowd, and make a lasting impact in your next job interview.